Chiropractic is an Art, together with a Science and a Philosophy, which deal directly with the nervous system of our body. These nerves control all bodily functions, both conscious and automatic. The art is the gentle and specific adjustment or movement of the joints within the body to relieve pressure on the nerves and to produce normal joint motion. This action minimizes both wear and tear as well as pain.
Q1: What is Chiropractic all about?
Chiropractic is a natural preventive and rehabilitative healthcare that concentrates on keeping people well. In fact, research has shown that patients under chiropractic care have stronger immune systems, and don't get sick nearly as much as the normal population. Doctors of chiropractic attempt to get to the cause of a health problem, rather than just treat the symptoms. The primary focus of chiropractic is the detection, reduction and correction of spinal misalignments called subluxations. What is a subluxation? Sub-luxation, Sub- means less than, luxation means dislocation, so it's less than a dislocation. It is a slight shift of one or more bones. At first this subluxation does not cause pain. That is why once you feel better with treatment you should continue to come in to get your tune-up, to keep your spine flexible and to avoid subluxations that cause pain, spasms, fatigue, and contribute to injury.
Q2: What does a Chiropractor do?
A doctor of chiropractic locates and removes small misalignments in the spinal column known as the vertebral subluxation complex (VSC). VSC is also known as spinal nerve stress and when present interferes with the nerve impulses at the level of the subluxation (see above for explanation of a subluxation). How can this happen? When the bones first go out of alignment (a subluxation), there is no pain, but after a while you start to get muscle spasms, pain, and fatigue. Once you start to feel better with care, continue your treatment, because you might not realize you have a subluxation.
Chiropractors use carefully controlled and directed pressure to restore spinal bones to their normal motion and position. This procedure is known as a chiropractic adjustment.
Q3: What conditions can a Chiropractor treat?
Chiropractors treat a wide variety of conditions including, but not limited to:
- Lower back pain
- Neck pain
- Shoulder and arm pain
- Herniated discs
- Thoracic outlet
- Referred Pain syndromes
Q4: How do Chiropractors differ from medical doctors?
It is unfortunate that the majority of the population believes that chiropractors are basically back doctors. Chiropractic has been shown to be extremely effective in helping people with sore backs, but that is a small fraction of what it is we actually do. The avenue of approach that we take to effect a change on your body is via your spine.
A doctor of chiropractic works with the nervous system, the skeletal system, and the muscular system. The nervous system not only controls nerve impulses, but also controls hormones, chemicals, and every tissue, gland and organ in your body. Chiropractors do not claim to cure anything, what we do is keep the interference away from the spinal cord to allow the body to help itself, and function at a 100%. By allowing this system to function at it's optimum, patients enjoy better overall health and well being. We have helped hundreds of patients with conditions such as: asthma, allergies, ear infections, bladder infections, PMS, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, chronic pain, sinus infections, childhood scoliosis and many others. Chiropractors have an effect on these conditions, and syndromes, by locating and correcting your subluxations, and keeping the interference away from your nervous system.
Q5: What are the requirements to be a Chiropractor?
To receive the Doctor of Chiropractic degree, candidates must complete extensive undergraduate prerequisites and four years of graduate-level instruction at an accredited chiropractic institution. A doctor of chiropractic goes to school as long as medical doctors, the only difference is we do not study pharmacology. But do not misunderstand, if you ever needed medicine, or medical treatment, we would refer you immediately to a M.D.
Before they can practice, doctors of chiropractic must pass the National Boards as well as the licensing exam for the state in which they wish to practice.
Q6: Is chiropractic care really safe?
Numerous studies including several double-blind clinically randomized trials have demonstrated that chiropractic is not only safe, but produces superior results and is extremely cost effective. Doctors of Chiropractic take it one step further by performing a test that will test the patency of the arteries in the neck, making it that much safer to receive an adjustment.
The most notable studies are the 1979 New Zealand Chiropractic Report, the three year study in the 1990 British medical journal, and the Province of Ontario's 1993 Manga Report.
Q7: Will I need to get X-rays?
It is important to understand the importance of X-Ray. Chiropractors are trained in taking and interpreting X-rays, they are also trained in specialized examination and treatment procedures. In many cases, traditional medical procedures cannot accurately diagnose common back pain.
This is strongly supported by Dr. Frank Jobe, M.D., and Dr. Robert Kerlan. In their 1999 book entitled Athletic Forever, they state that "... despite the advent of high tech imaging equipment, the most essential tools to diagnosing back pain remain the taking of a thorough medical history and a hands on examination."
Q8: What is that cracking noise?
A chiropractic adjustment often makes a noise. The noise is created by a gas that escapes from a joint when it is moved quickly. An adjustment takes the joint just past its normal end range of motion for a fraction of a second and, in that time, the buildup of nitrogen gas is usually released. Nothing actually cracks or breaks. If there is no popping noise, it means there was no sound from any escaping gas. You might not always hear a noise with an adjustment.
Q9: Are Chiropractic adjustments painful?
A few patients experience a slight soreness when chiropractic treatment is initiated. It is important to be relaxed during the adjustment, because if you do tense up, this can contribute to the soreness. You must be comfortable with the Chiropractor, and s/he with you. There is a professional trust that develops with the patient and the Chiropractor. Most patients, however, enjoy their adjustments and look forward to them.
You may feel light pressure on your spinal joints or hear a popping sound (the result of joints opening quickly). Adjustments rarely hurt. Instead, you may have immediate relief and feel more relaxed.
Q10: How long does it take for a treatment to work?
Many patients notice significant improvement beginning with their initial treatment. A small percentage of patients may notice a little discomfort, however, as their spine adapts to the changes being made. One of the main reasons for the consultation and examination is to clearly define the cause of your health conditions. If you have misaligned vertebrae, then chiropractic can help. If that's not what you have, we will suggest a referral to the proper health care professional.
Each person and each case is different. The length of care depends on the problem you have and its severity. We can provide a much better estimate after an examination and consultation. For most patients pain relief occurs within the first few weeks.
Q11: How long do Chiropractic treatments continue?
Chiropractic should be a life-long enjoyable experience. Adjustments help to stimulate the immune system, release natural pain relievers like enkephlans, and endorphins, decrease stress on your spine and in life, and help to avoid injury, by keeping the spine flexible. After a patient's initial examination, a program of care is established. This may run anywhere from 3-9 months, depending on the patient's condition. Then once you feel better you come in for your once a month tune-up. This is similar to putting braces on crooked teeth. After this time, most patients choose to maintain a check-up program to keep their spine healthy, free from pain and to prevent a relapse. Most patients think of this as wellness or preventive care similar to dental check-ups.
5 Critical Points to Consider When Choosing a Chiropractor
1) Scope of treatment options
Do they provide just chiropractic adjustment for neck and back? Some conditions require more than that. We offer not only gentle, non-invasive chiropractic adjustments but also rehabilitation, soothing therapeutic massage, physical therapy, nutritional counseling, and more.
2) Knowledge of techniques
Basic chiropractic adjustments for the neck and back are commonplace. We use a wide variety of chiropractic techniques based on your condition and preferences. That combined with our wide variety of treatment options means that we can treat conditions like migraines all the way to conditions of the foot, ankle and all points in between. For example one device we use is called a flexion-distraction table that is specifically designed for herniated/protruded discs and pinched nerves.
3) Do they offer a customized wellness program just for you?
It's common for a busy chiropractic provider to simply not have the time needed to provide a customized treatment program suited specifically to your needs. Most often you will receive a kind of "one size fits all" treatment. Sometimes that is actually enough to solve the problem but if you had a choice for around the same cost wouldn't you rather have the extra attention? We have found that tailoring our treatments to the specific needs of each patient yields greater results.
4) Do they have the credentials?
Always make sure the doctors you are seeing are fully licensed and have at the minimum 2 years experience. We have years of experience in chiropractic and holistic health care. Over 80% of our business comes by way of personal referrals.
5) Is the atmosphere of the office relaxing and comfortable?
Some places just don't feel that great to be in. A place where you are going to feel better should feel good in and of itself. 4 out of 5 patients surveyed said that one of the most noticeable things about our facility was the level of comfort they felt when they visit our office as well as the warmth and friendliness of our staff.