Answers to 25 common questions about chiropractic
The following information was kindly provided by William Esteb.
© Patient Media, Inc. Used with permission Chiropractic brochure
Chiropractic works because you are a self-healing, self-regulating organism controlled by your nervous system. Millions of instructions flow from your brain, down the spinal cord, and out to every organ and tissue. Signals sent back to the brain confirm if your body is working right. Improper motion or position of the moving bones of the spine called a “subluxation” can interfere with this vital exchange by irritating nerves and compromising the function of affected organs and tissues. Specific spinal adjustments can help improve mind/body communications. Health often returns with improved nervous system control of the body.Between each pair of spinal bones is a disc. Its fibrous outer ring holds in a jelly-like material. This soft center serves as a “ball bearing” for joint movement. Because of the way a disc attaches to the spinal bones above and below it, it can’t actually “slip”. However, a disc can bulge. It can tear. It can herniate. It can thin. It can dry out. And it can collapse. But it can’t slip.A pinched nerve is rare. It is more likely that an adjacent spinal bone irritates, stretches, rubs or chafes a nerve. These “subluxations” distort the nerve messages sent between the brain and the body. This can produce unhealthy alterations to the organs and tissues connected by the affected nerves.There are three basic causes of subluxations. Physical causes could include slips and falls, accidents, repetitive motions and improper lifting. Emotions, such as grief, anger and fear can cause subluxations. Chemical causes could include alcohol, drugs, pollution and poor diet.You can have subluxations and not even know it. Like the early stages of tooth decay or cancer, subluxations can be present before warning signs appear. The results of a thorough examination can show the location and severity of subluxations you may have.Sometimes. Today’s hectic lifestyles are a constant source of 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, you need to see a chiropractic doctor!Chiropractic adjustments usually involve a quick thrust that helps add motion to spinal joints that aren’t moving right. Some methods use the doctor’s hands, an instrument, a special table, the force of gravity, or extremely light contacts. There are many ways to adjust the spine, each adapted to an individual’s needs and comfort levels..Yes. A New Zealand government study found that adjustments are “remarkably safe”. By avoiding drugs and risky surgery, chiropractic care enjoys an excellent track record. A thorough exam can identify the rare person for whom chiropractic care might be unsuited. Compare the statistics. Adjustments are safer than taking an over-the-counter pain reliever.No. Only the spinal joints that are “locked up” receive adjustments. This allows weakened muscles and ligaments to stabilize and heal.
Can the bone move too much?
Highly unlikely. A chiropractic adjustment is special. It has the right amount of energy, delivered to an exact spot, at a precise angle, at just the right time. The intent is to get a “stuck” spinal joint moving again, helping reduce nerve interference. Years of training, practice and experience make chiropractic adjustments specific and safe.Lubricating fluids separate the bones of each spinal joint. Some adjusting methods can produce a sound when the gas and fluids in the joint shift. The sound is interesting, but isn’t a guide to the quality or value of the adjustment.No. Each patient’s spine and care plan is unique. With 24 moving bones in the spine (that can each move in seven different directions!) we see a wide variety of spinal patterns. Each patient’s care is custom tailored for their age, condition and health goals. You are unique and your care should be too.No. Some people can make their joints “pop” but that’s not an adjustment! Worse, damage can occur by mobilising a joint with weakened muscles and ligaments. Adjustments are specific and take years to master. Even your chiropractic doctor must consult a colleague to benefit from chiropractic care.The number of adjustments varies with each patient and their individual health goals. Many patients sense progress within a week or two of frequent visits. Visits become less often as your spine stabilises. In chronic cases, complete healing can take months or even years.Even today’s “natural” childbirth methods can affect an infant’s spine. Preliminary studies suggested that colic, unusual crying, poor appetite, ear infections or erratic sleeping habits can be signs of spinal distress. Paediatric adjustments are gentle. Knowing exactly where to adjust, the doctor applies no more pressure than you’d use to test the ripeness of a tomato.
Later, learning to walk, ride a bicycle, and other childhood activities can cause spinal problems. While a bandage and some comforting words can help a skinned knee, the unseen damage to the child’s spine is the unique domain of a chiropractic doctor.
Many childhood health complaints that are brushed off as “growing pains” can often be traced to the spine. Regular chiropractic checkups can identify these problems and help avoid many of the health complaints seen later in adults. Most parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and seem healthier than other children.More and more people are consulting chiropractic doctors, especially in their later years. With growing concerns about over-medication and the side effects of combining various prescription drugs, safe, natural chiropractic care is growing in popularity.
Restoring better spinal function can help improve mobility, vitality, endurance, and appetite. Many patients report improvements with arthritic symptoms and other chronic ailments often falsely attributed to aging. Your chiropractor will modify their adjusting technique for maximum comfort and results.Yes. Rest assured that your chiropractic doctor will avoid the surgically modified areas of your spine. Surgery often causes instability above or below the involved level. These areas will be the focus of your chiropractic care.Of course. When developing a care plan, your chiropractic doctor considers the unique circumstances of each patient. There are many ways to adjust the spine. The method selected will be best suited to your age, size and health.Some patients experience almost instant relief. Others discover it can take many weeks or months. Many factors can affect the healing process. How long have you had your problem? Are you keeping your appointments? Are you getting the proper rest, exercise and nutrition? Do you smoke? Are you in otherwise good condition? Within a short period of time most patients sense enough progress to fully complete their doctor’s recommendations.After patients get the relief they want, many choose to continue with some type of periodic care. These patients show up for their visits feeling great. These visits can help support the final stages of healing and help detect and resolve new problems before they become serious. Our job is to offer the very best care and your job is to decide how much of it you want.No. Chiropractic doctors don’t dispense drugs. Because we rely on natural methods, we can show you how to use ice to control painful symptoms. When properly applied, ice can have an analgesic effect without the side effects of pain medications.That’s changing. Years of prejudice and bias are giving way to research showing the benefits of chiropractic care. Attitudes are slow to change. However, as the public demands alternatives to drugs and surgery, more and more medical practitioners are referring their patients to chiropractors. Many NZCA chiropractors enjoy good relations with local doctors, to their patients’ benefit.Your health affects everything you do and everyone you know. It is your most valuable possession. Yet, each of us is free to place a different value on our health. It’s convenient when an insurance company or third party helps pay the bill. But be careful! Don’t allow the profit motive of a huge corporation to make the decision for you.Patient results vary. Many report improved spinal curves and the total resumption of their life. Those who have neglected or delayed seeking care often see slower progress. After improvement, many patients discover that periodic chiropractic checkups can help avoid a relapse.What if chiropractic doesn’t work?
If we’re unable to find and correct the cause of your particular health problem, we will refer to other specialists who may be able to help. Your health is our only goal.