Q: How old should a person be before receiving chiropractic care?
A: People of all ages are candidates for chiropractic treatment. Even babies can have subluxations, due to the rigors of birth. In general, it’s best to treat children’s subluxations early, as they interfere with nerves that control developing muscles and organs. How long would you let your children’s teeth go without brushing them? We advise that maintaining a structure as intricate and vital to the whole health of the organism as the spine should begin shortly after birth and continue for as long as you would like your spine to be healthy. A rapidly developing spine and all other bones and joints of the body consist of cartilage growth centers that the bone grows from. Abnormal stresses on these growth plates can cause the bones to develop abnormally. Remember that 65% of neural development occurs within the first year of life and that your child’s spine grows 50% of its length within the first year. With an early checkup, your chiropractor can detect any problems that exist and prevent problems from developing. Children who are colicky, get sick often, and have numerous ear infections should all be checked for subluxation. As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.
Q: I heard if you go to a chiropractor you have to go forever?
A: I heard if you don’t want your teeth to fall out you have to brush them everyday… forever! I heard if you want to keep your physical fitness you have to exercise 3 days a week… forever. I heard that if you want to stay healthy you have to eat right, 3 meals a day, forever. When do you stop maintaining your car? It’s a hunk of metal that will be thrown away in 10 years. You only have one human body. If you don’t take care of it, where will you live? Most people who don’t see chiropractors are used to seeing their medical doctor only 1 visit. They get a prescription and that is it. Chiropractic is not about taking drugs to alleviate symptoms. It is about the health and well being of the most important structure in your body-the spine and what it protects, your nervous system. Chiropractic patients usually choose to ‘get adjusted’ once a month forever because they have been in pain before and they much prefer the way they feel when they are adjusted.
Q: I know people who go to their chiropractor even though they don’t have symptoms. Why?
A: Do you wait for symptoms (i.e. a blown engine) before you change the oil in your car? Should you wait until a wall falls down before you check for termites? Should you wait until you have a heart attack to start eating properly? Let’s take a look at a high performance racecar; getting your spine adjusted periodically, once your problems have been fixed, is no different than a “Pit-Stop”. It keeps your body functioning properly and decreases your chances for cumulative injuries. The reason people go to their chiropractors when they don’t have symptoms is because they like not having symptoms. Unfortunately, some people’s idea of preventative care is “hoping” that they don’t wear out. It is much wiser to “ensure” that you don’t wear out by treating your body like a high performance racecar. Most people treat their bodies like they have another one in the bank!
Q: How will the adjustment help me?
A: Chiropractic adjustments help eliminate interference that prevents your body from communicating and thus healing itself. Misaligned vertebrae interfere with your nervous system, which affects organs and muscles throughout your body. Your chiropractor locates and corrects any misalignments, which can alleviate painful symptoms elsewhere in the spine and facilitates the body’s ability to function properly and heal itself.
Q: What makes the “crackling noise” when an adjustment is delivered?
A: While some people may get nervous about the “pop” that an adjustment can produce, the sound is not coming from the bones themselves. It’s coming from a lubricant called synovial fluid that’s found in every joint. That fluid contains dissolved gases. Shifting the joint with an adjustment into proper motion and alignment releases the built up pressure that has resulted from the joint being subluxated. This causes a shifting of the fluid and gasses in the joint to make a crackling noise.
Q: What is “Degenerative Disc Disease?”
A: It’s not a good name. It is not really a disease-it’s more of dis-ease. You see, your discs are like shock absorbers between each vertebra. If the vertebrae are incorrectly positioned (subluxated), for whatever reason, the motion segment (two or more vertebra) doesn’t move properly then that causes wear and tear on the disc. As abnormal forces apply undue stress on the disc it will eventually wear out or “bulge” or “herniate”. Here is a good analogy to help you understand-If a tire on your car was misaligned for 6 months and when you compared it to the others it was worn unevenly you wouldn’t assume that the tire “caught” the wear. It’s no different than a disc wearing abnormally due to a misaligned spine. You don’t ‘catch’ Degenerative Disc Disease. Have you ever noticed how some people shrink with age? A big cause of this is disc degeneration. Think about it…you have 24 discs, some as much as ½ inch thick. Some of us may have up to a foot of our height attributed to our discs! If several of them are wearing abnormally you can get shorter. (Reason number 32 to have a Chiropractor: Don’t shrink with age!.)
Q: How does chiropractic care help pregnant women?
A: Pregnancy places additional weight and stress on women’s bodies. Chiropractic treatment can help relieve pregnancy-related low back, leg, neck and shoulder blade pain. It may also reduce incidence of headache and nausea. It has also been shown that women under chiropractic care while pregnant have significantly less labor time and the chances of complications with delivery. For all you Mom’s out there, doesn’t that sound good?
Q: Is it true that chiropractors do not prescribe medication or perform surgery?
A: Yes. Chiropractors don’t prescribe medication or perform invasive procedures. They believe the body has the ability to heal itself, and therefore focus on providing it with the right elements for self-restoration. This makes chiropractic one of the safest of all treatments. If your doctor of chiropractic identifies a problem that should require immediate medical attention you will be referred out to the proper provider. Your health and safety are always our main concern.
Q: Should I go to a chiropractor if I feel fine?
A: Should you rotate your tires before they blow out? Should you brush and floss your teeth only when they have gotten bad enough to hurt? Should you lube your bicycle chain before it gets rusty? In fact, that last example is very similar to what happens to joints once they lose their proper motion patterns, its called spinal degeneration or osteoarthritis.
Your chiropractor can recognize and detect problem areas in your spine before they develop into conditions or symptoms. Chiropractic adjustments help to maintain or support a healthy spine and nervous system. Maintenance or wellness spinal care programs, which may include advice on posture, nutrition and exercise, can effectively prevent pain.
Regular checkups will also ensure that small stresses on the spine don’t interfere with the nervous system’s function or become major problems down the line (i.e. back surgery or spinal decay). This type of program of prevention actually optimizes the day-to-day function of your body. Most people take much better care of their teeth than they do their spine, in fact, most people spend more money on their hair than they do on their spine! If your teeth wear out, they can be replaced with artificial ones that will allow you to function (chew your food), as well as the original teeth and give you a nice smile. If your spine wears out, there is no solution…it’s wheelchair or walking cane time.
Because your spine directly influences the function of your nervous system, spinal decay permanently damages the nerves and spinal cord. Nearly everyone flosses and brushes their teeth even though their teeth don’t hurt. Spinal adjustments are like flossing the spine. Adjustments break up the plaque that develops along the spinal joints when those joints are subluxated. Lifetime care of the spine should be a priority!
Q: How Safe is Chiropractic Care?
A: Chiropractic is recognized as one of the safest types of health care in the world
Numerous studies, including those funded by governments, universities and nonprofit research institutions, have proven it to be a safe and successful primary therapy for neuromusculoskeletal conditions — a therapy that is much safer, in fact, than most medical procedures used to treat the same conditions. Chiropractic is also widely used as a complementary mode of care for a variety of other conditions and diseases and to promote overall health, function and well-being.
Q: Is there a connection between stroke and chiropractic treatment?
A: Would you think twice about cradling the phone on your shoulder, checking your blind spot while backing into a parking space or getting your hair shampooed at a salon? The risk of stroke from chiropractic care is no greater than it is from any of these everyday activities.
The source of public concern in this regard is a condition known as vertebral artery syndrome (VAS), which occurs when sudden head movements disrupt the blood flow in the vertebral artery, possibly leading to stroke. As the above examples illustrate, the risk of this complication arising from upper cervical (or neck) manipulation by a chiropractor is extremely remote. According to the 1996 RAND report, “The Appropriateness of Manipulation and Mobilization of the Cervical Spine,” only one out of every one million chiropractic patients experiences VAS. Other analysis of studies over the last several decades put the risk at between one in a million and one and five million adjustments. To put it another way, you are five to twenty-five times more likely to get hit by lightning than to suffer VAS at the hands of a chiropractor.
Chiropractic is the safest of all types of medical care. Insurance carriers that provide malpractice coverage keep very close statistics on the risk to people receiving different medical procedures. The insurance companies then “rate” the amount of risk that different medical specialties and procedures have for people receiving that form of care. They then charge the doctors that put people at the highest risk the highest premiums. Chiropractors pay by far the lowest premiums for malpractice insurance of any type of medical provider. In fact, most chiropractors pay less for malpractice coverage than the average person pays for automobile insurance.
Up to 75% of chiropractic patients receive cervical manipulation as part of their individual chiropractic care. It may be performed as part of your care for total spinal health and wellness, or for specific causes such as muscle tension and stiffness, headache or injury. After a detailed history and examination, if there is any indication that you would be at risk, your chiropractor will not include a neck adjustment in your treatment.
Q: How does the safety of chiropractic compare to other medical procedures?
A: In comparison to allopathic medicine, which uses drugs and surgery as an integral part of treatment, chiropractic presents far less risk. Consider, for example, that in the United States an estimated 140,000 people die each year from drug-related reactions. And the risk of death due to gastrointestinal complications from taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen is 400 times greater that the complication rate for people who receive cervical manipulation, while the mortality rate for people who undergo cervical spine surgery is 7,000 times higher.
Human error is another factor that tilts the safety balance in chiropractic’s favor. In the United States, it is estimated that up to 98,000 Americans die yearly from medical errors — a doctor accidentally making the wrong incision, a nurse administering the wrong medication, and so on.
But with all forms of treatment, whether allopathic or alternative, any risks, however slight, should not be ignored. While the methods used by chiropractors have proven to be safe in almost all cases, it is a constant concern for chiropractors to evaluate their patients to determine if treatment will cause an adverse reaction.
Q: Can chiropractic adjustment damage your joints?
A: The answer is no. In fact the evidence shows clearly that chiropractic manipulation can actually prevent arthritis by maintaining joint health. It does this by restoring the proper motion to the joint. Medical textbooks will tell you that it is loss of motion of a joint that causes damage and arthritis to the joint. Motion is life when it comes to joint health. Restoring proper function to the joint provides the cartilage and disc (in the case of the spine), with improved blood supply. Better blood supply means better nourishment and the ability to dispose of waste products. What’s more, most chiropractic adjustments are painless. Often, the adjustment may feel good and can provide immediate relief from stiffness or tension.
Q: Is it safe to adjust myself?
A: Concern has been raised over the safety of people who try to adjust themselves, by cracking their own knuckles, for example. While people might have the right idea by trying to relieve pressure on the joints, only chiropractors can ensure an adjustment is performed safely, and in the right direction without possibly weakening or causing harmful friction to surrounding joint structures. The best advice: Don’t try to do it yourself. Seek the expertise of your chiropractor.
Q: What is a subluxation?
A: If your shoulder comes out of the socket; that’s a Dis-location. Let’s break down the word subluxation; Sub: meaning ‘less than’ and luxation: meaning ‘dislocation’, so a subluxation is: less than a dislocation. It’s when a bone or joint is misaligned within the socket.
Q: What causes a subluxation?
A: Watch a two year old for 3 hours-how many times do they fall down? Go observe an elementary recess playground-any chance that a child to may play too hard and slightly misalign one of the 24 movable vertebra? Accidents, injuries, improper lifting or body mechanics and inherited spinal weaknesses are common causes of subluxations. Other causes include prolonged sitting, poor sleeping habits, poor posture, obesity, slips and falls, car accidents, stress, a sedentary lifestyle, sports injuries, internal organ dysfunction and not enough rest or sleep. A vertebra can easily get misaligned and, unknowingly to the patient, put slight pressure on a nerve. Since you can’t feel your nerve roots you don’t even know its there. Its sort of like stepping gently on a garden hose…whatever is on the other end doesn’t get its life force, in this case water. If it were a garden the flowers or plants would slowly wilt or even die. If it’s your body the effected tissue, whether a muscle or and organ, gets deprived of its life force, nerve impulses and can slowly become dis-eased. Often, damage is accumulated slowly without symptoms. That’s why some refer to subluxations as “The Silent killer”.
Q: How is a subluxation corrected?
A: Very carefully:) In all seriousness, chiropractors treat subluxations with a hands-on manual therapy technique called a spinal adjustment, a procedure that involves applying specific directed thrusts to return vertebrae (the bones that compose the spine and protect the spinal cord) to their proper position and motion. Pretty much, its just like the word implies: the definition of ‘adjustment’ is 1) To fine tune or 2) to make right.
Q: Do chiropractors refer patients to other specialists?
A: Like other doctors, chiropractors belong to a large and growing network of health-care professionals and make referrals for patients when necessary. Chiropractors are well educated to recognize risk factors and signs of disease and will not hesitate to make a referral when it’s in a patient’s best interest.
Q: Does the adjustment hurt?
A: Most chiropractic adjustments are painless; in fact, most of the time the adjustment feels good and provides immediate relief. If you’ve had a recent injury, however, adjustments can irritate inflamed tissue and cause minor discomfort. It’s during these times that we employ gentle adjunctive therapies in order to prepare your body to get adjusted. I call this phase Pre-hab. It’s when you are hurting so much you aren’t ready for rehab. Using ice after any irritation or acute injury is usually recommended. Some people also experience odd sensations in their muscles or extremities after adjustments. This is a normal reaction to the relieving of pressure on nerves and is usually no cause for concern. It is thought by some scientists to be an increase in circulation once the irritation is removed from the nerve.