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How Does Chiropractic Work?
Chiropractic treatments work by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile — or restricted in their movement — as a result of a tissue injury. Injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain, and diminished function. Manipulation, or adjustment of the affected joint and tissues, restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, and allows tissues to heal and improve ranges of motion. Chiropractic also helps to restore normal tone to muscles and improves posture.
Joints with diminished function send abnormal signals to the muscles that cross them, creating weakness and tightness in those muscles. This cycle of abnormal joint motion and associated muscle dysfunction is known as the SUBLUXATION COMPLEX and can have profound effects on activities of daily living and competitive performance.
Do I Have A Slipped Disc?
The disc is a soft, gristly 'shock absorber' that lives between two adjacent spinal vertebrae. The disc has a fibrous outer ring which holds in a jelly-like material, not unlike a jelly doughnut. 'Slipped disc' is the common way to refer to a wide variety of disc problems. However, a disc doesn't 'slip', because of the way it attaches to the vertebrae above and below. A disc may bulge, tear, herniate (the 'jelly comes out of the doughnut'), or degenerate (thin/wear out/dry out, or collapse).
Do I have a Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve is somewhat rare. It is more likely that an adjacent vertebra or one of the spinal joints irritates, stretches or chafes a nerve. These subluxations distort the nerve messages sent between the brain and the body, resulting in tight muscles, arm, or leg pain. Sometimes even unhealthy alterations to the organs and tissues connected by the affected nerves can result.
How Do You Get Subluxations?
There are at least three common causes of subluxations. Physical causes include slips and falls, accidents, repetitive motions, improper lifting, poor postural habits, unsupported sitting, and sleeping on your stomach. Emotions such as grief, anger and fear can cause subluxations. Chemical causes may include alcohol or drug abuse, pollution, and toxic chemicals such as nicotine and pesticides. More recently, poor nutritional habits such as too much caffeine, too many refined carbohydrates, too little high-quality protein and too many 'bad' fats have been linked to subluxation complex and a general poor health status. Of course, like in so many aspects of life and disease or illness, defining one cause for any ailment can be nearly impossible. It is more likely that some combination of many biomechanical, biochemical and psychosocial stressors combined to produce a patient's problem. It is your Doctor's job to help resolve the "Why's and How's'' of your current problem and define for you the lifestyle changes necessary to prevent recurrence.
How Do I Know If I Have a Subluxation?
You can have subluxations and not know it. As with the early stages of tooth decay, subluxations can be present before warning signs like pain or discomfort appear. The results of a thorough chiropractic examination can show the location and severity of subluxations you may have. Warning signs you may observe suggesting subluxation include one shoulder higher than the other; head, shoulders or pelvis tipped or rotated; and/or the head and neck carried forward of the shoulders.
Can Subluxations Clear Up On Their Own?
Yes. Today's hectic lifestyles are a constant contributor to subluxations. Fortunately, our bodies have the ability to self-correct many of these problems as we bend and stretch, or when we sleep at night. When subluxations don't resolve spontaneously or through our own efforts, then you need to see a Chiropractor.
What Is An Adjustment?
Chiropractic adjustments usually involve a quick thrust that helps restore normal motion to any joints that aren't moving fully. Chiropractors are highly trained to evaluate both spinal and extremity joints for intrinsic joint play motions that are normal for any given joint. When those joint play motions become restricted, there are profound effects on joint ranges of motion, muscle tone, strength and flexibility of the muscles that cross the joint, and biomechanical compensations above and below the affected joint. There are many ways to perform the adjustments to the spine or the extremities to both remove joint play restrictions and increase joint ranges of motion. Most adjustments are performed manually, using the Doctor's hands. Sometimes a small instrument, a moveable table, or traction can be used as an aide to correct subluxations. The key to 'adjusting' any joint is proper patient positioning so that the least amount of force necessary to correct the subluxation. Most Chiropractic Adjustments are gentle in nature, though occasionally more force is necessary to restore normal movement to a very restricted joint.
Are Chiropractic Adjustments Safe?
Yes. Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal conditions. Although chiropractic has an excellent safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects. By avoiding drugs and surgery, chiropractic care has an excellent track record for safety. A thorough exam can identify the rare person for whom chiropractic care might not be suited. Chiroractic adjustments are considered safer than taking an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Will Adjustments Make My Spine Too Loose?
No. Only the specific spinal joints that are 'locked up' or restricted from their normal motions receive adjustments. This allows weakened muscles and ligaments to stabilize and heal.
Can The Bones Move Too Much?
Highly unlikely. A Chiropractic adjustment uses the right amount of force, delivered to a precise location, at the correct angle, and at just the right moment when the patient's positioning and breathing allow for the least amount of thrust to effect a release of the joint. The intent is to get a 'stuck' joint moving again, helping reduce muscle tightness and nerve irritation. Years of training, practice and experience make Chiropractic adjustments specific and safe.
What Makes The Sound During The Adjustment?
Lubricating fluids are found in nearly all joints. The fluid provides nourishment to the cartilage lining the joint, acts as a shock absorber and allows the bone ends to glide freely within the joint itself. Some adjusting methods can produce a sound when the joint is opened further than the joint has recently moved during normal activities. This causes the dissolved gases in the joint fluid to come out of solution, creating a gas bubble within the joint space. It is much like opening a bottle of champagne or removing a suction cup. The sound is interesting, but is not a guide to the quality or value of an adjustment.