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These are some of the most common frequently asked questions asked by those unfamiliar with chiropractic care.
Chiropractic is a complementary and alternative health care profession which focuses on diagnosing, treating, and preventing mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system and their effects on the nervous system and general health. Chiropractors believe biomechanical joint restrictions "misalignments", or "subluxations" of the spine interfere with the body's self-regulating mechanisms, primarily by the nervous system. Chiropractors do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery.
Both chiropractic and mainstream medicine hold that much of the body is controlled by nerve impulses sent to and from the brain along the spinal cord. Whether the brain commanding the foot to move, the foot signaling the brain that it is in pain, or even a simple reflex, the spinal cord is involved. Outgoing impulses from the brain pass down the spinal cord and exit through the appropriate spinal nerve branch held between the vertebrae on either side of the spinal cord. There are 31 pairs of spinal nerves that emerge from the spinal cord; all of which are housed by vertebrae. If the free movement of the vertebrae is restricted (subluxated) chiropractic doctors believe that the spinal nerve can be "irritated" and therefore nerve flow can be compromised. This often results in splinting or guarding of the muscles surrounding the involved spinal segment. The increased muscle tension creates localized stiffness which in turn, diminishes circulation to the irritated spinal joint complex (subluxation). Chiropractic manipulation releases the joint fixation allowing the spinal nerve to more efficiently relay messages to and from the brain as well as between various levels of the spine and the organs and muscle supplied by those nerves. By aligning the vertebrae and removing restrictions on the spinal nerves, chiropractic treatment allows the spinal nerves to more effectively relay messages to and from the brain as well as enhancing the health of the involved area.
A chiropractic adjustment is a manipulation allowing uninterrupted nerve flow to the particular muscle, tissue or organ that a nerve is associated with. Everyday our bodies are put through many physical stresses that we take for granted and our spinal column takes the brunt of it. We can clear that pressure and increase nerve flow to all parts of the body with an adjustment. It just makes anatomical and biomechanical sense.
The popping sound that you sometimes hear during an adjustment is the release of carbon dioxide and nitrogen gas within the vertebral joint. It is like opening a soda can, the adjustment creates a negative pressure. You do not need this sound, however, for a successful adjustment. Your bones are not rubbing together or breaking when you hear that sound. Scientifically, it is called "cavitation". You also witness it when buildings release pressure during barometric changes.
This usually varies depending on the the individuals nature of the complaint. Severity of problems differ, resulting in differing care plans. In acute cases a patient will usually come in 2-3 times the first two weeks. If someone is progressing at a regular pace the appointments get further and further apart. Eventually most patients benefit from being be put on a maintenance program which consists of coming in to get your spine "checked" to see if an adjustment is necessary. Maintenance care is similar to getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist. About every six months or so one schedules a cleaning to prevent any future problems and to maintain healthy teeth and gums. It is the same concept with chiropractic. We want people to come in every so often just to help the body maintain its optimum state of wellness.
It is recommended that your child get care at the earliest possible age for preventative care as opposed to coming in later when the problems have already started. Children are never too young to receive an adjustment. Chiropractors know different techniques which enable them to treat a child at any age. Chiropractic can help kids. Many scientific studies have demonstrated that chiropractic has been shown to help with of birth trauma, ear infections, bed-wetting, scoliosis, and asthma. A child's spine is very impressionable. Falling and bumping into things we take for granted, but these are really "microtraumas" to the spine. Getting adjusted at a young age can help prevent future problems.
Absolutely, most chiropractors are educated and trained to adjust virtually all joints of the body. We help patients on a daily basis who come into our office with complaints of knee, hip, shoulder, hand, wrist and ankle problems, just to name a few. We often get remarkable results with treating these areas. It is not unusual for back and neck problems to be associated with "extremity" problems.
During your first visit you will be asked to fill out our new patient forms which are also downloadable off our website. You will then be seen by a chiropractor for an evaluation. A complete history will be taken. Orthopedic and/or neurological tests might be performed in addition to a basic chiropractic exam depending on your complaint at the time. X-rays may or may not be warranted at this time. This would depend on the nature of complaint that you have. You would then receive chiropractic manipulation, if it is appropriate by the history and exam results.