Chiropractic 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. More
The vertebra of the spine protects the central nervous system. Because the spinal column is moveable, it is also susceptible to various stresses and forces, which can cause them to lose their proper structural position. These minor misalignments of the spine, known as “vertebral subluxations” inhibit normal spinal movement, which causes nerve interference resulting in decreased nervous system function, improper healing and accelerated aging. Subluxations also alter the optimal structure of the spine, which weakens it and increases degeneration. Vertebral subluxations are often referred to as the “Silent Killer” because they can be present for long periods without any evidence of pain or symptoms. This is similar to a cavity eating away at a tooth. Any force that the human body cannot adapt to can cause a vertebral subluxation. Such examples include auto accidents, work related injuries, stress, sports, and repetitive movements even the birth process.
Vertebral subluxations are devastating to a person’s health and longevity and are well documented by leading health authorities. According to Chang Ha Suh, Ph.D., “Subluxation is very real. We have documented it to the extent that no one can dispute its existence. Vertebral subluxations change the entire health of the body by causing structural dysfunction of the spine and nerve interference. The weight of a dime on a spinal nerve will reduce nerve transmission by as much as sixty percent.” Dr. James Woodersee, a neurosurgeon, also stated, “Subluxations of vertebra occur in all parts of the spine and in all degrees. When the dislocation is so slight as to not affect the spinal cord, it will still produce disturbances in the spinal nerves passing off from the foramina.” More
Spinal misalignments cause many health problems because vertebrae that are not aligned properly can irritate important nerves and restrict their effectiveness. The nerves coming out of the upper back innervate the lungs, and if these nerves aren’t functioning optimally they may make the lungs more sensitive to asthma triggers. In fact, there are a number of studies that show that chiropractic correction of these spinal misalignments help improve the symptoms of asthma.
Dr. Ray Hayek conducted a trial at 16 treatment centers in Australia, involving 420 patients, in an effort to find out what effects spinal manipulation has on symptoms such as depression and anxiety, general health status, and the levels of immunity. He tested the concentrations of both an immunoglobulin (IgA) and an immunosuppressant (cortisol) to gauge his results. Dr. Hayek was trying to prove that different forms of manual therapy (including massage) improve symptoms and lower cortisol levels in asthma patients.
Dr. Hayek reported that only the patient group that underwent spinal manipulation displayed significant improvement in asthma symptoms. Conducting only interviews at the treatment centers or being monitored at home did not yield these improvements. In addition, patients actually undergoing spinal manipulation displayed dramatic increases of IgA and decreases of cortisol even after asthma treatment had ceased, suggesting that the treatments affected the patients’ long-term health. These patients were expected to ward off subsequent asthmatic attacks.
These changes not only suggest that the effects of spinal manipulation are more far-reaching than commonly believed, but that they may be more long-term as well. The gain in health achieved after spinal manipulations were performed is expected to reduce the incidence and severity of pathogenic invasion of the airways. There would be less of a risk under these circumstances of experiencing the symptoms of asthma.
Another study was conducted by the National University Hospital (Rigshospitalet) in Copenhagen, Denmark. The purpose of their randomized patient- and observer-blinded cross-over trial was to evaluate the efficacy of chiropractic treatment in the management of chronic asthma when combined with pharmaceutical maintenance therapy. Patients were randomized to receive either active chiropractic spinal manipulative treatment or sham chiropractic spinal manipulative treatment twice weekly for 4 weeks, and then crossed over to the alternative treatment for another 4 weeks. During the course of the study, objective lung function did not change. However, during the study, non-specific bronchial hyperreactivity (n-BR) improved by 36% and patient-rated asthma severity decreased by 34% compared with the baseline values.
In another study conducted in 1996 by the Michigan Chiropractic Council (MCC), a panel of doctors tested the effectiveness of chiropractic care on children with asthma. The study, which took place during May and June of 1996, examined the impact of chiropractic care on asthmatic patients from birth to age 17. “After 30 days of chiropractic health care, patients averaged only one attack, whereas prior to the study they were experiencing more than four attacks,” said MCC Dr. Bob Graham, who directed the study. “Medications, which can be costly, were decreased by nearly 70 percent. Finally, patient satisfaction was rated 8.5 on a scale of 10.”
According to Richard Pistolese, research assistant for the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, “Based upon information currently available, chiropractic care represents a safe non-pharmacological health care approach, that may be associated with a decrease in asthma-related impairment, reduced respiratory effort, and a decrease incidence of asthma attacks.” Pistolese goes further to say, “The correction of vertebral subluxation is a non-invasive procedure, which could reduce or eliminate the need for medication, and potentially ease the severity of the asthmatic condition.”
Based on these studies and results other patients have gotten with chiropractic care, if you or someone you love suffers from asthma, you may want to try chiropractic care.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- You can have pain or tenderness in the area.
- You can have muscle spasms or muscle tightness.
- 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.
- You can have swelling or puffiness around that area.
- 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. More
Chiropractors are physicians who treat disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems through the use of chiropractic adjustments to manipulate the spine. Manipulation of the spine and other joints in the body has actually been around for a long time. They discovered writings in China and Greece dating between 2700 B.C. and 1500 B.C. that mention manipulation of the spine and lower extremities to ease low back pain. Even Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician who lived from 460 to 357 B.C., published a text discussing the importance of spinal manipulation. In one of his writings he stated, “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases”. Evidence of manual manipulation of the body has been found among the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Babylon, Syria, Japan, the Incas, Mayans and Native Americans.
Modern-day chiropractic began in 1895 when Daniel David Palmer, a self-educated teacher and healer, performed the first spinal manipulation on a patient. Through spinal manipulation, he was able to restore the hearing of Harvey Lillard, a man who had been deaf for 17 years. Two years later, in 1897, Dr. Palmer went on to begin the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, which continues to train doctors of chiropractic. Today, chiropractic is the third largest area of medicine, next to dentistry, and is the largest Complementary and Alternative Medicine health profession.
Chiropractors diagnose and treat disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. They use traditional diagnostic testing methods (such as x-rays and MRIs) along with specific chiropractic techniques that involve manipulation of the joints of the body. Chiropractors also offer nutrition and healthy lifestyle counseling. Chiropractors elect not to prescribe medications, and they do not perform surgery; however, many chiropractors work closely with medical doctors and will refer a patient when necessary.
Chiropractors believe that all bodily functions are connected, and the healing process involves the entire body. They also believe a healthy nervous system, particularly the spine, is the key to a healthy body. The spinal cord carries information from the brain to the rest of the body. Therefore, it is responsible for all bodily functions including voluntary movements and involuntary ones, such as breathing. Disorders of the spine can affect how the body functions because these disorders affect this transfer of information. Chiropractors also believe the body is self-maintaining and self-healing as long as it is functioning properly. Currently as you sit here reading this post your heart is beating at a steady rate and controlling your blood pressure, your lungs are taking in enough oxygen to keep you awake, and your stomach is digesting that snack you just had without you having to think about it. That’s because your body is a self-regulating machine. Disease happens when something in your body prevents it from self-regulating.
Chiropractors believe there are 5 components to health. The first component is a healthy diet. In order to function properly, your body needs proper nutrition. The second component is exercise. In order to be strong and stable your muscles need to have exercise. The third component is sleep. Your body requires sleep in order to restore and regenerate. The fourth component is a positive mental attitude or spiritual life. They find time and time again that those people who are happier and who have a relationship with God are always healthier. And the fifth component is a properly functioning nervous system. You can have the best diet, exercise, rest and positive mental attitude, but if your nervous system is not working right, you cannot express health at 100%. I’ll give you an example of what I’m talking about. Take a 20 year old man who’s on a basketball court playing basketball with his friends and he falls over and dies from a heart attack. Diet, he had, exercise he certainly had, positive mental attitude we’ll assume he had, and rest he had (what 20 year old doesn’t sleep well). The only component we didn’t address was the nervous system. A lot of times there is a re-entry problem in the heart. It’s an electrical disturbance that is controlled by, you guessed it, the nervous system. That’s just one example. As a chiropractor I believe the nervous system is the most important factor. I know this because you can eat as well as you can and have all of this in check, but without a properly functioning nervous system you won’t be able to fight off sickness, illness and disease. More