Chiropractic Basics

What do chiropractic doctors do?

The primary focus of chiropractic is to identify spinal subluxations (misalignments causing nerve stress) and reduce or if possible correct them. Chiropractors use a careful history taking, physical examination and technologies such as spinal thermal scanning, electromyography and if needed x-ray analysis to determine the need for chiropractic care. The word Chiropractic is derived from Greek and means “preformed by hand.” Chiropractors use a gentle and painless procedure known as a spinal adjustment to correct the cause of many health problems.

What type of education do chiropractic doctors get?

Chiropractors must complete a minimum of four years of full-time pre-medicine/dentistry university courses. Once enrolled in chiropractic school a further four years of intensive study emphasizing anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, body-mechanics, x-ray, spinal adjusting techniques and many other related subjects. To graduate with Doctor of Chiropractic degree, the candidate must pass the demanding Board Examinations followed by a licensing examination before being granted the privilege to practice Chiropractic.

What is an adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a specific low-force in a precise direction applied to a bone that is subluxated, “stuck,” or not moving properly. This “adjustment” adds motion to the spinal joints helping the bone gradually return to more normal motion and more normal position. By doing this the adjustment releases tension or stress from the neighboring spinal nerves and spinal cord, leading to relief, improved nerve function and improved health.

Are all patients adjusted the same way?

No. The doctor evaluates each patient’s unique spinal problem and develops an individual care program. The resulting recommendations are based upon years of training and experience. There are numerous techniques or types of spinal adjustments. At Life Springs Chiropractic we tailor the type of adjustments given to suit each individual.

Do spinal adjustments weaken or loosen the spine in any way?

In a word, no. Spinal adjustments restore the normal, healthy motion and position that each spinal segment requires. Because spinal adjustments, delivered by a trained chiropractic doctor, do not injure or weaken the muscular and ligamentous structures of the spine they do not cause any weakening or “loosening” of the spine. In order for the spine to be strong and able to withstand the various forces and stresses of daily life the spinal bones must be in normal alignment and have their normal amount of movement. Spinal adjustments do just that.

Can I adjust myself?

Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force, applied in the specific direction, to a specific spinal bone, it is virtually impossible to adjust oneself. It is possible to turn or bend or twist in certain ways to create a “popping” sound, like the sound that often accompanies a chiropractic adjustment. Unfortunately, this type of joint “manipulation” is usually counterproductive, often making an all ready unstable area of the spine even more unsteady. This is also true for well-meaning friends or family members who are “chiropractor wanna-be’s”. Adjusting the spine is not for amateurs! Chiropractors themselves seek out the services of their colleagues to maintain their spinal health.

How often should I get a spinal adjustment?

As soon as you develop “spinal nerve stress.” Since spinal nerve stress is often painless, it is best to have your spine checked regularly, just as you would have your teeth checked for “painless” cavities.

How safe is chiropractic care?

In the words of the “Report Of The Commission Of Inquiry” of the New Zealand Government, Chiropractic care is remarkably safe. Chiropractic has an excellent safety record. It is the result of a conservative approach to health that avoids invasive procedures or addictive drugs.

What about strokes and neck adjustments?

Despite some misunderstanding by some in the medical community the actual scientific research into the subject reveals that the incidents of stroke from a chiropractic neck adjustment is extremely rare ( According to a recent, 2001, paper published in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association, 1 in 5.8 million neck adjustments may be related to altered blood flow through the vertebral arteries of the neck.) Neck manipulation has been somewhat more correlated with stroke. Some in the medical profession as well as many physiotherapists perform these manipulations, most in the chiropractic profession do not.

If I start chiropractic care do I have to keep going?

Absolutely not. Similar to exercise, a person can begin, stop, or continue Chiropractic adjustments as desired. Spinal adjustments do not have an addicting effect, nor do they create a condition whereby a person is worse off after receiving spinal adjustments.

Why do children need chiropractic care?

Since significant spinal trauma can occur during the birth process many parents have their newborns checked for spinal nerve stress (subluxations.) Later, learning to walk, or ride a bicycle, and many other childhood activities can cause spinal problems. Many childhood health complaints that are brushed off as “growing pains” can often be traced to spinal problems. Naturally, Chiropractic adjusting procedures are modified to a child’s spine. Most parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and seem much healthier than other children. Chiropractic for children can help to avoid many other health complaints seen later in adulthood.

Can someone with arthritis in their spine receive chiropractic care?

Most certainly. While there are various types of arthritis, the most common type occurring in the spine is called osteoarthritis. With few exceptions people with degenerative osteoarthritis find chiropractic adjustments a great help in relieving their symptoms and improving their overall body movement.

Can chiropractic prevent back surgery?

Most surgical cases begin with spinal subluxations which chiropractic can often correct. If a condition is detected soon enough, generally, back surgery would rarely be needed.

Can a person who had back surgery see a chiropractor?

Yes. We have cared for numerous patients who have had various types of spinal surgeries with good results. It’s an unfortunate fact that half of those who have spinal surgery discover a return of their original problems months or years later. This all too-common occurrence is known as “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.” Chiropractic can often help avoid repeated operations.

Can a person with a broken back or neck see a chiropractor?

In the majority of cases, yes. In fact, a broken bone forms a callus or bone scar when it heals that is stronger than the rest of the bone. People who have had broken bones in particular need chiropractic check-ups because accidents usually cause spinal subluxations.

I am not in pain or sick should I see a chiropractor?

Most people that have their first heart attack had no idea they had a problem before. In the same way symptoms or the lack thereof are not a good way to judge one’s health. Pain and other symptoms often show up only after years of body malfunction. Most people maintain their automobiles much better than they do their own bodies. Chiropractic is a preventative proactive type of health care.

What is the biggest benefit to a Chiropractic Lifestyle?

Simply put, ongoing chiropractic check-ups and adjustments help to ensure that you can enjoy your life to the fullest extent in a body that feels and works at its possible best!

First, the simple explanation.

Subluxation

In simplest terms, a subluxation (a.k.a. Vertebral Subluxation) is when one or more of the bones of your spine (vertebrae) move out of position and create pressure on, or irritate spinal nerves. Spinal nerves are the nerves that come out from between each of the bones in your spine. This pressure or irritation on the nerves then causes those nerves to malfunction and interfere with the signals traveling over those nerves.

How does this affect you?  Your nervous system controls and coordinates all the functions of your body. If you interfere with the signals traveling over nerves, parts of your body will not get the proper nerve messages and will not be able to function at 100% of their innate abilities. In other words, some part of your body will not be working properly it is the responsibility of the Doctor of Chiropractic to locate subluxations, and reduce or correct them. This is done through a series of chiropractic adjustments specifically designed to correct the vertebral subluxations in your spine. Chiropractors are the only professionals who undergo years of training to be the experts at correcting subluxations.

Now, the detailed explanation.

Subluxations are really a combination of changes going on at the same time. These changes occur both in your spine and throughout your body. For this reason chiropractors often refer to vertebral subluxations as the “Vertebral Subluxation Complex”, or “VSC” for short.

In the VSC, various things are happening inside your body simultaneously. These various changes, known as “components,” are all part of the vertebral subluxation complex. Chiropractors commonly recognize five categories of components present in the VSC. These five are:

The osseous (bone) component is where the vertebrae are either out of position, not moving properly, or are undergoing physical changes such as degeneration. This component is sometimes known as kinesiopathology.

The Nerve Component is the malfunctioning of the nerve. Research has shown that only a small amount of pressure on spinal nerves can have a profound impact on the function of the nerves. This component is scientifically known as neuropathology.

The Muscle Component is also involved. Since the muscles help hold the vertebrae in place, and since nerves control  the muscles themselves, muscles are an integral part of any VSC. In fact, muscles both affect, and are affected by the VSC. This component is known as myopathology.

The Soft Tissue Component is when you have misaligned vertebrae and pressure on nerves resulting in changes in the surrounding soft tissues. This means the tendons, ligaments, blood supply, and other tissues undergo changes. These changes can occur at the point of the VSC or far away at some end point of the affected nerves. This component is also known as histopathology.

The Chemical Component is when all these components of the VSC are acting on your body, and therefore causing some degree of chemical changes. These chemical changes can be slight or massive depending on what parts of your body are affected by your subluxations. This component is often known as biochemicalabnormalities.

Chiropractors have known about the dangers of subluxations for over one hundred years. Today, more scientific evidence is showing the dangers of subluxations and the health benefits of correcting them. To be truly healthy, it is vital that your nervous system be functioning free of interference from subluxations. Our goal is to allow your body to return itself to the highest level of health possible by correcting VSC.  Chiropractors are the ONLY health professionals trained in the detection, location, and correction of the VSC.