Chiropractors identify and treat "subluxations" which is a joint (and their supportive soft tissues) that are stuck or fixated in improper positions. These dysfunctional joints are a result of a lifetime of injuries that can start at birth or may have been caused by the slow but steady accumulation of daily wear and tear, poor posture and job related ergonomics.
Joints that are not moving properly result in nerve irritation often causing joint pain and decreased range of motion. Once this happens the nerve can no longer properly communicate with the brain.
The best way to understand how subluxations of the spine can affect the body is by considering a scenario. First you must understand that each vertebra in your spine has a nerve with a destination point. The nerves in your neck supply feeling to your arms and hands. Those in the upper back go to your heart and lungs allowing them to work properly. The nerves in your lower back go to your digestive tract and other organs.
So let's assume that the second thoracic vertebra in your upper back is out of its normal position causing nerve pressure. Let us also assume that the pressure is great enough to decrease 50 percent of the impulse to your heart. At what percentage would your heart be working? If you guessed 50 percent you would be correct! So if your heart only functions half as well as it should do you think that the rest of your body is functioning at its fullest? The correct answer is no. Therefore, chiropractors are actually removing nerve interference by adjusting the spine. This helps your body heal itself in the most natural way!
I was diagnosed with a slipped disc, can chiropractic help me?
"Slipped Disc" is perhaps one of the most used misnomers in all of healthcare. Disc's rarely slip. In fact, the disc connection to the vertebrae above and below is as strong as the bone itself. So, what really happens?
The disc is a circle of cartilage between each vertebra in the spine that acts as both a shock absorber and a shock distributor. Imagine what would happen to the stack of bony vertebra that make up the spine without the cushioning of the discs. Discs depend on water to maintain their height and perform efficiently. When we're young, discs have their own circulation that helps keep them hydrated. As we age, this circulation ends and the spine must move so that water can be drawn into the discs. As dehydration occurs, the discs are more at risk for cracks, fissures and loss of height.
Chiropractic treatments have a long history of successfully providing conservative care for disc conditions, which means it is non-surgical and drugless. In the treatment of low back disc problems, most experts agree that conservative care should be tried before surgery is considered, except in severe cases. Daily stressors in life can cause misalignments in the spine, called vertebral subluxations. The subluxations can result in inadequate brain stimulation, which can cause problems throughout the body including developmental problems. The only source of constant stimulation to the brain comes from the spine and from the postural muscles. They constantly barrage the brain and try to adjust to the force of gravity. Therefore, chiropractic adjustments to the spine can open up channels to the brain and improve the nerve flow to all parts of the body, even parts of the brain that are not functioning properly and are delayed in their development causing learning disabilities.
If I start going to the Chiropractor do I always have to go?
This is a question often asked by new patients. The simple answer to the question is no, but let me explain why routine maintenance care of your spine is important. Most people if asked, do you go to the dentist for cleanings and check-ups would answer yes. They would also agree to having had a yearly physical from their primary care physician. These same people would agree that daily exercise is good for their cardiovascular health. Therefore, periodic spinal adjustments helps to slow the degeneration process and reduces the risk of nerve interference.
Vertebral subluxations or spinal misalignments can occur at various times throughout the year. Each person is different depending on their age and health status. This is why we do not create long term treatment programs at our office. We give each person guidelines and suggestions and allow them to make the decisions about their spinal health. You only get one spine and nervous system and it is important to take care of it!