Resource LibraryWe answer the most common questions about Chiropractic
What Is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a health profession concerned with diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health.
Chiropractic physicians incorporate manual treatments, including spinal adjustment and other joint and soft tissue manipulation to correct the impairment and disability related to mechanical joint dysfunction.
Chiropractic services are used most often to treat musculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.
How Can Chiropractic Help Me?
The chiropractic philosophy and approach emphasizes restoring the normal function of the nervous system, the skeletal system, and the soft tissues (muscles the ligaments) through the use of natural methods. Chiropractic physicians recognize that symptoms like pain, swelling, and muscle spasm are signs of altered function and use the symptoms as information to determine the cause of an individual’s problem. In contrast, prescription drugs are used in attempt to quiet symptoms, enabling the cause of the problem to progress. In certain cases prescription medications are important, but their use sometimes causes side effects that must be treated with more drugs.
Chiropractic takes a different approach then standard medicine in treating and preventing mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine. The concept of chiropractic is: Human body has a powerful self-healing ability, the body’s function and structure(mainly the spine) are related, and the goal of chiropractic therapy is to normalize this relationship.
Chiropractic physicians may assess patients through clinical examination, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging and other diagnostic interventions to determine when chiropractic treatment is appropriate or when it is not. The chiropractic approach may include strategic applications of ice or heat, topical ointment, various methods of physical therapy, stretching and exercise. Above all, chiropractic physicians work to determine the cause of pain, muscle tension, and/or swelling and will interrupt the cycles by removing nerve irritation and restoring normal body function and balance.
It is our office policy to refer to an appropriate healthcare provider when chiropractic care is not suitable for the patient’s condition or the condition warrants co-management in conjunction with other healthcare providers.
Is Chiropractic Safe?
Manipulation of the spine has one of the better safety records among the variety of treatments. For many patients it is the most appropriate way to relieve the pain. Recent article on spinal manipulation, published in the Journal of Manipulative and
Physiologic Therapeutics, reported no adverse events from spinal manipulation to patients with symptomatic, MRI confirmed, lumbar disc herniations.
In another study, involving MRI confirmed cervical disc herniations, patients treated with spinal manipulation therapy where significantly more likely to report relevant improvement compared with cervical nerve root injections. There were no adverse events for patients in either treatment group.
In another study, designed to assess the long-term benefits of medication, needle acupuncture, and spinal manipulation as exclusive standardized treatment regimen in patients with chronic (> 13 weeks) spinal pain syndromes, the authors found spinal manipulation may be the only treatment modality that provide broad and significant long-term effect.
Sciatica is a painful condition caused by an irritation of the sciatic nerve. It usually begins as an acute pain in the lower back and then extends down the back of either leg. This type of pain can be worsen with long periods of sitting or standing. The soft pulpy disc, between each spinal bone, is often involved. A disc bulge, herniation or rupture can put pressure on the nearby nerves causing swelling and inflammation. Patients often experience pain with coughing, sneezing or other movements. Pain pills or muscle relaxers do not corrected nerve compression caused by the offending disc pressure. Fortunately chiropractic treatment can be very helpful in improving spinal biomechanics and mobility thus reducing nerve pressure to the sciatic nerve roots.
Researchers at the Royal University Hospital in Canada have used chiropractic manipulation to treat patients with disc herniation and sciatica for several years. Commenting on their over 90% success rate, they state that they found chiropractic manipulation to be both safe and effective for their patients. All patients with sciatica should give spinal manipulation a fair try before considering spinal surgery. Many will be glad they did.
About Slipped Disc
A disc is a jelly-like fluid filled sac that acts as a cushion between the bones of your spine. A “slipped disc” is a common way to referred to a wide variety of disc problems. While a disc cannot “slip”, it can bulge. It can tear. It can herniate. It can become thin. It can dry out and change its height, causing change in posture and function. But IT CAN NOT slip. Chiropractic physicians work to relieve pressure on the disc by improving joint function, muscle strength and posture, and reduce the risks of future episodes.
About Lower Back Pain
Nearly 90% of the population at one time or another suffers from lower back pain. It is one of the most common reasons for people to miss work. The cause of back pain is often undetectable. When a causes is known however, it is most often in relation to having nerve irritation, injury to the muscle, injury to the nerves of the spine, damaged or ruptured discs or arthritis.
Chiropractic physicians are musculoskeletal specialists with specific focus on the relationship between impaired movement of the spine and the nervous system and the effect of this on health. After identifying the root cause of the problem the chiropractic physician will employ manual treatments, including spinal adjustment and other joint and soft tissue manipulation to correct the problem. Most people will suffer from low back pain at sometime, number of them will develop chronic, ongoing pain. The best bet in dealing with this problem is doing just what medical research has found: manipulation of the spine works best.
About Sports Injuries
Each year millions of individuals compete in sporting events across the country. Sports injuries can be avoided to some extent, however there is always the chance an jury will be sustained as a result of an accident, such as a fall onto an outstretched arm. Other, may involve repetitive overhead actions, such as swimming or tennis. Another reason for injury may be a muscular imbalance where one group of muscles is stronger than another, i.e: an athlete has strong chest muscles, but week rotator cuff muscle which can put them at risk of injury.
While prevention is key to limit damage, the proper treatment for a sports injury is also important in the recovery process. For some injuries, chiropractic treatments can help speed the recovery process while offering comfort and reducing pain, improve function and allow the athlete to lead an active lifestyle without any problems.
Chiropractic treatment is beneficial for athletes competing at all levels. More and more professional athletes are turning into chiropractic care to treat sports injuries and alleviate the pain associated with these injuries. Chiropractic adjustments are used in conjunction with physical therapy to improve the athlete’s range of motion, restore proper joint mobility, reduce inflammation, relieve pain and improve strength. Education, stretching and exercise strategies that will aid in the recovery and prevent future injuries from occurring is implemented.
Whiplash injuries are all too common it today’s society. More alarming than the fact that many whiplash injuries are occurring is the tendency for those injuries to cause ongoing suffering. Approximately 1 in 8 whiplash victims develop chronic, ongoing neck pain. While whiplash occurs in the neck area most frequently, it may also affect other areas of the spine, such as in the low back. Others, maybe bruises, chest and rib injuries, upper and lower extremities and various soft tissue injuries. In many instances, symptoms of these injuries will not occur immediately. Instead they may take up to 72 hours to manifest themselves. Some of the common symptoms of a whiplash/ car accident injuries include: neck pain, headaches, visual problems, dizziness, back pain, muscle aches and pains, minor fractures.
The standard treatment of whiplash injuries has been rest, wearing a neck collar and medication. Researchers comparing spinal manipulation to the standard approach demonstrated that neck collar, rest and medication actually prolong the recovery of many whiplash injuries while patients receiving treatment such as spinal manipulation recover more quickly.
Chiropractic physician can effectively evaluate the tissues that are at risk in a whiplash type of injury including bones, nerves, muscles, tendons, ligaments and discs. Early intervention, following whiplash injuries, have the least chance of sustaining permanent symptoms. Patients who begin treatment 30 or more days after an accident can take up to three times longer to fully recover from a whiplash injury then those who begin treatment immediately.
About Neck Pain
Neck pain is it common and expensive problem in our society. About 1 in 5 persons permanently disabled from spinal injuries have such a disability because of neck pain. Biomechanical disorders of the bony structures of the neck related to stress, strains and sprains of the surrounding soft tissues are the most common cause of stiffness, loss of mobility and neck pain. The chiropractic approach to neck pain is to pay special attention to the structures and function of the spine, and its effect on the nervous system. The manual procedures utilized by this office help reduce joint dysfunction and ease the pressure on the spinal nerve roots. With improved structure and function, neck pain often diminishes or totally disappears, without addictive drugs or harmful side effects.
About Disc Injuries
Discs are the soft but strong cushions that separate the bones in your spine and absorb shock as you move. Repeated strain over time, an injury, or sudden, forceful movements can damage disc and irritate nerves, causing pain, numbness, or tingling in your back, legs, neck, and arms. When healthy, disc allow normal turning and bending. If a spinal joint loses its normal motion or position the health of the disc can deteriorate. Trauma or injury can cause disc to bulge, herniate, or rupture. The nucleus pushes through the annulus and presses the nearby nerves causing severe pain.
Common symptoms associated with damaged discs are: muscle weakness, pain or increase in symptoms when you cough, sneeze or strain while having a bowel movement. Pain in the shoulder, arm and hand. Pain shooting down to your buttocks and thigh and the back of your leg.
As we get older discs slowly dry out and degenerate. By age 30, about 30% of the population has some type of disc degeneration, and this number increases to almost 80% by age 60. While disc degeneration itself may not be painful, it disturbs the motion of the vertebra which sits on the degenerated disc often leading to back or neck pain.
Chiropractic approach is to correct the mechanical dysfunction of the joint to help restore better motion and relieve irritation on your spinal nerves, and reduce pain. Besides reducing disc bulging, better spinal function can help decrease inflammation and begin the slow process of healing in the surrounding soft tissues. If needed your chiropractic physician will consult with or refer you to other medical specialists.
About Myofascial Pain
Myofascial pain often refers to tight muscles that are painful to the touch. Aches and pains that limit your ability to walk, move your arm or hand. These symptoms are warning signs that your soft tissues-muscles, tendons, and ligaments- may be damaged. Damaged soft tissue can lead to myofascial pain, a common but complex problem in which muscles develop painful knots called trigger points. Your soft tissue maybe damaged because of strain, poor posture, overuse, trauma, or lack of exercise and poor nutrition. This damaged tissue may heal incorrectly, with muscle fibers twisting into a knot. As a result, you may have pain and limited mobility anywhere in your body, including your back, neck, leg, arm, or shoulder. Your treatment plan will be designed to meet your specific needs. Using hands-on techniques, such a soft tissue manipulation and joint adjustment your chiropractic physician may treat existing trigger points or soft tissue damage. Other modalities may also be used to heal damaged tissue, relieve pain, and improve range of motion.
About Mid Back Pain
Mid back pain refers to pain in the thoracic spine. This is the area from the shoulders down to the mid back area. There may be various reasons for such pain, but it typically occurs from poor posture or a forward slouched posture. With this posture, your back muscle stretch out, causing weakness.
Pain can often feel like a burning or sometimes nagging pain to the mid back area. At times, pain can even feel like it is radiating under the shoulder blade. However, with most mid back pain, it can be difficult to really pinpoint the area it is hurting.
At our clinic we will work with you to discover spinal areas that may not be moving ideally. This limitation in movement can cause a strain on the sections above and below the affected area. By improving spinal joint mobility, soothing sore muscles and restoring posture, your mid back pain can be relieved quite quickly.
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common arthritic disease. Osteoarthritis occurs in the joints of the body when cartilage is damaged or lost and bones begin to undergo abnormal changes. This can result in painful movement of the spinal joints and chronic, achy pain in the low back and neck. Other joints, such as, knees, hips, feet and fingers, may also be involved. Although it occurs in people of all ages, osteoarthritis is most common in people older than 65. Osteoarthritis of the spine is most troublesome when it occurs in the lower back where we can affect the hips, legs and feet, or in the neck, where it can cause difficult with your ability to turn your head.
While we cannot revert your arthritic degeneration, we can restore more natural movement of the spinal joints, improve flexibility to increase joint fluid circulation, improve spinal muscle strength and educate you on the correct posture and prevention techniques. The result is that you can do more, with less pain.
About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Pain, tingling, numbness in your hand and wrist are signs of carpal tunnel syndrome, often caused by repetitive movements. The overused soft tissue becomes inflamed and presses on nerves passing through the carpal tunnel, the space between the bones in the wrist. One of the primary nerves that pass through this area is called the median nerve. When the ligaments around the carpal tunnel become tight, pressure is applied to the median nerve causing tingling, pain and even loss of sensation to the thumb and first two fingers of the hand.
Researchers have shown that the problem may be also related to nerve root irritation in the cervical ( neck ) area of the spine. Those at risk of developing carpal tunnel often have neck or shoulder problems on that side that lead to altered posture and movement of the arm. Since the median nerve exits from the neck and passes through the shoulder all the way down to your fingers, carpal tunnel is affected by the flexibility of the nerve higher up.
Our treatments focus on improving the mobility of the wrist and spacing of the carpal tunnel so the pressure is relieved on the median nerve. Hands on treatments mobilize tight joints and stretched tight ligaments. Ultrasound, cold laser therapy, and other modalities can reduce swelling relieving pressure on the nerve. Spinal manipulation of the cervical spine, strengthening and range of motion exercise can support the wrist and maintain good posture, helping the normal function of the median nerve.
Sprains refer to injures of the ligaments(connect bone to bone) and strains refer to injuries of the muscles or tendons (connect muscles to bone). Sprains and strains occur from quick overstretching of the tissues causing micro-tearing and subsequent injury. Swelling begins as part of the inflammation process, causing pain and difficulty with movement. The damage from a sprain/strain can be minor or major, depending on the severity of the injury, person’s health and age. As we age, our tissue becomes less elastic and becomes more prone to tearing. This condition can affect many areas of your body, such as: hips, knees, shoulders, wrists, etc. Gentle conservative care you receive at our clinic is a very important part of the recovery from a sprain/strain. First we will focus on reducing pain and inflammation while maintaining or regaining range of motion. After the inflammatory phase the focus will shift to attaining full range of motion then gradual strengthening of the injured areas to regain normal strength.
About Forward Head Posture
One of the most common postural problems is the forward head posture. The repetitive use of computers, phones, TV, video games, trauma, and even backpacks have forced our bodies to adopt a forward head posture. This leads to long-term muscle strain, fatigue, disc injuries, arthritis, nerve compression, and nagging burning pain in the neck and upper back. This abnormal position is also responsible for many tension headaches, often termed cervicogenic headaches, sinusitis, jaw and teeth pain, eye strain, tingling and numbness in the arms,hands and fingers. Long standing posture problems like forward head posture will cause spine and nerve damage, and symptoms are rarely present early on. The average human adult head weighs approximately between 7 and 10 pounds. Let’s assume your head weighs 10 lbs. When the head sits directly on the neck and shoulders the load on the spine and its tissue is 10lbs. However, if the head begins to tilt forward its weight will increase by 10lbs for every inch of forward movement. In effect, if your head moved 3 inches from the center of the shoulders, that weight on your spine and its discs, joints, and nerves is now 30 pounds. That is a large and exhausting burden to carry on your shoulders. In our office the first step in correction is to assess the postural, muscular, and joint movement deficiencies. Once that is completed, a specific corrective care program for forward head posture is provided, including spinal manipulation, ergonomics, specific exercises, and practical solutions to prevent future problems poor posture can bring.