10 Things you need to know about Chiropractic:
1. Pain is the last symptom of dysfunction.
A patient’s back is often restricted or unstable for months or years before it presents as a problem and they arrive at a chiropractic clinic. Also, the absence of pain does not necessarily mean health! While medication may be needed, if you take a pill and the pain goes away, the dysfunction that caused it is still usually there. Muscle, ligament, and joint injuries often occur as a result of long-term biomechanical dysfunction, sometimes from past injuries, making the area more susceptible to future injury.
2. Athletes use chiropractors to stay well and perform better, not just for the occasional injury.
Athletes choose chiropractors because we are movement specialists. Chiropractors were spotted all over the Olympic coverage last year, and top athletes such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, Tom Brady, Evander Holyfield, Aaron Rodgers, and Arnold Schwarzenegger have all been proud patients of chiropractors. These days it’s far more common than not for major athletes and sports teams to keep chiropractors nearby to help prevent injuries, speed injury recovery, improve balance and coordination, and give them that competitive edge.
3. The body does not perform as a cluster of separate mechanisms, but rather a cascade of events that all starts with proper control by the nervous system.
The nerves that travel from your spinal cord exit the vertebrae and control every organ, tissue, and function in your body. If the spine gets misaligned it can put pressure on these nerves causing them to not function at 100%, leading to symptoms. This disruption in biomechanical integrity combined with altered physiological function is what chiropractors call a subluxation.
4. Doctors don’t do the healing.
Chiropractors will never ‘fix’ your back. The body has innate intelligence and is a powerful self-healing organism. What chiropractors are able to do is correct misalignments in the spine which restore proper motion in the joints, which then relieves tension on the nerves and muscles and allows your body to do the healing that it is inherently designed to do. We assess to find which spinal levels are causing the dysfunction, and we adjust it to restore proper nerve flow so the nervous system may work as efficiently and effectively as possible.
5. Chiropractic is for all ages.
Many seniors aren’t aware of the benefits of chiropractic care, which can help them not only with pain relief, but also increase range of motion, balance and coordination, and decrease joint degeneration. There’s no patient too young for chiropractic either! Chiropractors check infant’s moments after birth for misalignments of the upper vertebrae that may occur as a result of the birthing process. In addition to supporting overall health and well-being, parents also take their children to chiropractors to encourage healthy brain and nervous system development, to assist with colic, asthma, allergies, bed-wetting and sleeping problems, and to assist with behavioral disorders.
6. We know about more than your backbone!
This surprises many people who had no idea that chiropractors are trained to give advice on nutrition, fitness, ergonomics and lifestyle, screen for conditions unrelated to the musculoskeletal system and refer out to other practitioners when necessary. Chiropractors are also able to complete specialties in other areas such as pediatrics, sports rehabilitation, neurology, clinical nutrition, and addictions and compulsive disorders.
7. Successful chiropractic patients accept responsibility.
In most cases, one doesn’t acquire back pain over night, and it’s not going to go away over night. If a weak core from years of sitting at your desk is to blame for the additional stress on your joints, I would definitely expect an adjustment to provide relief, but once the condition is no longer exacerbated, I would most definitely prescribe some exercises for you to do at home. I might also suggest we evaluate your nutrition if I suspect an inflammatory diet may be wiring you for pain. It’s up to you, as the patient, to take this advice on board and try to make the necessary changes. It’s a team effort!
8. Chiropractic can strengthen your immune system and cause you to get sick less often.
Studies have indicated that adjustments consistently reduce the production of pro-inflammatory mediators associated with tissue damage and pain, and may also enhance the production of immunoregulatory complexes important for healthy immune system defense. As far back as the deadly flu pandemic of 1917-1918, chiropractors noticed that their patients seemed to have fewer fatalities than among the general population and were able to publish their work in an osteopathic journal since no scholarly journals were accepting chiropractic data. The estimated death rate among patients of conventional medical care in the U.S. was estimated at 5 to 6 percent while the fatality rate among influenza cases receiving spinal adjustments was estimated at 0.25%.
9. “I heard I’ll have to go forever” is a myth.
You may want to go to your chiropractor forever once you’ve started because you didn’t realize how great getting adjusted is, but your doctor won’t expect you to come for continuous care without symptoms. Generally, if you come in with pain, once you’ve been treated for your initial complaint, you’ll be scheduled for a few more appointments to make sure proper motion is being maintained, then it will be recommended you return occasionally to be checked just like you would go to the dentist to get checked for tartar buildup and cavities. Of course, many people still choose to see their chiropractor monthly for wellness and maintenance care.
10. Adjustments don’t hurt.
There is no bone snapping or warrior-style pulling heads off spinal columns! The neck adjustment some chiropractors use causes anticipation for many new patients, but is actually much more gentle than they imagined, and involves a quick, direct thrust to a specific vertebra. The sound an adjustment makes is called a cavitation and is only space being created within the joint causing gasses to be released from the joint capsule, which creates the popping or cracking noise. Also, chiropractic adjustments will not wear out your joints, as some imagine because they have been warned not to “crack their knuckles” for this reason in the past. Adjustments, unlike “knuckle cracking” or having your friend walk on you while you lay on the carpet, are applied specifically to improve the motion of your joints and limit the small dysfunctions that over time can lead to arthritis. Most people after an adjustment describe the feeling as being “lighter”, having greater range of motion, and being able to stand up taller.