Chiropractic is Safe and Effective
Practice of Chiropractic is based on sound scientific principles.
The existence of the nervous system as the primary control mechanism of the body is an undisputed scientific fact. Its relationship with the spine is the focus of the practice of chiropractic.
When vertebrae of the spine become misaligned through trauma or repetitive injury, two major consequences will result: 1) range of motion becomes limited, and 2) spinal nerves emerging from the spinal cord are compromised. Chiropractors use the term subluxation to describe such disruptions.
Interruption of nerve flow can eventually lead to pain, disability, and an overall decrease in the quality of life. Conversely, the removal of that interference has been shown to have significant, lasting health benefits. Through the adjustment of subluxations, the doctor of chiropractic endeavors to restore normal nerve expression. The body is then able to respond appropriately to any imbalance in the system, thus relieving symptoms and restoring health.
Chiropractic is safe and effective.
Chiropractic care is non-invasive, and therefore the body’s response is far more predictable than its reactions to drug treatments or surgical procedures.
Why Children Need Chiropractic Care
There are many reasons why children receive chiropractic care. Many spinal problems seen in adults begin as early as birth. Since significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns checked. Even so called ‘natural birthing’ methods can stress a developing spine. The resulting irritation to the nervous system caused by spinal and cranial misalignment can be the cause of many newborn health complaints. Colic, breathing problems, nursing difficulties, sleep disturbances, allergic reactions can often be traced to a nervous system dysfunction.
In the infant, learning to hold up the head, sit, crawl and walk are all activities that affect spinal alignment and are important times to have a child checked by a Doctor of Chiropractic.
As the child grows and begins to participate in regular childhood activities like skating or riding a bike, small yet significant spinal misalignments (subluxations) may occur. If neglected, the injuries during this period of rapid growth may lead to more serious problems later in life. Subtle traumas will affect the future development of the spine leading to impaired nervous system function. An interference to the nervous system will adversely affect the body’s ability to function at its best.
One of the most common reason parents seeks care for their child is trauma; a fall or an injury of some sort. These misalignments may or may not result in immediate pain or symptoms. Regular chiropractic checkups can identify potential spinal injury from these traumas, make the correction early in life and help avoid many of the health complaints seen later in adults. Proper spinal hygiene is an important key to better health
Another sought out reason for care is the resolution is a particular symptom or condition. Parents seek care for conditions such as colic, ear infections, so called “growing pains” asthma, allergies and headaches because they have heard from other parents that chiropractic care helps.
It is important to understand that the doctor of chiropractic does not diagnose or treat conditions or diseases. The expertise of the chiropractor is in checking the child’s spine for misalignments that impair the overall body function. The bones of the spine, that protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord is an extension of the brain and carries information from the brain to the body parts and back to the brain again. A spine out of alignment can interfere with the nerves’ ability to transmit this vital information.
The nervous system controls and coordinates the function of all the systems in the body: circulatory, respiratory, digestive, hormonal, eliminative and immune system. Any aspect of health may be impaired with nerve interference. The chiropractic adjustment restores nerve system function allowing the body the ability to express a greater state of health and well-being.
The doctor of chiropractic will take a case history and perform a chiropractic exam to determine if spinal misalignments exist. Chiropractic adjusting procedures are modified to fit a child’s size, weight, and unique spinal condition. They are both gentle and specific to the child’s developing spinal structures. Most parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustment and look forward to subsequent visits.
It All Starts With Your Feet
Protect Your Foundation
Imagine you are a building. The architectural structure of the building is important because it determines if the building will hold up to stress. The same is true for the human body. A balanced structure means a reduced chance of injury and increased endurance. An improvement in your overall structure also improves your athletic performance. It’s clear how important it is to take care of your structure – especially your feet.
Your feet are the foundation for your entire body. They must be able to properly support your body; allow you to stand, walk, run, and jump; and absorb damaging shock that enters your body every time your heel hits the ground. Every athlete deals with structural defects, many of which start in the feet.
Pain tells you to consult your doctor, team physician or trainer. But foot imbalance or dysfunction does not always cause pain just in your feet – the pain may transfer to your lower legs, knees, hips or spine instead. Why? Your body is like a large, interconnected chain; movement at one of your joints affects movement at other joints. If your feet have imbalances or weaknesses, they travel all the way up your body.
If you don’t think you have any foot imbalances, think again. Eighty percent of people develop some type of foot imbalance by the age of 20, and virtually everyone has foot imbalances by the age of 40. After years of standing, walking, and wearing shoes, the arches of your feet gradually weaken and are not able to provide the necessary support for your body.
Pronation, Supination and Proprioception
Pronation (inward rolling of the foot, particularly the heel and arch, as the heel contacts the ground) and supination (the opposite of pronation – outward rolling of the foot as the heel hits the ground) are normal foot movements that occur during walking and running. But when your foot excessively pronates or supinates, it puts the stability of your entire body at risk. These conditions can lead to other forms of an unstable posture, including uneven shoulder heights, one leg that is shorter than the other, and tilting in your hips.
Your athletic performance is directly determined by the status and coordination of your proprioception system. Proprioception is defined as “sensing the motion and position of the body.” Special nerve endings in the tissues surrounding your muscles and bones interact with your nervous system – the center for all of your mental activity – to coordinate your body’s movements, posture and balance. Three regions of the body contain the most proprioceptive nerve endings: your feet, your spine and your neck.
If you have weaknesses or imbalances in any one of these areas, you cannot function at your best. It’s important to take care of your feet and your spine because interference in these areas can negatively affect the coordination of your proprioception system. Your athletic performance depends a great deal on this system – how smoothly and quickly your body can respond to position, speed and balance changes.
Doctors of chiropractic can provide you with structural management. What’s that? Structural management evaluates the weaknesses and imbalances in your body so that your doctor can develop a program to address them. Most sports injuries are mechanical or structural in nature, so it makes sense to evaluate and manage your body’s structure.
Every individual’s body is unique. Every individual also has structural defects. A structural defect is a fault or flaw in your body’s structure. If you are an athlete, you have probably had a prior injury or have hereditary weaknesses, conditioning problems, physical and emotional stresses, dietary problems, or equipment deficiencies – all of which contribute to structural defects.
In order to effectively manage your structure, your chiropractor must first examine your structure. They will probably visually evaluate you first, making note of important information about your posture, such as your shoulder and hip heights, internal and external rotations of your knees, and abnormal spinal curves. Then they will examine all the arches of your feet. Your doctor also will conduct range-of-motion tests on all of your joints, muscle tests, leg-length measurements, and a standing X-ray of your overall body structure.
From examining your structure, your chiropractor learns important information that will be used to educate you about your specific imbalances and weaknesses. Because structural imbalances and weaknesses can increase your risk of injury, they should be addressed immediately with treatment, support and exercises.
Your Doctor Recommends …
Once your doctor has evaluated your body’s structure and identified any imbalances or weaknesses, they can correct the problems by developing a program that combines specific chiropractic adjustments, custom-made orthotics and a personalized conditioning program. This program usually will be based on three things: your individual needs, your fitness goals, and how well you progress with the exercises your doctor has recommended.
Chiropractic adjustments of the spine and extremities have a direct and immediate effect on optimizing your body’s proprioceptive responses. Adjustments will help improve your body’s overall balance and coordination. They can help keep your body correctly aligned, improving your posture. They also can help relieve pain. The purpose of adjustments is to re-educate the joints and other supportive areas of your body. This will enhance the mobility of your joints and increase the amount of stress your body can tolerate before an injury occurs.
If your doctor determines that you have specific structural defects, you should be fitted for flexible, custom-made orthotics. What are orthotics? Essentially, they’re shoe inserts – made specifically with your feet in mind. By supporting and balancing all three of your foot’s natural arches, orthotics work with your chiropractic care to help stabilize your spine and hold your adjustments longer. They support, move and protect your body from the damaging shock that occurs when your heel strikes the ground with each step. Orthotics help control the angle and timing of pronation or supination, but do not restrict or eliminate your normal foot motion. By controlling movement in your feet, flexible orthotics encourage normal reactions all the way up your body.
Custom-made orthotics can benefit any athlete. Many studies have shown that flexible orthotics help reduce fatigue and have a positive effect on stride length and hip rotation. They help properly position your body to improve its balance and proprioceptive abilities, helping to enhance your athletic performance.
This unique approach to troubleshooting problems before an injury occurs is what separates doctors of chiropractic from all of the other sports medicine providers who treat only the injured athlete. Chiropractors can help predict certain injuries and correct structural defects, giving athletes new and exciting possibilities for success in the sports world.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are subluxations and what causes them?
The word “subluxation” comes from the Latin words meaning “to dislocate” (luxate) and “somewhat or slightly” (sub). A subluxation means a slight dislocation (misalignment) or biomechanical malfunctioning of the vertebrae (bones of the spine). These disturbances may irritate nerve roots and blood vessels which branch off from the spinal cord between each of the vertebrae. This irritation may cause pain and dysfunction in muscle, lymphatic and organ tissue as well as imbalance in the normal body processes.
Subluxations are caused by a fall, injury, sudden jar, trauma, or sometimes an inherited spinal weakness can displace a vertebra. Other causes include improper sleeping conditions or habits, poor posture, occupational hazards, incorrect lifting practices, obesity, lack of rest and exercise, and stress. The word “subluxation” comes from the Latin words meaning “to dislocate” (luxate) and “somewhat or slightly” (sub). A subluxation means a slight dislocation (misalignment) or biomechanical malfunctioning of the vertebrae (bones of the spine). These disturbances may irritate nerve roots and blood vessels which branch off from the spinal cord between each of the vertebrae. This irritation may cause pain and dysfunction in muscle, lymphatic and organ tissue as well as imbalance in the normal body processes.
How are subluxations corrected?
Doctors of Chiropractic are specialists in neuromusculoskeletal conditions. They are trained to restore the misaligned vertebrae to their proper position in the spinal column. They do this manually, utilizing the chiropractic procedure known as “spinal adjustment.” Your chiropractor, in most cases, will use his or her hands in applying corrective pressure to the spine in a specific direction and location. The manual force or thrust helps restore the alignment and mobility of the vertebrae. In some cases, the chiropractor may use instrumentation to detect subluxations and adjust the spine.
Under normal circumstances, chiropractic adjustments are painless. In cases of recent trauma, such as whiplash, mild discomfort may be experienced due to inflammation. It is also common to feel a brief sensation in the extremities immediately following an adjustment due to the sudden decompression of the affected nerve root.
Is regular care necessary?
Regular chiropractic care may be necessary to correct spinal subluxations to help maintain sound health and fitness. Your spine is under constant strain during waking hours. Improper lifting techniques, poor posture, accidents, falls and bumps, and other causes can contribute to spinal strain. Timely adjustments can help restore the neuromusculoskeletal integrity of the spine to normalize the bodily equilibrium and increase resistance.
Even if you feel fine, chiropractic care can help your body maintain its required level of health and fitness. Your chiropractor can recommend a preventive spinal-care program and advise you on correct posture, dietary information and back exercises. Regular spinal checkups can help detect and prevent spinal stress due to subluxations.
How old should one be before beginning?
Chiropractic patients range in years from birth to old age. Regardless of age, the vertebrae can become misaligned. For example, the birth process may cause trauma to the neck and spine. Left uncorrected, the vertebral subluxation may disturb the delicate spinal cord and nerves which control the youngster’s muscles and organs. In some cases, an uncorrected subluxation may lead to a deformity of the spinal column. An early chiropractic checkup may detect many spinal problems while they are still easily correctable.
How will the adjustment help me?
Chiropractic adjustments by themselves do not actually heal the body. When any of the 24 moveable spinal vertebrae become misaligned, a basic imbalance or disruption can occur in the nervous and blood vascular systems, which may contribute to stress in the body. Chiropractic adjustments help eliminate that imbalance or disruption so that the body can function at its true potential.
It’s All About Anatomy
The Spinal Column
Chiropractors are often called “back doctors.” Actually, they have nothing to do with the back itself! They work on the spinal column — one of the most important and complex components of the human nervous system.
The Nervous System
The human body is a remarkable thing. At any given moment, it performs hundreds of thousands of individual functions — circulating and purifying blood, turning fuel into energy, maintaining proper internal temperature, taking in oxygen, and all the other operations which keep us alive and healthy.
Guided by the knowledge our bodies are born with — our Innate Intelligence — every cell and organ sends and receives messages to and from the brain.
In fact, the brain acts like a central communication depot, processing millions of messages every second. These messages, relayed as electrical impulses, are sent out over nerves the way phone calls travel along telephone wires.
A thick braid formed by billions of these nerves is attached to the brain and extends down from the base of the skull. This is the spinal cord. Smaller braids branch off from the cord. These braids divide again and again into tiny nerve fibers and fill the entire body, going to each cell, organ and tissue. Every human being has an estimated 15 billion nerve cells. All send and receive messages as nerve impulses through the spinal cord.
Protecting the Spinal Cord
It’s clear that the brain and spinal cord are critical to the survival and health of the individual. Protecting them is absolutely vital. That’s why the brain is encased in a “shell” of solid bone — the skull.
But what about the spinal cord? How does the body protect it? Obviously, a solid shell wouldn’t work. We wouldn’t be able to bend, and the individual nerves wouldn’t be able to branch out to other parts of the body. The answer is the spinal column.
The spinal column is an elaborate “tunnel” of small, interlocking bones slightly curved in the shape of the letter “S.” It’s flexible enough to allow the body to twist and bend, but sturdy enough to protect the spinal cord.
The Vertebral Column
he spinal column is made up of three sections of vertebrae: the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar.
The cervical spine is what most people call their neck. There are seven vertebrae here, labeled C1 through C7. The first, C-1, is also known as the Atlas. The second, C-2, is sometimes called the Axis.
The thoracic spine is located in the middle of the back, and is made up of 12 vertebrae. Just below is the lumbar spine with its 5 vertebrae.
At the end of the spinal column are two sets of fused vertebrae, called the sacrum and the coccyx, or tailbone.
The vertebrae are separated and cushioned by thin pads of tough, resilient fiber known as inter-vertebral discs. There is a small opening between each vertebra. Through this opening, nerves branch off and travel to different parts of the body.
When the vertebrae are in their proper positions, the nerves pass through without a problem. Impulses race along the nerve fibers to and from the brain relaying information and instructions without interference. When a vertebra is jarred out of its proper alignment, however, the messages are distorted. The body can no longer function at 100% of its capacity. That’s where chiropractic comes in.
History of Chiropractic
History of Chiropractic Care
The roots of chiropractic care can be traced all the way back to the beginning of recorded time. Writings from China and Greece written in 2700 B.C. and 1500 B.C. mention spinal manipulation and the maneuvering of the lower extremities to ease low back pain. Hippocrates, the Greek physician, who lived from 460 to 357 B.C., also published texts detailing the importance of chiropractic care. In one of his writings he declares, “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases”.
In the United States, the practice of spinal manipulation began gaining momentum in the late nineteenth century. In 1895, Daniel David Palmer founded the Chiropractic profession in Davenport, Iowa. Palmer was well read in medical journals of his time and had great knowledge of the developments that were occurring throughout the world regarding anatomy and physiology. In 1897, Daniel David Palmer went on to begin the Palmer School of Chiropractic, which has continued to be one of the most prominent chiropractic colleges in the nation.
Throughout the twentieth century, doctors of chiropractic gained legal recognition in all fifty states. A continuing recognition and respect for the chiropractic profession in the United States has led to growing support for chiropractic care all over the world. The research that has emerged from ” around the world” has yielded incredibly influential results, which have changed, shaped and molded perceptions of chiropractic care. The report, Chiropractic in New Zealand published in 1979 strongly supported the efficacy of chiropractic care and elicited medical cooperation in conjunction with chiropractic care. The 1993 Manga study published in Canada investigated the cost effectiveness of chiropractic care. The results of this study concluded that chiropractic care would save hundreds of millions of dollars annually with regard to work disability payments and direct health care costs.
Doctors of chiropractic have become pioneers in the field of non-invasive care promoting science-based approaches to a variety of ailments. A continuing dedication to chiropractic research could lead to even more discoveries in preventing and combating maladies in future years.
Education of Doctors of Chiropractic
Doctors of Chiropractic must complete five years at an accredited chiropractic college. The complete curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience. Approximately 555 hours are devoted to learning about adjustive techniques and spinal analysis in colleges of chiropractic. In medical schools, training to become proficient in manipulation is generally not required of, or offered to, students. The Council on Chiropractic Education requires that students have 90 hours of undergraduate courses with science as the focus.
Those intending to become doctors of chiropractic must also pass the national board exam and all exams required by the state in which the individual wishes to practice. The individual must also meet all individual state licensing requirements in order to become a doctor of chiropractic.
An individual studying to become a doctor of chiropractic receives an education in both the basic and clinical sciences and in related health subjects. The intention of the basic chiropractic curriculum is to provide an in-depth understanding of the structure and function of the human body in health and disease. The educational program includes training in the basic medical sciences, including anatomy with human dissection, physiology, and biochemistry. Thorough training is also obtained in differential diagnosis, radiology and therapeutic techniques. This means, a doctor of chiropractic can both diagnose and treat patients, which separates them from non-physician status providers, like physical therapists. According to the Council on Chiropractic Education DCs are trained as Primary care Providers.
What is a Doctor of Chiropractic?
The proper title for a doctor of chiropractic is “doctor” as they are considered physicians under Medicare and in the overwhelming majority of states. The professional credentials abbreviation ” D.C.” means doctor of chiropractic. ACA also advocates in its Policies on Public Health that DCs may be referred to as (chiropractic) physicians as well.
Scope of Practice
Doctors of Chiropractic frequently treat individuals with neuromusculoskeletal complaints, such as headaches, joint pain, neck pain, low back pain and sciatica. Chiropractors also treat patients with osteoarthritis, spinal disk conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, sprains, and strains. However, the scope of conditions that Doctors of Chiropractic manage or provide care for is not limited to neuromusculoskeletal disorders. Chiropractors have the training to treat a variety of non-neuromusculoskeletal conditions such as: allergies, asthma, digestive disorders, otitis media (non-suppurative) and other disorders as new research is developed.
A variety of techniques, treatment and procedure are used to restore healing which will be the topic of future education releases.
Back Pain Statistics
Let’s look at the numbers
Although doctors of chiropractic care for more than just back pain, many patients visit chiropractors looking for relief from this pervasive condition.
Thirty-one million Americans have low back pain at any given time. On- half of all working Americans admit to having back symptoms each year. One third of all Americans over age 18 had a back problem in the past five years severe enough for them to seek professional help. And the cost of this care is estimated to be a staggering $50 Billion yearly–and that’s just for the more easily identified costs!
These are just some of the astounding facts about Americans and their miserable backs! Is there any wonder why some experts estimate that as many as 80% of all of us will experience a back problem at some time in our lives?
Because back problems are this common it’s probably going to happen to you too! Shouldn’t you find out what to do about it before it happens rather than after? Why wait until you’re hurting to learn about your treatment options?
When you’re hurting you may not give this important decision the time and attention it needs to make the best choice. Here are the facts about spinal adjustments as a treatment for back problems:
The spinal adjustment is one of several established forms of treatment used for back problems. Used primarily by Doctors of Chiropractic for the last century, it has been largely ignored by most others in the health care community until recently.
Now, with today’s growing emphasis on treatment and cost effectiveness, this type of treatment is receiving much more widespread attention. In fact, after an extensive study of all currently available care for low back problems, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research–a federal government research organization–recommended that low back pain suffers choose the most conservative care first. And it recommended spinal adjustments as the ONLY safe and effective, DRUGLESS form of initial professional treatment for acute low back problems in adults!
The chiropractic adjustment has been most extensively used by Americans for the last one hundred years. Satisfied chiropractic patients already know that DC’s are uniquely trained and experienced in diagnosing back problems and are the doctors most skilled in using this type of treatment for back pain and related disorders.