What is Chiropractic? How can Chiropractic help me?
What’s the origin of chiropractic?
Spinal manipulation has been used for thousands of years around the world to try and fix health problems. The modern version was developed by Daniel D Palmer in the nineteenth century and called chiropractic from the Greek words for doing and hand (praktikos and cheiro).
Palmer’s first patient was his janitor who had been deaf for seventeen years following a neck injury. Palmer claimed to have ‘clicked’ a joint back into place and the man’s hearing returned. Palmer, however, was jailed for practising medicine without a licence but his son took up the cause and chiropractic began to become popular.
Chiropractors like many other complementary health practitioners look at the body as a whole when they treat you. A chiropractor considers the body to be like a living machine – if a joint is misaligned or damaged then the smooth running of the machine can be upset causing inflammation, pressure on nerves and subsequent medical problems.
Chiropractors believe stress, poor posture and accidents, including sports injuries and the like can all stop the body machine running smoothly. Almost any aspect of health might be affected by problems in the spine, they believe.
For instance, pressure on nerves connected to the intestines could be the root cause of some digestive disorders. Chiropractic manipulation of the spine at the point where these nerves emerge from the spinal cord through the vertebra could remedy such a disorder.
Top 10 Reasons To See a Chiropractor
When you hear the word “Chiropractor” what is the first thing that comes to mind? PAIN RELIEF!!! Right? It’s true that Chiropractic does help with musculoskeletal complaints, but that’s not what has kept Chiropractic a separate and distinct healthcare profession for the last 119 years. In the earlier part of the 20th Century people mainly came to chiropractors for infectious diseases, such as Polio and Scarlet Fever. Chiropractic wasn’t found by relieving someone’s Sciatica. It was founded in 1895 by a man named D.D. Palmer when he adjusted a deaf man and he got his hearing back! Obviously a lot more there than just pain relief. So I have, only for arguments sake, included the obvious neck and back pain in my list of the 10 most popular reasons why people come to our office. I will start with the obvious. 1. Back Pain- relief and prevention- Chiropractors are notorious for our results when it comes to resolving back pain. Even Consumer Reports rated Chiropractic the #1 solution to lower back pain over medical care, pharmaceuticals, acupuncture and physical therapy. Numerous studies show how patients seeking chiropractic care for low back pain get relief faster and the results last longer over time.
Is your back pain chronic and reoccurring? It doesn't have to be. Once a lower back is injured, it's inherit ability to function properly can be "lost." We can educate you on how and what to do in order for your lower back to engage in a way that you are no longer susceptible to chronic reoccurring episodes of acute back pain. Never say, " I have a bad back" again. 2. Neck Pain- relief and prevention- Chiropractic’s history with neck pain is just as impressive as our results with lower back pain. Recently, ABC news conducted a study which revealed that Chiropractic adjustments are superior to pharmaceuticals and physical therapy when it comes to neck pain. Similar to the back pain studies, they found chiropractic patients recovered twice as fast as those receiving traditional medical care.
Do you sit at a desk all day? If your work station has not yet been assessed for a proper set up (ie. ergonomic assessment) , it may result in neck pain , shoulder tightness, frequent headaches and a chronic "low energy" experience. We can educate you on how to arrange your work station and what other appropriate activities that will allow you to function at work without sabotaging your health.
3. Pain,Tingling and/or Numbness in an Extremity- These patients who are suffering with Sciatica(in legs or feet), or a Cervical Radiculopathy(in arm or hand) usually seek medical intervention first due to the pain and discomfort. They eventually find their way to the chiropractor after these methods fail and the only other alternative is surgery. Chiropractic aims to remove the pressure on the nerves affected, thereby addressing the cause instead of covering up the symptoms. In most cases, Chiropractic can delay or even eliminate the need for drugs or surgery. 4. Headaches/ Migraines- relief and prevention- Headaches are a very common condition, but they are never “normal”. They are a sign that you have excessive stress on your central nervous system. Chiropractic has been shown to help with all sorts of headaches. From the classic Migrains to Trigeminal Neuralgia, or Tic Deloroux. Chiropractic does not treat headaches. The Adjustments remove pressure off of nerves and allow the entire body to function better. As a result, many headaches tend to dissipate or even disappear. There is also published research on it’s effectiveness. If headaches are plaguing you, Chiropractic is a logical place to start. 5. Easier Pregnancy and Labor- Moms-to-be have been finding relief at the chiropractor for all sorts of common issues during pregnancy. Conditions such as back pain, heartburn & circulation problems all been shown to improve under chiropractic care. Patients who see chiropractors have also been shown to have shorter and less painful deliveries! This makes for happy moms, especially those choosing natural child births. 6. Improved Range of Motion and Peak Performance- Many athletes see chiropractors on a regular basis. Professional athletes in every sport have endorsed chiropractic and given it credit, in part, to their level of success. Chiropractic helps the musculoskeletal system to perform more balanced. This tends to reduce injury and as well as promote the ability to recover from it faster. People such as Tiger Woods, Jerry Rice, Evander Holyfield, Lance Armstrong, Aaron Rodgers and many others include Chiropractic as part of their lifestyle. 7. Healthier Children- Mom and Dads have found relief in other ways through Chiropractic. More and more parents have been bringing their children to see the chiropractor for multiple reasons. Chiropractic care has helped many children recover from conditions such as acid reflux, ear infections, colic, asthma, ADD, ADHD and even Autism. It has an impeccable record when it comes to safety as well. Again, Chiropractic does NOT offer to diagnose or treat these conditions or any others. The chiropractic adjustment removes interferences in the central nervous system, allowing the entire body to express itself at a higher level. EVEN IN CHILDREN! 8. Relief from Menstrual Problems- Due to the nervous system’s control over the menstrual cycle, chiropractic has helped women with not only the level of pain, but also abnormal cycles and even infertility. More mature women have also found relief in their menopausal symptoms. Are you starting to see why 80% of chiropractic patients are women? 9. Relief from Allergies- Another issue people see chiropractors for, especially is Allergies and other sinus and respiratory issues. The efficiency of your Immune System to fight off allergens and infection is largely dependent on the integrity of your Central Nervous System. Chiropractic patients perceive less overall symptoms due to seasonal allergies without the need for over the counter medication. 10. Improved Overall Function- As you can probably gather from the previous 9 reasons, the theme is pretty similar. The Power that Made the Body, Heals the Body. Chiropractic focuses on removing nerve interference called Subluxation, thereby improving the function and integrity of the entire body and mind. Since your Nervous System controls and coordinates all function, stresses in that system can create a state of dis-ease, which leads to dysfunction and eventually a symptom. Chiropractors do not treat symptoms. We focus on the cause and on removing the interferences in the normal transmission of mental impulses from brain to body, and body to brain. Then your body can get all the information it needs in order to function the best that it can. That is why 80% of the patients I see on a daily basis are feeling great! They come in for regular monthly visits in order to maintain that level of health and expression. So, you see. There is much more to chiropractic than just a “crick” in the neck. Unfortunately that’s what most people think. Trends these days are changing though. More people are seeing the problem with over medicating and covering up symptoms. People are turning to more natural forms of healthcare and focusing on prevention through diet and exercise. Chiropractic is the leading alternative to the Allopathic, or Medical paradigm, and they’ve been teaching this lifestyle for over a century. So, don’t wait until you’re in pain to see a chiropractor. That’s like waiting until you have a cavity to see your dentist!
What happens during a treatment?
Your first session with a chiropractor often involves an assessment of posture, mobility of joints, and usually lifestyle. There are various standard tests such as the Thomas test, which determines mobility in the hip joints, the Yeoman’s test which involves the practitioner flexing your legs one at a time to assess joints for sprain and mobility. The chiropractor might also ask you to bend, raise your legs, test your reflexes, take your blood pressure or even an X-ray to build up a more detailed picture of a problem.
As with osteopathy, chiropractors try to track down restricted or excessive joint movement, especially in the spine because they believe these problems are the cause of inflammation, swelling and pressure that leads to pain and illness.
A chiropractor might use some massage to loosen stiff muscles before focusing on the manipulation techniques. Manipulation usually involves a sharp, precise thrusting movement of a joint to ‘free it up’. There are several standard techniques aimed at making, what chiropractors refer to as, adjustments. However, a new school of thought among progressive chiropractors avoids the forceful thrusting manipulations and instead relies on more gentle and tempered movements and stretches.
For instance, the Toggle Drop involves a swift and precise pressure applied with the hands to specific verterbrae in the spine while you lie face down. The various manipulations often causes clicking noises, which can be quite alarming to the patient and may cause a little pain or discomfort at the time but this quickly eases off and the procedure has been shown to be extremely safe. Clicking noises are not caused by bone against bone, they are simply the sound of gases “popping” as they are expelled from where they may be trapped in the membrane surrounding a joint.
Chiropractic will often attempt to provide an effective long-term management of a condition. However, patients are usually locked in to regular return visits for “maintenance” treatments to prevent them regressing. Chiropractors will help you improve your posture, suggest lifestyle changes that might help your overall health and teach you some easy exercises to do at home.
Where’s the evidence? There have been various clinical trials of chiropractic several of which have been reported by the well-respected British Medical Journal, published by the British Medical Association. The research reports that showed that chiropractic worked better at treating acute back pain than standard treatments offered in a hospital out-patients.
What do conventional doctors think about chiropractic?
Chiropractic had a poor image among the medical profession for most of the last century, in the 1960s the American Medical Association condemned it as an ‘unscientific cult’ although the AMA lost its legal battle in 1987 and now chiropractors work in hospitals and sports clinics.
You are almost as likely to be referred to a chiropractor as by your GP, but usually only for musculo-skeletal problems. However, clinics and community health centers often have chiropractors on-site apparently complementing the work of the doctors and nursing staff. One thing that more and more doctors agree on is that the old advice of long periods of lying flat and still or restrained in a medical corset are not the way to treat back problems.
What is a subluxation?
A subluxation is a condition of a vertabrae that has lost it's proper function to the vertebrae above and the vertabrae below, which will impinge nerves and interferes with the transmission of impulses from the brain. This impingement in turn interferes with the intent of the brain originated impulse and produces dysfunction to the tissues in which the nerve controls, ultimatley leading to disease.