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Why Chiropractic?

Why Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is an independent branch of medicine which specializes in the diagnosis of mechanical disorders of the joints, particularly those of the spine and the effects on the nervous system. X-rays are often used in diagnosis and a chiropractor carries out treatment by careful specific adjustments. Drugs and surgery are not used.

The word “Chiropractic” is taken from two Greek words, and means “manual practice” or treatment by manipulation.

What do Chiropractors treat?

Chiropractors are mainly involved in the treatment of musculo-skeletal complaints. These problems include the most common types of aches and pains such as backache, neck pain and headache. About half of all patients who consult a chiropractor, do so because of back pain.

What other common problems can chiropractors help?

As well as treating back and neck pains, chiropractors heal pain originating from the spine but felt in other parts of the body. This includes pain in the legs, such as sciatica, and shoulder and arm pains. Many headaches are caused by muscle contraction in the neck brought about by a neck disorder. Muscle tension in the neck is increased and pain is referred from the neck area to the head giving a typical tension headache. In many cases even the headache associated with migraine can be traced to a disturbance affecting part of the nervous system. This part of the nervous system functions automatically and is called the autonomic nervous system and various problems that do not appear to be related to the spine can develop, such as dizziness or, in children and young adults, asthma. Sometimes chiropractic treatment can also relieve a whole range of other complaints including sinus problems, digestive disorders, constipation and menstrual problems. Treatment of the spine, and therefore the nervous system (control center of the human body) can affect all aspects of health and normal body function.

How does chiropractic work?

Chiropractic works by restoring your own inborn ability to be healthy. When under the proper control of your nervous system, all the cells, tissues, and organs of your body are designed to resist disease and ill health. A common interference to the nervous system is the 24 moving bones of the spinal column. A loss of normal motion or position of these bones can irritate or impair the function of the nervous system. This can disrupt the transmission of controlling nerve impulses and cause disease. Your chiropractor’s goal is to remove these interferences. Since the primary focus of your care is proper nervous system function, chiropractic can have a positive effect on many health conditions not normally thought of as “back” problems.

What complaints are most frequently helped by chiropractors?

Low back pain (lumbago), disc lesions, sciatica and other leg pains, hip and knee problems, headaches, neck pain, shoulder and arm pains, pins and needles and numbness sensations. Muscular aches and joint pains, for instance in elbows, feet and ankles, can also be treated.

What will happen when I visit a chiropractor?

During the first consultation a full case history is taken. As well as asking details about your principal disorder your chiropractor will probably want to know something of your past medical history.

He/she will examine carefully the area which is giving you trouble and any other areas which are relevant. The examination will vary according to your particular problem, and X-rays may be arranged if visual confirmation of your condition is required. The Chiropractor will decide if there is a good chance that chiropractic therapy will be of benefit to you; in this case, a report of finding will be given and treatment. If he/she is not able to help you, he will say so and advise you where to seek help.

What kind of education do chiropractors have?

Today’s Doctor of Chiropractic is well educated. After completing undergraduate studies, the student enters the four-year doctorate program for chiropractic. The courses and hours are similar to the medical doctor but with greater emphasis on anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, diagnosis, biomechanics, X-ray, spinal adjusting techniques, and related subjects. This demanding curriculum prepares chiropractic doctors to locate the Vertebral Subluxation Complex and help correct the resulting nervous system dysfunction. To graduate with a Doctor of Chiropractic degree, each candidate passes the demanding National Board Examination. Then, doctors apply to a governmental or professional licensing board and pass a still more difficult test before being granted the privilege to practice. Post graduate instruction is required annually for license renewal to stay current on the latest scientific research. Chiropractors are licensed physicians and are therefore “real” doctors.

How long will it take to get better?

The number of treatments varies considerably. Generally speaking, more treatment will be needed for chronic long-standing cases, less for cases of short duration. Some feel immediate improvement, others have to be treated many more times before they start to feel better. Improvement at first is often temporary, but becomes longer lasting with subsequent treatments. Sometimes relief may be felt immediately after treatment, more frequently not until the next day, and often not for several days.

Patients seldom get better at a constant rate, so it is not unusual for a patient who has been getting better to suffer a temporary relapse before improvement continues again.

Some patients who improve slowly to begin with suddenly reach a stage where they improve rapidly, others who improve quickly to begin with may take longer to recover fully. Each person and each spine is unique and recovery will always depend on numerous, individual factors. Occasional check-ups are performed to make sure the patient maintains their improvement. If the trouble should later reoccur it can often be cleared up in a relatively few treatments if not left too long before the chiropractor is consulted again.

What is an adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a specific force in a precise direction applied to a joint that is fixated, ‘locked up’, or not moving properly. This adds motion to the joint, helping the bones gradually return to a more ┬ánormal position and motion. The purpose of this safe and natural procedure is improved spinal function, improved nervous system function, and improved health. There are many ways to adjust the spine. Usually the doctors hands deliver a brief and highly accurate thrust. Only chiropractors are educated on how to deliver a spinal adjustment and it takes years to master the techniques.

How should I feel after an adjustment?

The chiropractic spinal adjustment is a very powerful procedure. At the moment that a misalignment is corrected, literally hundreds of bodily functions and activities are normalized as the body begins to renew and rebuild itself.

Some people may feel discomfort and/or pain after treatment. Fortunately, even those experiencing such reactions later enjoy the relief that accompanies adjustment after a short period of time. The cause of the reaction varies. The muscles are re-aligning the spine after the adjustment; often these muscles haven’t worked properly for years and may be in a weak state. Now that the muscles are working again they may become sore. Old injury pains may be re-awakened in order for the healing of old injuries to begin.

Sometimes nerves that were impinged by subluxations for years are now “coming back to life” or becoming sensitive again.

What causes the noise of an adjustment?

Many chiropractors use techniques that create the popping sound of a spinal release; gas (80% Carbon Dioxide) rushes in to fill a partial vacuum created when the joint surfaces are slightly separated, creating the ‘pop’. The noise is harmless.

How long does a spinal adjustment take?

Usually just a few minutes. It all depends on the adjusting technique the chiropractor is using. Sometimes it takes a few visits for a new patient to get an initial adjustment. Both the chiropractor and the patient need to be fully informed before treatment begins.

Are all patients adjusted the same way?

The doctor evaluates each patient’s problem and develops an individual course of care. The resulting recommendations are based upon years of training and experience. Some patients who complain of headaches may actually have a lower back problem that is causing a compensation reaction at the base of the skull. Other patients may be experiencing numbness and tingling in their fingers, when the actual problem is in the neck. Every patient presents a uniquely different spinal problem. Patients notice that their chiropractic care is delivered with confidence and precision. Each visit build on the one before. And while visits may seem similar, each patient’s care is unique.

Can I adjust myself?

Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force, applied in a specific direction, to a specific joint, it is virtually impossible to adjust oneself properly. It is possible to turn or bend or twist in certain ways to create a popping sound, like the sound that sometimes accompanies a chiropractic adjustment. Unfortunately, this type of joint manipulation is usually counterproductive, often making an already unstable area of the spine even more unsteady. Adjusting the spine is not for amateurs. Remember, the spine houses the spinal cord and all the nerves that make you function so do not take spinal adjustments lightly. Even your chiropractor must seek the services of a colleague to help restore and maintain proper spinal function.

Is chiropractic safe?

In the words of the New Zealand government’s inquiry, chiropractic care is “remarkably safe.” Chiropractic has an excellent safety record. It is the result of a conservative approach to health that avoids invasive procedures or addictive drugs. Each patient is given a thorough examination revealing areas of the spine that are causing nervous system malfunctioning and disease. This information is used to determine the best course of care. Chiropractic care is a natural approach to better health and is the safest of the leading health care professions.

Can a person who has had back surgery see a chiropractor?

Yes. Many people who have had various kinds of spinal surgery often discover a return of the same back problems months or even years later. These people can usually receive chiropractic care without undue worry. It is best to check with your chiropractor on a case-to-case basis.

Can chiropractic care help prevent back surgery?

In the majority of cases the answer is a resounding Yes.

Chiropractic adjustment have many benefits. You may experience not only an improvement in the condition that led you to seek chiropractic care initially, but an overall improvement in the function of the nervous system and thereby an improvement in general health and well-being. You could feel better; better sleep pattern, an increased resistance to infection and an improved ability to cope with stress.

Why do children need chiropractic?

Since significant spinal trauma can occur during the birth process, many parents have their newborn checked for the Vertebral Subluxation Complex. Later, learning to walk, ride a bicycle, and other childhood activities can cause spinal problems. While a bandage and some comforting words can help a skinned knee, the unseen damage to the child’s spine is the unique domain of a chiropractic doctor. Many childhood health complaints that are brushed off as “growing pains” can often be traced to the spine. Regular chiropractic checkups can identify these problems and help avoid many of the health complaints seen later in adults. Naturally, chiropractic adjusting techniques are modified to a child’s spine. Most parents report that their children enjoy their adjustment and are overall healthier than their classmates.

How long will I need chiropractic care?

Spinal problems neglected for years, and in many cases since childhood, may require ongoing supportive care for optimal spinal health. These long-standing problems are often associated with muscle weakness, soft tissue damage, and degenerative changes to the spine. Most patients find that periodic checkups help keep them in tip-top shape. Those who are active, have stressful jobs, or want to be their very best, find that a schedule of preventative visits are helpful in the maintenance of good health. Some patients seek chiropractic care only when their ache or pain becomes unbearable. While this style of “crisis management” is usually more costly and time consuming, our office stands ready to help all patients, regardless of their health goals. How long you decide to benefit from chiropractic care is always up to you.