What is Chiropractic?

     Chiropractic is the largest alternative healthcare field in the United States.  It is both the art and science of specific spinal adjustments or manipulations which the Doctor of Chiropractic employs to allow for better spinal motion and less spinal nerve pressure.  When this is accomplished, there is typically improved spinal mobility and less pain.   It is a medical fact that our brains continually monitor and control the rest of our bodies through the spinal cord and spinal nerves.  When there is nerve pressure or irritation somewhere along the spine, then the area that  is supplied by those nerves can be affected in a negative way.  With this known information, it makes sense for chiropractors to try and lessen this spinal nerve irritation, so that the body can function at a more optimal state.

What Problems Can Be Helped With Chiropractic?

     There are many health problems that can potentially be helped with chiropractic care.  Here is a list of the most common problems treated.

Sports injuries, headaches, neck pain, midback pain, muscle spasms, low back pain, whiplash, "pulled" muscles, elbow / hand symptoms, hip / leg / knee / feet symptoms, sprains and strains of the neck or back, sprains of any joint in the body, work-related and auto accident related injuries. 

     Additionally, there are some non-musculoskeletal problems that have been helped in the past with chiropractic care including:  ear infections, colic, digestive disturbances and even dizziness.

How Can Chiropractic Help Me?

     Injury, stress or chronic pain most often are the reasons people seek chiropratic care.  Because chiropractic treats the underlying causes of these problems rather than just relieving symptons, your body's natural healing processes work for you.  The chiropractic approach to better health is to locate and help correct interferences to your body's natural state of good health.
     Today's Doctor of Chiropractic is highly trained in identifying and evaluating functional problems associated with the spinal column and skilled in restoring proper spinal biomechanics and nerve function.
     With a program of regular spinal maintenance, many patients recover a degree of health and vigor greater than they enjoyed before their problem occurred.

What Is A Chiropractic Adjustment?

     When performing an adjustment your doctor applies precisely directed force to a joint that is "locked up" or not moving properly.  Restoring normal motion to joints can allow bones to gradually return to a more proper position and your body to function as it should.  This safe, natural approach to removing interferences with spinal and nervous system function can improve your overall health.
     This is not to say, however, that all adjustments are the same.  Just as chiropractors are different individually, so are the many techniques.  Usually the doctor's hands or a specially designed instrument deliver a quick, therapeutic thrust to the affected joint.  Other techniques, however, may require slow, constant pressure.
     Based upon years of training and experience, and careful evaluation of your unique spinal problem, the doctor will recommend an individual program of care.

How Long Will I Need Chiropractic Care?

     Each patient is unique.  Long-standing or neglected problems may require ongoing care to restore and maintain good spinal health.  The truth is, you wouldn't expect just one of the twenty pills of any prescription to produce a cure, so you shouldn't expect only one adjustment to do that either.  Healing takes time. 
     While some patients seek chiropractic care only when pain is unbearable, this "crisis" approach is often time-consuming, costly and uncomfortable.  Most patients find that the best results come from a regular individual care program and periodic chiropractic checkups.
     Discuss your expectations for care with your doctor and ask questions about how you can achieve optimum spinal health.  It's your decision.

Is Chiropractic Care Safe?

     Chiropractic has an excellent safety record.  While it's not unusual to hear of injuries from mis-prescribed drugs, drug overdoses, drug combination and erroneous treatments in the medical profession, it is very rare to hear of a problem resulting from chiropractic care.  According to a government study in New Zealand, chiropractic care was found to be "remarkably safe".
     Chiropractic doctors are trained to practice and perform hundreds to thousands of manipulations before delivering them to a patient.  To become a Doctor of Chiropractic, the candidate must first pass the demanding National Board Examination.  Then, to apply for a professional license the doctor must pass an even more rigorous test before winning the privilege to practice.
     Guided by a thorough case history and examination, your doctor will evaluate your individual needs and determine a course of treatment.  This conservative, natural approach to better health avoids the dangers associated with invasive procedures and addictive drugs.

Do I Have A Pinched Nerve?

     Pain is usually the reason most patients consult with a Doctor Chiropractic.  Most patients have heard the term "pinched nerve" and, some may even know that it's associated with pain, numbness, burning, or a "pins and needles' feeling.  In truth, the compression lesion or pinched nerve is rare, causing only 10 to 15% of spine-related problems.
     More often, pain comes from nerve tissues irritated by the rubbing, stretching or scraping of malfunctioning joints.  Such malfunctions can be caused by many everyday events including physical trauma or emotional stress.  Chemical toxins can also affect the delicate tissues of the spinal cored and nerve roots.
     Your doctor can determine the cause of your pain and the extent of your problem.

Do I Have A Slipped Disc?

     Discs are the cartilage-like cushions occupying the spaces between spinal bones.  Serving as spinal shock absorbers, they allow the back to turn and bend normally.  Because each disc is attached to the verebraeboth above and below, there is no way for them to actually "slip" out of place.  But trauma or injry to the spine can cause discs to tear, bulge, herniate, or even rupture.  The resulting pressure on surrounding nerve tissues can be intensely painful.
     Each case is different so results cannot be guaranteed; however, many patients have found relief in chiropractic care and are happy to avoid surgery to dependency on pain medication.

Will My Back "Crack" With Treatment?

     Cavitation, a pop or click sound, is often heard or felt by the patient during the adjustment.  Much like the opening of a carbonated soda can, cavitation is caused by a rapid release of air bubbles that have been under pressure within the joint.  Cavitation occurs more often than not during an adjustment, but it does not have to occur for the adjustment to be effective.

Is There Any Way I Can Speed The Healing Process?

     The body's natural healing ability can't be hurried.  However, there are several things you can do to give yourself the best chance for a speedy recovery.  Your doctor will teach you proper sitting and lifting postures.  Specific exercises to strengthen and retrain the muscles supporting your spine also may be recommended.
    While you are healing, get as much rest as your body needs, but avoid sleeping on your stomach.  Eat a healthy balanced diet.  If you are overweight, this is the best time to reduce stress to your spine by taking off extra pounds.
     Most important of all, keep all your appointments and follow your doctor's recommendations for the best results.

What Ages Benefit From Chiropractic Care?

     All ages can enjoy healthier living through chiropractic care.  For seniors, improved spinal function can mean better mobility, endurance, appetite, and an improvement in many age-related ailments.  Children and even infants also can benefit.  When the body is changing through growth or through aging, maintaining good spinal and nervous system health is especially important.
     For all ages, the safe, natural chiropractic approach to health maintenance makes sense.