WHAT IS CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT?
Spinal adjustment has been practiced in every civilization, from the early Egyptians forward. In 1895, Daniel David Palmer, the founder of chiropractic and a longtime student of physiology and anatomy encountered a janitor who had been deaf for seventeen years following an injury to his upper spine. While examining the janitor's spine, Palmer found a misaligned vertebra that corresponded to the spot the man had injured just prior to losing his hearing. By administering a specific adjustment technique to the vertebra, Palmer restored the janitor's hearing.
Palmer believed that all living beings are endowed with what he termed "innate intelligence" and that this intelligence regulates all the vital functions of the body as it flows through the central nervous system. Palmer felt that the primary task of the chiropractor was not to treat conditions but to remove nerve interference caused by subluxations (misalignments) so that the innate intelligence could carry out its role of maintaining the body's health and balance without obstruction.
Chiropractic is a complete system of health care that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. It involves a non-invasive, natural hands-on approach to treatment through manual adjustment and/or manipulation of the spine and framework of the body, focused on restoring, maintaining, and optimizing health. Chiropractors provide diagnosis, treatment and preventative care for disorders related to the spine, pelvis, nervous system and joints. Chiropractic care has become the second largest primary health care field in the world because of its effectiveness in treating back problems, headaches, and other injuries and traumas.
Chiropractic care idealizes the concept of a holistic approach to health and illness, recognizing the body's own inherent ability to heal itself during times of physical injury o mental and environmental stress. Chiropractors can recommend therapeutic and rehabilitation exercises, as well as nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling for their patients based on their individual needs. For many patients with conditions such as lower back pain, chiropractic care is frequently the primary method of treatment. Where certain other conditions exist, chiropractic care may complement or provide support to the medical treatment already being received by relieving the musculoskeletal aspects related with the condition.
HOW DOES CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT WORK?
Through various adjustments of the spine and joints, chiropractors are able to influence the body's nervous system and natural defense mechanisms to alleviate pain and improve general health. Primarily, chiropractic care is concerned with the relationship between the spinal column and the musculoskeletal structures of the body to the nervous system. Proper alignment of the spinal column is essential for optimum health because it acts as a "central control station" for the nervous system. When there is a nerve interference that is caused by misalignments in the spine, pain can occur and the body's defenses can deteriorate. Normal nerve functioning can be restored by adjusting the spinal joints to remove these misalignments.
The spinal column, or backbone, is an essential structure that consists of twenty-four bones called vertebrae that surround and shield the spinal cord. Between each of these vertebra, pairs of spinal nerves exit and extend to every part of the human body, including muscles, bones, organs, and glands, all while providing mobility for the upper body. This dual requirement of both strength and flexibility makes the spine an incredibly complex structure. The nervous system is made up of three overlapping systems, they are:
The Central Nervous System, which includes the brain and spinal cord.
The Autonomic Nervous System, which controls involuntary functions such as heart rate, digestion, and glandular function.
The Peripheral Nervous System, which connects the central nervous system to all the body tissues and voluntary muscles.
Health relies on upon the proper functioning and balance of these three interconnected nerve systems operating in complete equilibrium with one another. When vertebrae become misaligned, pressure is placed on the nerves in that area. As a result, nerves cannot carry out their proper tasks and this can lead to dysfunction, disharmony and eventually disease. It is through this complex nervous system that coordinates and controls the functions of all the other systems of the body.
The most commonly used therapeutic procedure performed by chiropractic doctors is known as “spinal manipulation”, or referred to as an “chiropractic adjustment.” The purpose of this is to restore joint mobility by manually manipulating and applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile (restricted in movement or dysfunctional) as a result of tissue injury. Tissue injury can occur due to a single traumatic event, such as the improper lifting of a heavy object, or through repetitive stresses placed on the body, such as sitting in an awkward position with poor spinal posture for an prolonged period of time. In either case, tissues that become injured undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause symptoms of inflammation, pain, and diminished function for the sufferer. Therapeutic manipulation, or adjustment of the affected joint(s) and tissues, restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle stiffness, allowing tissues to heal.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON YOUR FIRST VISIT
Your first visit to a chiropractor will typically begin with a discussion of your health history-familial traits, dietary habits, word record, and previous health care. Your chiropractic doctor will pay particular attention to the history of your current complaint and symptoms, along with your individual concerns. A thorough physical exam (range motion tests, palpation, reflex testing, muscle strength comparisons, etc.) followed by analysis of the spine is conducted to determine any muscle imbalances and misalignments. Depending upon what is found during the examination and the complaint, the doctor may feel that x-rays are needed. Following that, the doctor will explain the issue to you and propose a treatment that will include a series of chiropractic adjustments.
Specific attention is also given to posture, work habits, and, depending on if your complaint is injury related, the positioning of your body when the injury took place. Examinations are oriented towards the patient's problem, and are focused on the various spinal and muscular factors concerning the complaint, as well as the general state of alignment of the patient. As an overall approach to reducing physical disability and/or disease, your chiropractor will also help improve your body motion and coordination. The proper functioning of the body is just as important as issues concerning pain, if necessary, the chiropractor may refer his or her patient to an internist or neurologist for further diagnostic examinations.
WHAT CAN CHIROPRACTIC CARE TREAT?
Following the initial intake and assessments, together the patient and chiropractor will develop a treatment plan that takes into consideration: the extent of the injury or irritation, the general health of the patient, the condition of the spine as affected by age and previous injury, and what the patient's goals are – this is the most important. The patient's goals of treatment should result from the consultation with their chiropractor. Many people seek simple relief of pain or discomfort, while others want to begin a regimen of continuous care with the aim to improve their general well-being.
Doctors of chiropractic work with patients of all ages, with a variety of health conditions and are especially well known for their expertise in caring for patients with back pain, neck pain and headaches. They also care for patients with a variety of disturbances of the body, including peripheral joint injuries (hand, knees, elbows, hips, shoulders), sprains, arthritis, bursitis, menstrual difficulties, plus a wide range of emotional problems, from mild depression to schizophrenia. Respiratory conditions, gastrointestinal disorders, sinusitis (inflammation of a sinus), bronchial asthma, heart trouble, high blood pressure, and even the common cold have are all aliments often seen by chiropractic doctors.
For more information and to learn more about Chiropractic Care contact a Chiropractic Doctor near you.