What is Chiropractic?
Taking a Natural Systemic Approach to Healing
Chiropractic is a way of looking at the human body as a whole. It's based on the idea that the body is self-sustaining and self-healing.
You know that your body is controlled by your brain, but the spinal cord and vast network of nerves that carry its messages are just as important. When this system is not functioning at its peak, your body’s overall performance suffers.
In the chiropractic world, we don’t use drugs to treat our patients. While supplementation and nutrition are almost always a part of the bigger picture, drugs and prescriptions can be viewed as bandaids to treat symptoms rather than treating the source of the problem. Chiropractic treats the problem naturally and in turn prompts the body to heal itself.
While it's often perceived that the chiropractor solely treats back and neck pain, this is a small piece of what the profession is capable of handling. Chiropractors not only treat soft and hard tissue problems such as sciatica and joint pain, but are largely called on to deal with many different health issues. Some of these issues include fibromyalgia, allergies, insomnia, and headaches among many more.
For a healthy spine, keep these tips in mind!
If you know you will be standing for an extended period, make sure that you wear supportive shoes and make sure you know how to keep good posture. Good posture is the key to a healthy spine. Keep your chin up and your shoulders back. Keep both feet about shoulder-width apart.
Working at a Desk
Make sure that you are getting up every 30 minutes to stretch, even if you just walk around for a few minutes. Next, be sure you are seated correctly. Make sure you have a chair that offers good lower back support. You also want your feet flat on the floor with your knees at a 90 degree angle. If you need a stool under your feet to do this, bring one to work. Your computer screen should be at eye-level so you are not looking down at it.
Lifting objects is one of the most common ways to injure yourself. Start by squatting down to the object with one foot slightly in front of the other. Keep your back straight, only bending at the knees and hips. Keep your head looking forward and lift the object by straightening your legs, still keeping your back straight. Hold the object close to your body. Never twist while picking something up. Only turn once you are fully upright. Keep the same idea in mind when you are putting the object back down.
Warming Up for Physical Activity
If you know that you are going to be working or playing for a while, make sure that you are adequately warmed up. Even when only performing light activities, like gardening or pushing your child on a bike, it's easy to pull something if you don’t prepare your body.
Talking On The Telephone
If you're forced to use the telephone for a long period of time, a speaker or a headset is a must. Do not cradle the phone between your neck and your shoulder as this could cause you to damage the muscles or vertebrae in that area.
Resting or Sleeping
Straining your neck or back while you're sleeping is a very common occurrence. We often fall asleep in positions where we are not supported properly, or we fall asleep with our necks at an odd angle. Make sure your pillow supports your neck and head so that it lays neutral with the rest of your spine. Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended as it puts stress on your neck and your back.
Vertebral Subluxation Complex
When a vertebrae becomes misaligned or moves out of its normal position, this is referred to in the chiropractic profession as a subluxation, or more precisely, the Vertebral Subluxation Complex (VSC). VSC can be caused by a wide range of issues ranging from a minor slip or bump to a car accident or any sudden trauma. When a vertebrae is subluxated, it begins to put pressure on nerves, blood vessels and other surrounding structures.
The subluxation interrupts the natural nerve pathways that carry messages to and from the brain. In addition, as time goes by and the subluxation remains untreated, the spine and surrounding features such as discs can begin to degenerate.
This degeneration becomes more difficult to reverse as time goes by and the surrounding muscles, nerves and bones begin to adjust to the new shape. Because the body is a remarkable machine, it will start to accommodate these changes by compensating in other areas. The longer the subluxation is untreated, the longer it will take for treatment to return the vertebrae to its normal position.
A vertebral subluxation can be identified by its five components:
- Spinal Kinesiopathology (movement of the bones)
- Neuropathophysiology (nerve dysfunction)
- Myopathology (muscle changes)
- Histopathology (tissue damage)
- Pathophysiology (abnormal growth)
Chiropractors are experts in the manipulation of soft and hard tissue. Small, quick movements to the spine can reposition the vertebrae into its natural position. Through treatment, a vertebral subluxation can be corrected back to healthy functionality.
Q & A
Is chiropractic effective?
Chiropractic helps to remove postural imbalances and structural misalignments that can accumulate in our bodies over time. Chiropractic works by restoring your own inborn ability to be healthy. For your body to remain healthy, your nervous system must function well. For your nervous system to function well it must be free of interference. By restoring spinal function with Chiropractic adjustments, nerve interference by misaligned vertebrae is removed, thus allowing optimal nervous system function and improved health.
Why should I see a Chiropractor
Seeing a chiropractor is not only for back pain and neck pain. Chiropractic care is an excellent way to keep your body at its peak performance through nutrition, adjustment and overall wellness. In addition, chiropractic care has been known to help a wide range of conditions from fibromyalgia to diabetes.
What is Subluxation?
When a vertebrae becomes misaligned or moves out of its normal position, this is referred to in the chiropractic profession as a subluxation. Subluxations can be caused by a wide range of issues ranging from a minor slip or bump to a car accident or any sudden trauma. When a vertebrae is subluxated, it begins to put pressure on nerves, blood vessels and everything around it. This pressure comes with a price. The subluxation interrupts the natural pathways that the messages sent from the brain need to be clear in order to be completed properly.
How does chiropractic care work?
Chiropractic is an overall way of looking at the human body. It's based on the idea that the body is self-sustaining and self-healing. The body is in essence completely controlled by the brain through its connection via the spinal cord and the vast networks of nerves that make up the body. When this system is not functioning at its peak, the overall performance of the human body is lacking.
In the chiropractic world, drugs and medicine are not utilized as a form of treating a patient. While supplementation and nutrition are almost always a part of the bigger picture, drugs and prescriptions can be viewed as band-aids to treat symptoms rather than going to the source and treating the real problem.
While it's often perceived that the chiropractor is solely here to treat back and neck pain, this is simply a small piece of what the profession really is capable of handling. Chiropractors not only treat soft and hard tissue problems such as sciatica and joint pain, but are largely called on to deal with more significant issues. Some of these issues include fibromyalgia, allergies, insomnia, headaches and many more.
What is a chiropractic adjustment? Is it safe?
Adjustments, or manipulation as they're sometimes referred to is the minor movement of vertebrae in the spine. The objective of this movement is to realign vertebrae that have moved out of place for a number of reasons ranging from normal daily activity to trauma such as a car accident.
When these vertebrae are out of place, it has an overall systemic effect from muscular to the central nervous system. Without proper alignment and flow of all nerves and systems in the body from the brain, we can't function at our peak.
An adjustment is often a pressure from the chiropractor utilizing the hands or an instrument to move a vertebrae back into place. This happens with a quick movement and is often without discomfort. You may hear a noise that sounds like you're cracking your knuckles referred to as joint cavitation. It is the release of gases such as oxygen and nitrogen from the joint.
What can I expect from my visit to a chiropractor?
Going to the Chiropractor is a new experience for many of us. Maybe we've heard through a friend or have done some research online. It's possible that you are just fed up with living in pain and it's time to do something about it. In either case, your first visit to the chiropractor will really be about getting to know the chiropractor and discussing your history, current condition and goals.
What results can I expect from treatment?
Chiropractic is based on the idea of removing imbalances both structural and postural in an effort to allow our body to heal itself. For this to happen the network of nerves and signals from your brain, down your spinal cord, to the network of nerves must be allowed to flow freely without any interruption. Chiropractors have the ability and skill to remove these interruptions or misalignments and allow the body to perform as it was meant to.
If you've ever been in a car accident, played a sport, fell down or just bumped into something too hard, it's very possible that you are not functioning at your best due to a misalignment. While there are many potential mechanical or structural causes for misalignment, there are also chemical reasons. For instance, if you smoke or drink excessively or even just have a poor diet, the chemical issues in your body can eventually cause underlying conditions and disease to appear.
Allowing a chiropractor to get you back on track both chemically and structurally will bring your body back to the proper state it should be in to perform at its peak.
Chiropractic is Safe.
Records from insurance and court cases have constantly shown that chiropractic is the safest portal of entry health care available to the public today. Although no healthcare procedures are 100% safe, chiropractic stands on its record of safety and effectiveness unmatched in healthcare. To learn more about the safety record of chiropractic please visit the website Chiropractic Is Safe at www.chiropracticissafe.org
Chiropractic History Archive Joseph C. Keating Jr, PhD
Chiropractic in the United States: Training, Practice, and Research (1997) Cherkin, Daniel C.; Mootz, Robert D.
Chiropractic treatments for back pain Steven G. Yeomans, DC. A Spine-health.com feature (use menu points on left side)
Dynamic Chiropractic Online ChiroWeb, Chiropractic news source
National Directory of Chiropractic Listing of Chiropractors and information on education and the profession.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine National Institute of Health Manipulative and Body-Based Practices