Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of
the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of
these disorders on general health. Chiropractic care is used most often
to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to
back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and
Doctors of Chiropractic – often referred to as chiropractors or
chiropractic physicians – practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to
health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment.
Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to
recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to
provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.
The most common therapeutic procedure performed by doctors of
chiropractic is known as “spinal manipulation,” also called
“chiropractic adjustment.” The purpose of manipulation is to restore
joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that
have become hypomobile – or restricted in their movement – as a result
of a tissue injury. Tissue injury can be caused by a single traumatic
event, such as improper lifting of a heavy object, or through repetitive
stresses, such as sitting in an awkward position with poor spinal
posture for an extended period of time. In either case, injured tissues
undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain,
and diminished function for the sufferer. Manipulation, or adjustment
of the affected joint and tissues, restores mobility, thereby
alleviating pain and muscle tightness, and allowing tissues to heal.
Chiropractic adjustment rarely causes discomfort. However, patients may
sometimes experience mild soreness or aching following treatment (as
with some forms of exercise) that usually resolves within 12 to 48
In many cases, such as lower back pain, chiropractic care may be the
primary method of treatment. When other medical conditions exist,
chiropractic care may complement or support medical treatment by
relieving the musculoskeletal aspects associated with the condition.
Doctors of chiropractic may assess patients through clinical
examination, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging and other diagnostic
interventions to determine when chiropractic treatment is appropriate
or when it is not appropriate. Chiropractors will readily refer
patients to the appropriate health care provider when chiropractic care
is not suitable for the patient’s condition, or the condition warrants
co-management in conjunction with other members of the health care team.
A Natural, non-invasive approach to health care
Chiropractic is based on the scientific fact that your body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism, controlled by the brain, spinal cord and nerves of the body. The vertebrae, which protect the nervous system, when misaligned or lose its normal motion, causes malfunction of the tissues and organs throughout the body.
Chiropractic medicine is a form of natural health care that focuses on treating a patient without the use of drugs or medicines. Doctors of Chiropractic, more commonly known as Chiropractors, are primary health care providers licensed in all 50 states, and are recognized by governmental health care programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Workers' Compensation programs and more. Every year, more than 30 million Americans see chiropractors as part of the regular health care programs and with over 84,000 licensed chiropractors nationwide and more than 10,000 students currently enrolled in chiropractic school, it is the fastest growing health care profession.
Chiropractors frequently treat individuals with problems, such as headaches, joint pain, neck pain, low back pain and sciatica. Chiropractors also treat patients with osteoarthritis, spinal disk conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, sprains, and strains. However, the scope of conditions that chiropractors manage or provide care for is not limited to the common pains and problems listed above. Chiropractors also have the training to treat a variety of conditions such as allergies, asthma, digestive disorders, and other disorders as new research is developed.
What is a Subluxation?
Subluxation is a term used in the chiropractic field to describe what happens when one of the vertebrae in your spine moves out of position. The word subluxation is derived from the Latin words meaning somewhat or slightly (sub) and to dislocate (luxate). When this happens, the misaligned vertebra creates pressure and stress on the spinal nerves, blood vessels, and surrounding muscles. This pressure and stress can cause an imbalance in the body's normal processes as the nerves in the spinal column extend to the entire body and its organs. As time goes on and the uncorrected subluxation settles, the damage to the nerve gets progressively worse different stages of subluxation degeneration set in.
Subluxations can occur in a number of ways. A car accident, fall, sudden jar, or trauma are all examples of unique instances that may cause a subluxation. The other occurrence of subluxation comes from regular actions such as improper sleeping position, poor posture, or incorrect lifting processes.
Chiropractors are specialists in correcting subluxation and other misalignments. A chiropractor can restore the misaligned vertebrae to their proper position in the spinal column. They do this manually by using the chiropractic procedure known as spinal adjustment. Your chiropractor, in most cases, will use his or her hands in applying corrective pressure to the spine in a specific direction and location. The manual force or thrust helps restore the alignment and mobility of the vertebrae. In some cases, the chiropractor may use instruments to detect a subluxation and adjust the spine. Under normal circumstances, chiropractic adjustments are painless. In cases of trauma, such as car accident, some discomfort may be experienced due to inflammation. It is also common to feel a brief sensation in the extremities immediately following an adjustment due to the sudden decompression of the affected nerve root.
What Can I Expect During My First Visit to a Chiropractor?
Although each doctor's process will vary, generally you can expect to complete a full medical history questionnaire and "new patient" paperwork. You will then consult with the doctor. This consultation is your opportunity to express your health concerns and expectations, and to ask any questions you may have pertaining to the matter. It is also for the Chiropractor to express his role in your health care and discuss your health prognosis. A physical exam will be performed which may include orthopedic testing, reflex assessments, muscle testing, and a specific Chiropractic evaluation. In some cases x-rays may be necessary to determine an exact diagnosis. X-rays can usually be done at the doctor' s office. Your Chiropractor will go over the results of the exam and x-rays with you. Then, depending on your situation, the doctor may give you an adjustment and/or begin rehabilitation, if needed. Adjustments shouldn't be painful, although you may feel some discomfort until the pressure in the joint is relieved. Depending on your condition, your Chiropractor may schedule a series of visits for care.
While chiropractic care can help with any number of symptoms and problems, we have listed out some of the more common conditions that you may recognize in yourself or others. If you are experiencing any of these problems, please contact us for an appointment today.
Whiplash is most commonly received from riding in a car that is struck from behind or that collides with another object. When the head is suddenly jerked back and forth beyond its normal limits, the muscles and ligaments that support the spine and head can be overstretched or torn. The soft, pulpy discs between spinal bones can bulge, tear or rupture. Vertebrae can be forced out of their normal position, reducing range of motion. The spinal cord and nerve roots in the neck can get stretched and irritated. While occupants can suffer considerable soft tissue injury, the car may only be slightly damaged.
The resulting instability of the spine and soft tissues can cause headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, pain in the shoulder, arms and hands, reduced ability to turn and bend, and even low back problems. As the body attempts to adapt, symptoms may not appear for weeks or even months later.
The chiropractic approach to these types of injuries is to use specific chiropractic adjustment to help return spinal function. After a thorough examination and case history, the doctor will recommend a series of visits to help restore proper motion and position of the spinal bones. If caught early enough, inflammation can be reduced and scar tissue can often be minimized.
Consult a Chiropractic Doctor before enduring constant headaches, depending upon addictive pain medication, or submitting to surgery.
Arthritis is a condition characterized by the gradual breakdown of joint cartilage, most common in the weight bearing joints of the body such as the knees, hips, and back. It is also common in the neck and hands. As the joint is broken down it can lead to joint stiffness and increased strain on the muscles in that area. Additionally, as joint function changes it can lead to movement compensations and place strain on other areas of the body as well. Although degenerative changes are common with age they do not automatically result in pain. Research now shows that it is not the degeneration of the joint that is responsible for pain but the effects the degeneration has on how the joint is functioning particularly the stiffness and muscles strain.
We focus on restoration and maintenance of function by emphasizing joint movement and increasing the ability of the muscles to support and stabilize the affected joints. In addition, we assess how the body as a whole if functioning to uncover any other movement abnormalities that may be affecting the degenerated area.
Joints of the body need to move. When this movement becomes restricted and normal motion is altered several problems arise. Most commonly joint dysfunction results in pain, stiffness, muscle tightness, cartilage breakdown/degeneration, and movement compensation leading to undue stress on other areas of the body. Joint dysfunction are common in the spine and the extremities and can commonly occur with injury, poor posture, muscles tightness, scar tissue, or muscles imbalance.
The doctor will assess movement of the joints to feel for areas of altered or restricted movements. Once identified, the abnormal movement can be restored using a combination of chiropractic joint adjustments and ART. Whenever possible simple home exercises are demonstrated to facilitate and maintain proper motion in key areas. Underlying factors such as poor posture and muscle imbalance often need to be addressed in cases of chronic or recurrent joint dysfunction.
Neck/Low Back Pain
Subluxations (misalignments of the spinal column) are one of the most common causes of neck and low back pain. When vertebrae are misaligned, they put pressure directly on spinal nerves, causing pain. Muscle spasms may set in, which can increase the pressure further. This extra pressure can cause even more inflammation and irritation, which leads to more pain. And the cycle continues. Often times stretching and massage may only temporarily relieve the pain, because the cause (subluxation) has not been addressed. A chiropractic adjustment focuses on correcting the cause.
80% of headaches originate from the neck. Usually an increased amount of stress and tension held in the shoulders causes contractions of all of the surrounding neck muscles. When these muscles contract, vertebrae can become misaligned causing pressure on spinal nerves, and ultimately pain. With a typical cervicogenic (neck origin) headache, a person usually feels pain starting at the base of the skull which radiates into the temples, eyeballs, and forehead. There may be several other causes of headaches, so a proper examination is needed to determine the actual cause.
The sciatic nerve is a long nerve originating in the lower back and extending down the back of the leg. When this nerve is irritated, it can cause pain, numbness, weakness, or other symptoms in the lower back and down the leg. There are several possible causes of this condition. A misaligned vertebra can cause inflammation of the joints, putting pressure on the nerve. Bulging discs and muscle spasms can also cause pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Several other conditions may cause this symptom, so a complete evaluation would be needed to correctly asses the exact cause.
A pinched nerve is just that. It is a severely compressed nerve, usually caused by a misaligned vertebra. When nerves get pinched they become severely inflamed and muscles may spasm, causing even more discomfort. The pain is usually so severe that you can't move that part of the body and it can cause other symptoms as well.
There can be several causes of the pinched nerve; a proper examination is needed to determine the exact cause.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
These days millions of Americans have jobs which can have damaging effects on the hands and arms. Repetitive movements which are not performed with good ergonomics in mind can cause micro-trauma to the hands and wrists. This trauma combined with joint dysfunction and spinal problems may result in a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome. The median nerve which is affected travels from the tips of the fingers through the wrist up the arm and into the neck connecting to the spinal cord. If one or more of these structures are affected, symptoms of wrist pain, numbness, weakness, burning and loss of muscle function can occur.
Chiropractic can assure that all of the joints and muscles along the path of the nerve are free of obstruction and functioning normally, thus reducing nerve irritation.