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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Chiropractic Health Care?

Chiropractic is the largest form of alternative health care in the United States and third largest health care discipline after medicine and dentistry.

Many people associate "chiropractic" with low back problems. Although back problems do indeed constitute a large portion of a chiropractor's practice, chiropractic is defined as a health care service that emphasizes the structural integrity of the body, and concern for those health disorders related to the spinal column and nervous system.

With the exception of the cranial nerves, all the nerves that control your body pass through the spine. For example, the nerves that go to your arms and hands, thyroid gland, and neck muscles come from your cervical spine or your neck. The nerves going to your lungs, heart and stomach, shoulder and torso muscles come from your thoracic spine or mid back. The nerves that pass through your lumbar spine or low back go to your reproductive system, bladder, intestines and muscles of your legs and feet.

Daily stressors such as sports or auto injuries, work related stress or trauma, and lifestyles play a substantial role in determining the outcome of your health. These factors may create a malfunction in the spine, weaken a muscle or impair the function of an organ.

The main purpose of a chiropractic health care is to find the cause of the symptoms, and correct the problem by realigning the spine and other articulations of the body which may be causing discomfort.

To properly correct the problem your chiropractic treatment consists of a chiropractic adjustment to realign the spine and restore spinal integrity. Physiotherapy like ultrasound treatment and therapeutic massage may also be recommended to complement and accelerate the healing process which the chiropractic adjustments will initiate. An individually designed program of health care will be provided to fit your lifestyle.

By using the body's own regenerative powers, chiropractic takes people to a height of health they never thought possible.

Chiropractors believe that to help someone to be well, you work with the goal in mind to have a person become and stay healthy through purely natural methods. You work to remove the interference to proper body function, not to remove the symptom nor the damaged body part. For this reason, chiropractors do not use drugs or surgery. Chiropractors feel that drugs and surgery are only valuable as a last resort or in emergency situations. Thus the chiropractor quote: "Chiropractic first, Drugs second, and Surgery last."

One last thing, chiropractic works. Every time a patient responds, it is proof that health is the normal condition of the body and that disease is abnormal. Patients who respond to chiropractic do so only because an interference was removed and not because something was added (as in drugs) nor taken away (as in surgery). Thus, every chiropractic patient who gets well is a living example of what can occur without the use of damaging agents (drugs) or the destruction of body balance (surgery). Millions and millions of people suffer daily when chiropractic could be their cure. Therefore, our purpose is to reach as many people as possible.


What is a Chiropractic Adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is a specific and precisely executed manual force directed into a joint, with the objective to restore normal joint and nerve function.


What Causes the Noise of an Adjustment?

That's a loaded question, not all adjusting techniques chiropractors use produce the popping noise that we associate with "cracking your knuckles." In fact, some chiropractic adjusting techniques use little force and make no sound. Others may use adjusting tables with drop sections which make so much noise that any sound from the patient's spine can't be heard. Many chiropractors may and do use techniques that create the popping sound during a spinal 'release'.

The noise, what causes that? A few years ago the mystery was most likely solved. A British research team took X-ray movies of a person "popping" his knuckles and found that gas (80% carbon dioxide) rushes in to fill a partial vacuum created when the joint surfaces are slightly separated. It is this displacement of joint fluid which some believe to be the cause of the noise during an adjustment. It is NOT the sound of a joint "going back into place".


(References: Kirkaldy-Willis, WH. (ed.) Managing low-back pain (2nd edition), Baltimore and London; Williams and Wilkins, 1988. Imrie, D. and Barbuto, L., The back power approach. Toronto: Stoddard Publishing, 1988.)

What Can Joint Dysfunction Cause?

Joint dysfunction can affect the nerves, muscles and blood flow associated with the joint itself. It can compensate for its own lack of movement, thus making the joint work harder and become irritated and painful. Muscles in the affected area fatigue quickly, tighten up and eventually go into spasm. Blood supply to both the muscles and the joints is also adversely affected. However, the effects of spinal joint dysfunction can be extremely diverse and subtle. Because spinal joints are richly innervated by nerves, and these nerves have direct connections to the spinal cord and the major nerve pathways supplying every tissue and organ in the body, the effect of even a minor joint dysfunction may have a considerable impact on one's health.


What is the Difference Between a Chiropractic Adjustment and "Cracking" My Own Back or Neck?

A chiropractic adjustment is SPECIFIC to a particular joint, and is delivered at a SPECIFIC angle, with SPECIFIC force and depth, using a SPECIFIC method to have a SPECIFIC result. The adjustment is directed to only those joints which, upon careful and skilled examination, are found to have impaired movement of function (i.e.: hypomobile joints). A spinal joint may be "dysfunctional" in any of six different directions, or planes of motion. A chiropractic physician is expertly trained to diagnose exactly how a joint is restricted, and how the joint dysfunction is best corrected. What occurs when you "crack" your own back or neck is entirely different. You are merely forcing those joints that are EASIEST to move (i.e.: hypermobile joints) to do so, and to move in the direction that is already EASIEST for them to move in. You are having most likely NO effect on the joints that need help the most! Not only is this "self remedy" extremely non-specific, but in the long run it may also be harmful. Repeated "cracking" of hypermobile joints eventually leads to deterioration of those joints and arthritic changes.


Is it Bad to "Crack" Your Neck or Back a Lot?

This question is often asked of chiropractors because people associate the cracking or popping of one's neck with a chiropractic adjustment. The two are not the same thing. If a person has a desire to pop his neck or back it's usually because a part of his spine is fixated or jammed causing another part to move too much and pop a lot, sometimes by itself. It's the jammed or fixated part that must be properly adjusted by a chiropractor so the rest of the spinal column will stop being so movable and noisy.

When you crack or pop your neck you're relieving tension for a little while, but not giving yourself an adjustment. After a while the urge to pop or crack reappears because the cause of the spinal tension, the fixation or jammed vertebrae, has not been corrected.


Does a Chiropractor Have a Medical Degree?

No, chiropractors have chiropractic degrees from nationally accredited chiropractic colleges. The Chiropractic Education is similar to that of a medical doctor in some respects and different in others. The letters DC after a chiropractor's name stand for Doctor of Chiropractic.


If I Go to the Chiropractor, Do I Have to Go Back for Life?

This is a loaded question. The old adage of I had to go back 30 - 40 times is generally no longer true. It today's changing world of health care each patient is treated differently depending on their condition or injury. If this in not happening with your chiropractic care seek out a chiropractic physician who treats each individual as an individual not as a specific treatment plan (i.e. 20 - 40 visits no matter the cause).

Once people realize how beneficial chiropractic care is to their health and how energized they feel after their chiropractic visits they generally schedule their own return visits to maintain their high exceptions of health.


If I Go to the Chiropractor, Do I Have to Go Back for Life?

Of course, once is better than never. And sometimes a spinal problem may be due to nothing more than a slight spinal misalignment rather than long standing spinal nerve stress. In that case one visit may be all that's needed. But chiropractic care is more than a glorified aspirin. It's best to ask your chiropractor what your spinal care needs are.


Can a Person Who Had Back Surgery See a Chiropractor?

This is a loaded question. The old adage of I had to go back 30 - 40 times is generally no longer true. It today's changing world of health care each patient is treated differently depending on their condition or injury. If this in not happening with your chiropractic care seek out a chiropractic physician who treats each individual as an individual not as a specific treatment plan (i.e. 20 - 40 visits no matter the cause).

Once people realize how beneficial chiropractic care is to their health and how energized they feel after their chiropractic visits they generally schedule their own return visits to maintain their high exceptions of health.


Chiropractic Links

1. American Chiropractic Association Homepage

2. Chiropractic Online Today



 

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