Chiropractic works because you are a self-healing, self-regulating organism controlled by your nervous system. Millions of instructions flow from your brain, down the spinal cord, and out to every organ and tissue. Signals sent back to the brain confirm if your body is working right. Improper motion or position of the moving bones of the spine called a "subluxation" can interfere with this vital exchange by irritating nerves and compromising the function of affected organs and tissues. Specific spinal adjustments can help improve mind/body communications. Health often returns with improved nervous system control of the body.
The disc is a soft pulpy "shock absorber." It has a fibrous outer ring which holds in a jelly-like material. A "slipped disc" is a common way to refer to a wide variety of disc problems. However, a disc can’t slip because of the way it attaches to the spinal bone above and below it. But a disc can bulge. It can tear. It can herniate. It can thin. It can dry out. And it can collapse. But it can’t slip.
A pinched nerve is rare. It is more likely that an adjacent spinal bone irritates, stretches, rubs or chafes a nerve. These "subluxations" distort the nerve messages sent between the brain and the body. This can produce unhealthy alterations to the organs and tissues connected by the affected nerves.
There are three basic causes of subluxations. Physical causes could include slips and falls, accidents, repetitive motions and improper lifting. Emotions, such as grief, anger and fear can cause subluxations. Chemical causes could include alcohol, drugs, pollution and poor diet.
You can have subluxations and not even know it. Like the early stages of tooth decay or cancer, subluxations can be present before warning signs appear. The results of a thorough examination can show the location and severity of subluxations you may have.
Sometimes. Today’s hectic lifestyles are a constant source of subluxations. Fortunately, our bodies have the ability to self-correct many of these problems as we bend and stretch, or when we sleep at night. When subluxations don’t resolve, you need to see a chiropractic doctor!
Chiropractic adjustments usually involve a quick thrust that helps add motion to spinal joints that aren’t moving right. Some methods use the doctor’s hands, an instrument, a special table, or the force of gravity. There are many ways to adjust the spine.
Yes. A New Zealand government study found that adjustments are "remarkably safe." By avoiding drugs and risky surgery, chiropractic care enjoys an excellent track record. A thorough exam can identify the rare person for whom chiropractic care might be unsuited. Compare the statistics. Adjustments are safer than taking an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Highly unlikely. A chiropractic adjustment is special. It has the right amount of energy, delivered to an exact spot, at a precise angle, at just the right time. The intent is to get a "stuck" spinal joint moving again, helping reduce nerve interference. Years of training, practice and experience make chiropractic adjustments specific and safe.
Lubricating fluids separate the bones of each spinal joint. Some adjusting methods can produce a sound when the gas and fluids in the joint shift. It’s much like opening a bottle of champagne or removing a suction cup. The sound is interesting, but isn’t a guide to the quality or value of the adjustment.
No. Each patient’s spine and care plan is unique. With 24 moving bones in the spine (that can each move in seven different directions!) we see a wide variety of spinal patterns. Each patient’s care is custom tailored for their age, condition and health goals.
No. Some people can make their joints "pop" but that’s not an adjustment! Worse, damage can occur by mobilizing a joint with weakened muscles and ligaments. Adjustments are specific and take years to master. Even your chiropractic doctor must consult a colleague to benefit from chiropractic care.
The number of adjustments varies with each patient and their individual health goals. Many patients sense progress within a week or two of frequent visits. Visits become less often as your spine stabilizes. In chronic cases, complete healing can take months or even years.
Even today’s "natural" childbirth methods can affect an infant’s spine. Preliminary studies suggested that colic, unusual crying, poor appetite, ear infections or erratic sleeping habits can be signs of spinal distress. Pediatric adjustments are gentle. Knowing exactly where to adjust, the doctor applies no more pressure than you’d use to test the ripeness of a tomato.
Yes. Rest assured that your chiropractic doctor will avoid the surgically modified areas of your spine. Surgery often causes instability above or below the involved level. These areas will be the focus of your chiropractic care.
Of course. When developing a care plan, your chiropractic doctor considers the unique circumstances of each patient. There are many ways to adjust the spine. The method selected will be best suited to your age, size and health.
Some patients experience almost instant relief. Others discover it can take many weeks or months. Many factors can affect the healing process. How long have you had your problem? Are you keeping your appointments? Are you getting the proper rest, exercise and nutrition? Do you smoke? Are you in otherwise good condition? Within a short period of time most patients sense enough progress to fully complete their doctor’s recommendations.
After patients get the relief they want, many choose to continue with some type of periodic care. These patients show up for their visits feeling great. These visits can help support the final stages of healing and help detect and resolve new problems before they become serious. Our job is to offer the very best care and your job is to decide how much of it you want.
No. Chiropractic doctors don’t dispense drugs. Because we rely on natural methods, we can show you how to use ice to control painful symptoms. When properly applied, ice can have an analgesic effect without the side effects of pain medications.
That’s changing. Years of prejudice and bias are giving way to research showing the benefits of chiropractic care. Attitudes are slow to change. However, as the public demands alternatives to drugs and surgery, more and more medical practitioners are referring their patients to our office.
Your health affects everything you do and everyone you know. It is your most valuable possession. Yet, each of us is free to place a different value on our health. It’s convenient when an insurance company or third party helps pay the bill. But be careful! Don’t allow the profit motive of a huge corporation to make the decision for you. Find out how we make chiropractic care affordable for just about anyone.
Patient results vary. Many report improved spinal curves and the total resumption of their life. Those who have neglected or delayed seeking care often see slower progress. After improvement, many patients discover that periodic chiropractic checkups can help avoid a relapse.
If we’re unable to find and correct the cause of your particular health problem, we will refer to other specialists who may be able to help. Your health is our only goal.
Are there any "Self Tests" at home that I can do?
Here are 12 easy spinal exam procedures which may indicate the presence of vertebral subluxations. It is best to perform each of these tests on yourself each month. To safeguard the health of family members - including children - they should be tested as well. If you obtain a positive result on any of the tests, you should see your family doctor of chiropractic as soon as possible.
Self Tests for Nerve Interference RANGE OF MOTION For each of the following tests, stand in an upright, relaxed position. Your movements should be slow and gentle - never use jerky or forceful motions. If you cannot turn or bend the full distance, mark the appropriate box. If you experience any pain or discomfort, check that box as well.
Test 1: Rotation Turn your head slowly to the right, then to the left. Do not move your upper body. You should be able to turn so that your chin is nearly parallel with your shoulder.
Test 2: Lateral Flexion Bend your head slowly to the right, then to the left. Do not raise your shoulders. You should be able to bring your ears within an inch or two of your shoulders.
Test 3: Flexion/Extension Bend your head slowly to the front, then to the back. You should be able to look straight up and straight down.
Test 4: Rotation Turn, from the hips, to your left, then to your right. Do not move your feet or hips and keep your head in line with your upper body. You should be able to turn about 45 degrees in each direction.
Test 5: Lateral Flexion Bend from the waist to the right, then to the left. You should be able to bend about 45 degrees in each direction.
Test 6: Flexion/Extension Keep your back straight, your head in line with your upper body, and do not bend your knees. Bend forward, then backwards, from the waist. You should be able to bend forward until you are parallel with the floor, and backward far enough to be able to look straight up.
POSTURAL CHECKS For these tests, you'll need to stand 'in front of a full length mirror or have a partner examine you. Close your eyes, take a few breaths and "shake" all the tension from your body. When you feel totally relaxed, open your eyes and remain perfectly still. Examine your reflection but don't attempt to "correct" any postural problems - just note them. You might find it easier to first make several straight lines - horizontal lines and one full length vertical line) on the mirror surface with tape, soap, or other easy-to-clean substance. Compare the "line" of your body to these lines and determine if you are parallel to the mirror lines, or if you are out of balance. Mark the appropriate box for each test.
Test 7: Midline Draw an Imaginary line vertically through your body, from the top of your head, through your nose, chin, belly button and down to your feet. Is this line parallel to the vertical line on the mirror or Is it out of balance?
Test 8: Ears Draw an imaginary line horizontally through your ears. Is it horizontal like the line on the mirror or is it out of balance?
Test 9: Shoulders Draw an imaginary line across your shoulders. Is it horizontal like the line on the mirror or is it out of balance?
Test 10: Hips Draw an imaginary line through your hips. Is it horizontal like the line on the mirror or is it out of balance?
Test 11: Leg Length Check For this test, you will need a test partner. Lie on your back on the floor (or other firm, flat surface). Make sure your body is as straight and relaxed as possible. Test partner instructions: "cup" the subject's heels in your hands, with your fingers on the outside and your thumbs on the bottom of the heel, pointing toward each other. Press the feet together and push them up slightly (toward the subject's head) with equal thumb pressure on each foot. Now, look down over the feet and see if one leg appears slightly shorter than the other. Look carefully, since the difference may only be a fraction of an inch. If there is a difference, note which leg looks shorter and mark it.
Test 12: Palpation This test also requires a test partner. Lie face down In a relaxed position. Test partner instructions: With the blunt ends of your fingers (not the tips, but the fleshy part where the fingerprints are), press on the 'bumps" along the subject's spine. Use moderate pressure - about the same amount you'd use to check the ripeness of a melon. Work from the base of the skull to the lower back, feeling for each individual spinal bone. If the subject experiences any tenderness, soreness or discomfort, circle the spot on the spinal chart which comes closest to the place you touched.
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