Chiropractic is about helping people live healthier, fuller lives naturally. While typically thought of as treatment for the spine, chiropractic care actually focus more on the nervous system, the “master control” system of the body. Simply stated, chiropractic care centers on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health.
The nervous system is a communication pathway made up of the brain, spinal cord, and all the body’s nerves. The skull protects the delicate tissues of the brain, and the moving bones of the spine protect the vulnerable communication pathways of the spinal cord and nerve roots.
When the nervous system is operating properly, our bodies are designed to be self-regulating, self-healing organisms. Every cell, tissue, and organ is in constant communication with the brain, conveying its current status. If an organ is in distress, the brain communicates back to the body how to react to that distress in order to return the body to normal.
All of this communication between the brain and the body occurs through the sets of nerves which exit between each vertebrae. If the lines of communication on any of these nerves is interfered with or cut off, problems arise–including chronic pain, premature joint degeneration, and overall decreased health and quality of life.
Injuries, over-exertion, improper sleep positions, poor posture, lack of exercise, stress or tension, toxins, or inherited spinal weakness can cause misalignment of the vertebrae that places pressure on the delicate nerve roots. These displacements of the spinal bones, known as vertebral subluxations, cause stress to the nerves of the spinal cord and can result in malfunctions in tissues and organs throughout the body. Even slight misalignments in the spine may alter the regular transmission of nerve impulses, preventing the afflicted portion of the body from responding with its full inherent capacity. (For more information on subluxations, click here.)
The science of chiropractic care uses painless, manual adjustments to the vertebral column to correct alignment problems and remove pressure and irritation on the spinal nerve roots. Once the spine and nervous system’s integrity has been restored, the body’s own natural healing power can then return the individual to health. Chiropractic is the largest natural healthcare discipline in the world and emphasizes the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery.
Chiropractic doctors practice natural, drugless, non-invasive health care and rely on the body’s ability to self-heal. Sounds ideal, but just how does it work?
We look at the whole picture
Like other health-care providers, we follow a standard routine to gain information about the patient. We consult, review the case history, conduct a physical examination, and we may request laboratory analyses and/or x-rays. Unlike other health-care providers, however, chiropractic physicians also conduct a careful analysis of the patient’s structure and pay particular attention to the spine. We also ask you about your life— Do you eat well? Exercise at all? How do you deal with stress? Do you have children? What do you do for work? And so on.
We seek the origin of the problem
Using this information, a diagnosis is made. Included in the diagnosis is the probable reason for your pain or discomfort. It is important to note that chiropractors seek the origin of the illness in order to eliminate it-we do not simply treat the symptoms. If your roof is leaking, do you simply catch the drips in a bucket for years on end, or do you repair the roof to prevent it from leaking? Similarly, if the migraine headache you’ve had all week is being caused by misaligned vertebra and an irritated nerve, do you continue to take pain killers indefinitely, or do you realign the vertebra to prevent the pain? You get the picture.
We fix the origin of the problem
Chiropractors have a term for misalignments: subluxations. A vertebral subluxation is a misalignment of the bones that protect the spinal cord. It’s a leak in the roof. Or a kink in the wiring of your nervous system. The severity of the subluxation can vary, and there are a number of potential contributing factors that can be physical, emotional, mental, or chemical. The subluxation can be caused by any number of incidents, from birth trauma to an auto accident to simple repetition or over-use.
What to expect at a Chiropractic Exam
A Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) begins his or her examination by taking the patient’s history, including family history, diet, work and lifestyle-related factors. A physical exam uses palpations of the spinal column to find possible subluxations and evaluate muscle strength and possible postural and structural problems. Chiropractors often use x-rays to locate subluxations and to rule out any conditions that would preclude treatment. We may also take an sEMG computerized spinal analysis of the muscle tension around your spinal to help locate problem areas. Once treatment commences, adjustments are done with the patient lying or sitting on a specially constructed table that conforms to body contours.
- Low back pain
- Neck or shoulder pain
- Headaches brought on with tension or stress
- Auto accident injury
- Knee or ankle pain
- Any Sports or Work injuries
- Carpal Tunnel symptoms from repetitive motions
- Pain between shoulder blades
- Difficulty sitting, bending and lifting
- Problems sleeping due to neck or back pain
- Inability to perform daily activities due to muscle or joint pain
- Recurring joint pain, stiffness or swelling
- Sprains and strains
- Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ)
- Stress management and relaxation