Frequently Asked Questions
What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a branch of the healing arts, and as a science, it is based on the premise that good health depends in part, upon a normally functioning nervous system. When body structures such as cells and organs are functioning normally, a state of health or normal physiology is said to exist. However, when the body’s physiology is abnormal, a disease state begins. Thus, we begin to understand that abnormal physiology leads to abnormal function, predisposing the body to disease processes.
Doctors of chiropractic do not elect to utilize drugs or surgery in their practice. However, there are times when they will recommend that you consult another practioner if other methods of treatment are indicated.
Chiropractic Concepts of Health Maintenance:
A term which appears in all discussions relating to health care is “Maintenance.” The concept of health maintenance is not new to the chiropractic profession. The primary procedure in chiropractic health care is to examine and evaluate the spine and pelvis to determine if any one area of the spine is malfunctioning or if many areas of the spine are causing abnormal body movements. If present, these malfunctions (subluxations) may be factors in producing stresses that will influence the nervous system and compromise its ability to adapt and and function. The chiropractic approach to well-being typifies the new and changing attitude toward health. It is based on the concept of “maintaining health” versus “treating disease.
What does a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) do?
All doctors use a standard procedure of examination to diagnose a patient’s condition in order to arrive at a plan of treatment. Your doctor of chiropractic uses the same time honored methods of consultation, case history, physical examination, laboratory analysis and X-ray examination. In addition, he or she provides a careful chiropractic structural examination, with emphasis on the spine. Chiropractic teaches that nerve pressure, or nerve reflex can cause a disturbance of the delicate body functions resulting in an increased susceptibility to disease processes. Alleviating the irritation to spinal nerves by re-establishing normal spinal mobility, the doctor of chiropractic seeks to cause your body to operate more efficiently and more comfortably.
What kinds of conditions do chiropractors treat?
The chiropractic approach to treating ills was not to look for the cure in drugs or chemicals, but to locate an area (tissue or organ) of the body which was receiving an improper nerve supply and, therefore, was not able to function properly. Chiropractic’s clinical approach has restored good health to millions of people, many times after other methods have failed.
Many people think that chiropractors treat mainly orthopedic type conditions, such as backache, sciatica, whiplash and disc problems. It is true that for these conditions one should try chiropractic first. The art of manipulation of the spine has been proven beneficial to these problems since the time of Hippocrates. Other functional disorders such as those that involve organs and internal glands of the body may also respond to chiropractic adjustments. The conditions which doctors or chiropractic treat can be as varied and as vast as the nervous system itself.
What are the chances of having back pain?
Whether you have been diagnosed with some type of back problem either as a child or adult, the chances that you will have back pain are the same as everyone else. About 80% of people experience back pain at some point in there live. The majority of back pain will go away, while about 5% of people have back pain that last longer than 3 months.
Does back pain get worse with age?
Younger people are more likely to have back pain than people in their 50’s and 60’s. The reason why more young people have back pain than adults is because as you get older your spine degenerates and has a lower amount of movement. The less your spine can move, the less pain you will have from movement. Another reason why younger people have more back pain is due to the proteins in their back. As people get older, the proteins in our back slowly go away. These proteins can cause pain and inflammation in our backs.
How does chiropractic affect headaches?
For many years it has been said that the DC after Doctor of Chiropractic’s name also stands for “Doctor of Cause.” Chiropractors correct the cause of a patient’s health problems, rather than give painkillers and other drugs which only treat the symptoms.
A team of surgeons may have found one of the answers as to why chiropractic works so well. They discovered a small neck muscle that connects to brain membranes. When the neck is out of alignment, this muscle can actually pull on the brain! As a lead surgeon writes: “An increasing body of literature relates headaches to pathology affecting the cervical spine and a number of clinical trials have demonstrated that chiropractic is valuable for managing headache.”
What puts the ache in headache?
The ache in headache does not come from your brain- your brain cannot feel pain. During brain surgery a patient is often wide awake feeling nothing, even talking to the surgeons and nurses while his/her brain is being operated on ( a local anesthetic numbs the scalp). So what puts the “ache” in headache? It’s the non-brain structures: blood vessels, membranes and cranial nerves in the brain and skull. When these structures are stretched, compressed, irritated, inflamed or infected, headaches often result.
What is whiplash?
Whiplash is not a disease but a description of how an injury occurred. The spine, usually the head and neck, was unexpectedly thrown very quickly in one direction and then rebounded in the opposite direction. The head was “whipped around” on the neck usually front to back, but it can also happen from a side-to-side motion of the neck as well.
Where does whiplash cause damage?
The vast majority of whiplash sufferers have misaligned spinal bones (cervical vertebrae) and nerve, joint, ligament, tendon, muscle and disc stress, irritation or damage. Chiropractors have a special name to describe this type of condition – a subluxation – the most common source of pain and discomfort from whiplash injuries.
What is a Subluxation?
A whiplash injury is a dramatic example of one type of subluxation – the kind produced by accident or trauma. Subluxations may also be cause by emotional stress and tension that slowly build up day-to-day (micro trauma). Other causes of subluxations are poor posture, bad sleeping positions, weak muscles, poor diet and even dental work.
What can I do to protect my back when I lift heavy objects? What is proper lifting technique?
To prevent low back pain when you lift heavy objects, let your lower body/legs do most of the work. Squat down in front of the object while keeping your back straight. (This position protects your back, but it can be hard on your knees.) Tighten your abdominal muscles as you unbend your knees to lift straight up. Keep the object as close to your chest as possible and do not twist at the waist; your shoulders and hips should always be aimed in the same direction when you lift heavy objects or carrying heavy objects. Never pull a heavy object when you can push it instead. For shifting very heavy objects, get help. Use pushcarts, wheelbarrows, and forklifts when they are available.
What types of exercises are safe for someone with back pain?
Exercising when you have back pain can help you feel better faster and prevent more back problems. A gradual return to normal activities, including exercise, is recommended. Even if you have mild to moderate low back pain, you may be able to do the following without putting much stress on your back:
- Walk short distances
- Stretch and do flexibility exercises
- Use a stationary bicycle
The information on this website is for general information purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice. Consult your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions.