What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system, the nervous system and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic services are used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, extremity pain and headaches.
What is a Doctor of Chiropractic?
Doctors of Chiropractic – often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians – practice a hands-on, drug-free 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.
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 health care providers.
In many cases, such as lower back pain, chiropractic care may be a patient’s primary method of treatment. When other medical conditions exist, chiropractic services may complement or support medical treatment by relieving the musculoskeletal aspects associated with the condition.
What is Spinal Manipulation?
One of the most common and well known therapeutic procedures performed by doctors of chiropractic is spinal manipulation (sometimes referred to as a “chiropractic adjustment”). The purpose of spinal 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 an individual. Manipulation, or adjustment of the affected joint and tissues, restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, allowing tissues to heal.
Disc problems – “bulging, slipped”
Discs are the cartilage pads that separate and cushion and help connect the vertebrae that make up your spinal column. They serve as shock absorbers between each of the vertebrae and are constantly subjected to the pull of gravity and the torque from everyday movement. Disc problems can be the result of genetics, the normal “wear and tear” of aging, and injury.
Disc function is greatly affected by the alignment of the spine. A subluxation or structural imbalance can force a disc to bulge, protrude, or herniate, which then can result in contact with the nerves and cause pain.
This common back problem is one we see frequently. We effectively treat this malady by realigning the vertebrae and returning the spine to its normal range of motion, thereby reducing the pressure on the discs and spinal joints. We also incorporate physical therapy as well as strengthening exercises for the abdominal and back muscles. Core stabilization is essential for prevention of subsequent disc problems.
Headaches are common in our fast-paced, pressure-filled world. There are many causes of headaches, including physical trauma, emotional stress, nutritional deficiencies, or chemical toxins. In addition, if your neck and back are out of alignment, this will affect nerves, muscles, and even blood flow to your head. Too often, we turn to over-the-counter medications to relieve our discomfort. Unfortunately, they only mask the pain and do not correct the cause.
After your initial chiropractic examination, we can determine if chiropractic health care is the best alternative for treating your chronic headaches. A combination of chiropractic adjustments and nutritional and lifestyle changes ca dramatically reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.
Joint dysfunction is the condition most often treated at our office. Joint or articular problems are caused by osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), subluxations, sprains, intervertebral disc problems, and various abnormal changes in the curve of the spine. Joints that are aligned improperly or are impaired will begin to degenerate rapidly if not attended to promptly and properly.
Adjustment procedures and rehabilitation exercises are very effective in treating joint disorders. As with all conditions we treat, we will be happy to refer you to another health-care provider if you are not a candidate for chiropractic.
Neurological conditions such as headaches, neuritis (inflammation of any part of a nerve, other than the nerve root), and radiculitis (inflammation of a nerve root as it exits the spine) are the most commonly treated neurological cases in the chiropractic profession. Radiculitis is a common source of shoulder, arm and hand pain. With neuritis, patients sometimes experience sensations called paresthesias (feelings of tingling, hot spots, cold spots, crawling sensations, stinging, and burning).
Osteoarthritis is the degeneration of the cartilage and bones of joints caused by “wear-and tear” processes. It is often associated with degenerative changes in the disc and results in friction between adjacent vertebrae. The friction causes a strain as well as a loss of motion in the facets (gliding joints) of the spine. If these joints are exposed to continued trauma such as strenuous exercise, weakened muscles, and the inevitable stress factors of aging, the results can be severe low-back pain.
While chiropractic cannot halt the process of osteoarthritis, we can improve the quality of life while living with the disease. If you’re suffering from osteoarthritis, your spine is usually less flexible; therefore, it becomes more vulnerable to injury. Treatment may include spinal adjustments, physical therapy, and stretching and strengthening exercises. We cans also recommend natural, drug-free ways to control your pain and discomfort.
Whiplash is the common name given to the injury where there is a hyperextension (increased backward motion) and hyperflexion (increased forward motion) of the cervical (neck) spine. More simply put the head is dramatically thrust forward and backward. Car accidents and falls can cause whiplash injuries.
Symptoms of whiplash include headaches, visual disturbance, stiffness of the neck, restriction of movement and shoulder, neck, or arm pain. These symptoms may or may not be felt immediately. It is estimated that most whiplash injuries are not felt for several hours, days, and in some cases even months or years following the accident.
Sciatica (leg pain)
Sciatica is a condition which describes the symptoms of pain that originates in the lower back and travels through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of the leg. The symptoms are often sharp “shooting” pain, tingling, numbness and weakness, down the leg.