All Posts tagged spinal adjustment

Chiropractic Focuses on Wellness

wellnessChiropractic is a health care system that is founded on the premise that a properly functioning nervous system is essential to overall health and function of the human body.  Doctors of Chiropractic detect and correct vertebral subluxations by physically adjusting the spine. This restores the nervous system to an optimum level of function, which maximizes the body’s inherent healing potential.

Chiropractic adjustments restore normal nerve function; improve spinal biomechanics, range of motion, reflex arcs, and posture, all of which are essential to a properly functioning nervous system. Doctors of Chiropractic are experts in spinal structure and body mechanics. Chiropractic adjustments restore and maintain the structural integrity of the body by correcting spinal subluxations. Chiropractors emphasize the importance of posture to overall health, a concept that has been often overlooked in traditional methods of health care.

Health care is slowly changing from a symptom, disease-based system to a function, and performance-based system in which the structure of the human body is restored and maintained. Correction and maintenance of the structure of the spine is of paramount importance in the pursuit of optimal health and longevity.

In his book, “The Wellness Revolution” economist Paul Zane Pilzer predicts that wellness will become the next trillion-dollar industry. According to Pilzer, wellness is “not about a fad or trend, it’s about a new and infinite need of infusing itself into the way we eat, exercise, sleep, works, save, age, and almost every other aspect of our lives.”

Wellness incorporates all the elements for preventive health care — nutritious diet, aerobic conditioning, good posture, strength training, rest and periodic spinal adjustments. Wellness really involves all aspects of your life. Although millions of people have experienced relief from back and neck pain through chiropractic care, the focus and intent of chiropractic is far beyond the elimination of symptoms, but rather is in the correction of subluxations in order to ensure a properly functioning nervous system.

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Chiropractic Treatment of Neck Pain or Stiffness

In this world of high stress, long hours spent in front of the computer, and busy days, it seems like everyone has experienced some form of neck and shoulder pain/stiffness.  The good news is there is an answer to your pain.  Chiropractic is one of the most commonly used treatments for neck and shoulder pain.  Stress or bad posture cause the muscles in your neck and upper back to get tight.  Those muscles are the major muscles that attach to your cervical spine (your neck) and are responsible for moving your head and neck.  When those muscles are tight, the vertebrae in your cervical spine cannot move normally.  As a result, you start to develop pain and stiffness in your neck. Through chiropractic adjustments, normal motion can be restored to your neck.  This, in turn, helps to relax the tight muscles and eliminate the pain.  The doctor can also recommend simple exercises and stretches that will help to speed up the recovery process and return your posture and muscles to normal. These can be done long after treatment has stopped to prevent future flare-ups of neck pain.

Signs that you may need treatment for your neck pain include:

  • decreased range of motion (can’t turn far enough to look back when driving)
  • aching in the upper shoulder region
  • aching below the skull at the top of your neck
  • frequent headaches
  • forward head carriage (head protrudes forward from the body)
  • neck pain

If you have been suffering from neck and shoulder pain and want relief, you may want to consider seeing a chiropractor.  Chiropractic treatment for the cervical spine (neck) is both safe and effective.

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Chiropractic Treatment of Low Back Pain and Sciatica

Low back pain is one of the leading reasons why people seek chiropractic care. Numerous research studies have found that chiropractic care is one of the most effective forms of treating low back pain.  In 1990, the British Medical Research Council performed a 10-year government study finding that chiropractic care was twice as effective as medical care for the long-term relief from low back pain.  In 1991, an exhaustive study of chiropractic was conducted by neurologists, medical orthopedists, and chiropractors on behalf of the RAND Corporation, an internationally recognized non-profit research organization.  They found that spinal manipulation (as used by chiropractors) to be an effective and appropriate treatment for low back disorders. These researchers discovered that patients treated by manipulation improved significantly faster as compared to those treated by medical care or having no treatment at all.

So how exactly does chiropractic relieve back pain and sciatica (pain shooting down the back of the leg)?  Your lumbar spine (your low back) and pelvis are made up of a number of different bones.  Your lumbar spine is composed of vertebrae that sit on top of each other and are separated by a spongy material called discs.  Your pelvis is composed of your sacrum (your tailbone) and 2 pelvic bones that attach on either side of your sacrum.  Chiropractors believe that abnormal stress put on the spine and pelvic bones can cause those bones to become stuck in an abnormal position.  This can cause pressure to be put on the nerves in the low back causing the symptom of sciatica.  When the bones in the low back become out of their natural alignment, their joints cannot move the way they normally should.  As a result, muscle spasm, pain, and inflammation can develop in the area. By restoring the spinal vertebrae and pelvic bones to their normal position and motion through the use of chiropractic adjustments, pressure is released from the spinal nerves and the pain, inflammation, and muscle spasms decrease.

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What Do Chiropractors Treat?

When a new patient comes into my office, I explain to them that as a chiropractor I treat what is called a subluxation.  The first time I say that word, the look on their face is “you treat a what?”.  After I explain to them that it’s a vertebrae that is out of alignment and is irritating a nerve, they usually understand.  The word “subluxation” comes from the Latin words meaning “somewhat or slight” (sub) and “to dislocate” (luxate).  So the term vertebral subluxation means a slight dislocation or misalignment of the bones in the spine.

In reality, the subluxation is one of the main causes of pain and disease, and chiropractors are the only health professional that is trained to diagnose and treat them.  Chiropractors can correct the misaligned vertebrae and return it to its proper position.  This is what is called a chiropractic adjustment.  The chiropractic adjustment is a quick thrust that is applied to a vertebra, either by the chiropractor’s hands or an instrument, which corrects the bone’s position or movement.  The adjustments are able to relieve pressure and irritation on the nerves and restore joint mobility.

Now there are 5 components of a vertebral subluxation:

  1. Bone – The vertebra is either out of alignment, not moving correctly, or degenerating.  This can lead to a narrowing of the spaces where the nerves pass through, resulting in irritation or impingement of the nerve itself.  Chiropractors can determine this through things like x-rays or other tests.
  2. Nerve – There is a disruption in the normal flow of energy along the nerve fibers, causing the information traveling down the nerves to be distorted.  This results in the tissues that are fed by those nerves to not function correctly because the messages they are receiving from the brain are distorted.  Over time, this can lead to conditions, such as indigestion, asthma, headaches, bowel problems, and difficulties with other organ systems.  Some chiropractors use special instruments called nervoscopes that can detect signs of nerve irritation.
  3. Muscle – Muscles both affect and are affected by the subluxation.  Muscles hold the vertebrae in place, and they are innervated by the nerves that come out of the spaces between the vertebrae.  So a subluxation irritates a nerve, the irritated nerve causes its muscles to spasm, the spasming muscles can pull the vertebrae further out of alignment which causes the nerves to be more irritated…you end up with a vicious cycle.  Some chiropractors use surface EMG’s or other diagnostic tests to find such problems with muscles.
  4. Soft Tissue – The vertebral subluxations affect the surrounding tendons, ligaments, blood supply, and other tissues as the misaligned vertebrae pull on and compress the soft tissues.  Over time, the soft tissues can become stretched out or scarred, leaving the spine with either a permanent instability or restriction.
  5. Chemical – The vertebral subluxation can cause chemicals to be released, called kinins, which produce inflammation or swelling in the area.

As a result of these 5 components of the subluxation, there are ways that you can tell if you have one of these subluxations:

  1. You can have pain or tenderness in the area.
  2. You can have muscle spasms or muscle tightness.
  3. You can have a joint that does not move as well as it should, i.e. you can’t move your back/neck as well as you used to or as well one way compared to another.
  4. You can have swelling or puffiness around that area.
  5. You can feel warmth around the area, i.e. that part of your spine feels warmer than another part.

If you feel like you may be suffering from a vertebral subluxation, you are welcome to contact me for further information.  If you are not in my area, I would be more than willing to see if I could recommend someone who is.

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