Aren’t chiropractors “back doctors”?
No, chiropractors are technically nervous system doctors. Due to the fact the nervous system runs down the spine, this is our main area of concern. If the nervous system ran through the left elbow, most people would probably refer to us as “left elbow doctors.”
The spine is our focus in that it is the main area in the body to misalign and cause resultant nerve pressure. The spine, at birth, consists of thirty-three, bones called vertebrae. By adulthood these bones will shrink down to twenty-six in total due to the fusion of nine bones into two (the sacrum and coccyx). These twenty-six bones give the body support, provide the majority of the body’s height, and most importantly protect the very delicate spinal cord. The spine along with the skull were designed to be very dense and sturdy to encase the nervous system.
These vertebrae are like building blocks in that each one is stacked on one another. In viewing the spine from behind, these blocks should be aligned one on top of the other. The strongest the spine will be in this view will be straight up and down. Scoliosis (crooked spine) wreaks havoc on the spine due to the weakness it possesses by not being straight.
(Chiropractic health care is the best strategy for scoliosis if caught early enough.) The spine from the side view should be curved. Like bridges and large buildings, curves are important to maintain strength. The same is true with the spine from this angle. When these curves are lost or exaggerated (hunch-back, sway-back, and straight-neck), the spine is weak and vulnerable to injury.
The spine is further separated into sections. The neck (cervical spine) consists of seven unique bones. The mid-back (thoracic spine) consists of twelve bones each attached to a pair of ribs. The low-back (lumbar spine) consists of five bones. The pelvis consists of two lilac bones and the sacrum (the bone you sit on). The coccyx (tailbone) is connected at the end of the spine.
The bones are separated from each other by discs. These are cushions between the bones. They act like jelly doughnuts in that there is a jelly inside and a surrounding cover outside. People often hear about bulging or herniated discs. To make it simple, discs are in either one of three stages: (1) normal, (2) contained herniation (bulged), or (3) non-contained herniation (ruptured). With a bulged disc (contained herniation), chiropractic care has shown to be very effective. A non-contained herniation (rupture) usually necessitates surgery.
The spine in summary is a very complex joint system with approximately 110 joints designed to protect the nervous system. It is also the main area in the body where if structurally altered, can affect the body’s health by causing nerve irritation.
What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is based on the scientific fact that your body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism controlled by the brain, spinal cord and nerves. The 24 bones of the spine, or vertebrae, surround and protect the spinal cord and nerves. When misaligned, or subluxated, the vertebrae can interfere with the nervous system, causing pain and dysfunction.
As chiropractors, our objective is to analyze the spine, locate and correct these vertebral subluxations. The chiropractic method of correction is by specific adjustments of the spine, which are intended to correct vertebral subluxations over time, thereby following the innate (inborn) healing abilities of the body to work at maximum efficiency.
What is an Adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment is a carefully directed and controlled pressure applied to a spinal joint that is subluxated, or not moving properly. The chiropractic adjustment removes subluxations and restores motion to the joints, helping the bones of the spine gradually return to a more normal position and motion. With improved position and motion, there is decreased interference with the nervous system, increased communication within the body, and improved overall balance.
After many years of training, a chiropractor is an expert at using the correct amount of force in the correct direction. Some adjustments may require a quick movement, and others involve slow and constant pressure. After a thorough examination, we determine which technique will work best for you.
What conditions can chiropractors treat?
Chiropractors do not treat conditions, nor do they cure disease! Chiropractors adjust vertebral subluxations to remove interference from the nervous system. With a properly functioning nervous system, your body is able to heal itself. Chiropractors do not chase symptoms; they look for the cause of the problem so the symptoms do not return. From sports injuries to prenatal care, our goal is always the same – to adjust spinal subluxations allowing the body to heal itself and function more efficiently.
Do you have to be a certain age to see a Chiropractor?
Chiropractic is safe and effective for people of all ages, from newborns to senior citizens. Each person is unique, so we will design a care program specific for your age, condition, and lifestyle. We have adjusted newborns minutes after birth, have a large family practice and have had four generations of a family in one adjusting room!
How much education do Doctors of Chiropractic need?
After completing their undergraduate education, chiropractors receive an additional four years of post-graduate education and a one-year internship to become a Doctor of Chiropractic. Their education curriculum is similar to medical school and there is special emphasis on anatomy, physiology, neurology, bio-mechanics, nutrition, X-ray, and spinal adjusting techniques. To become a licensed chiropractor, he or she must pass a demanding four-part National Board Examination and then a State Board examination for the state in which they wish to practice. A chiropractor’s education never stops, as yearly continuing education is required for license renewal.
Can I adjust myself?
It is virtually impossible to adjust yourself because a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force applied in a specific direction to one area in the spine. Even a chiropractor cannot adjust him or herself. It is possible to bend or twist and hear and feel a “popping” along the spine. This is a general movement, however, that may help release pressure but is usually counterproductive and can create areas of instability. The best way to adjust the spine is to see a doctor of chiropractic.
There is a reason they went through all of that schooling!
Is chiropractic care expensive?
No, chiropractic care can be relatively inexpensive. Your insurance may cover chiropractic care. Or, if you are without health insurance coverage, there is no charge for the consultation and X-rays start at $45.
How long will it take me to get better?
It is difficult to predict how your body will react to adjustments. Correcting a spinal problem depends on several factors including how long the problem has been around and your current lifestyle. Your body will heal as quickly as it wants to, and sometimes that takes time. Some patients may require ongoing supportive care for optimum spinal function, while others find that periodic checkups help keep them in balance and maintain better health.