What Is a Chiropractic Adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment is a gentle, yet dynamic, thrusting technique applied to a particular joint in such a way as to generate movement in a specific direction. Chiropractic adjustments restore the proper motion and mechanics of the joints, thus enhancing joint function, correcting specific joint problems, and preventing injury due to improper joint mechanics. This aspect of chiropractic care principally affects problems of a musculoskeletal nature. And because of the close inter-relationship between spinal nerves and organ function, the removal of nerve interference by correction of spinal fixations and subluxations is thought to enhance many other areas of general health as well.
What is a Vertebral Subluxation?
A vertebral subluxation is a term used to describe a spinal bone which has become misaligned. Because misaligned bones of your spine can cause pressure on the spinal nerves, a subluxation can lead to pain, weakness, numbness, and affect how you are able to function in daily activities. Likewise, if nerves are stretched, rubbed, pinched, or otherwise irritated, hyperactivity within the nerve can occur and cause pain, muscle spasms, overactive organ function, and other symptoms of poor health.
How does Chiropractic Work?
The human body possesses a natural ability to restore and heal itself. This ability depends on a healthy nervous system. Life's events, such as automobile accidents, sports injuries, repetitive work, and home stress are just some of the factors that can overwhelm the body's ability to adapt and heal itself. The joints of the spine 'lock up' when these sorts of events occur, limiting range of motion. Spinal joint restriction and/or misalignment results in irritation and injury to the spinal nerves.
Chiropractic care can correct these structural misalignments, known as subluxations, restoring the body to its optimal form and function. Local symptoms of subluxations may include pain, tenderness, swelling, tingling, numbness, or spasm around the joints of the spine, back, and neck. Many times these sensations extend further into the shoulders and arms, around the rib cage, or into the hips and down the legs. Subluxations can even lead to headaches, stomach and digestive problems, and loss of overall health.
Impaired nerve coordination causes the whole body to suffer. Vital instructions flow between the brain and the body by way of the spinal nerves. These instructions inform and direct the body as to when, where, and how it needs to heal itself. By irritating nerves, subluxations interfere with the essential brain/body exchange, thereby compromising the normal function of the body's organs and tissues. Chiropractic care clears the path for the body to maintain its own health.
Is Chiropractic Safe?
YES. It is the non-surgical, drug-free approach to health that makes chiropractic among the safest of all health care practices. Remember, chiropractic takes nothing out of the body, like many surgeries do, and puts nothing in, which is the essence of treating problems with medications and drugs. As a result, chiropractors enjoy one of the lowest malpractice rates of all health care professionals.
How are Doctors of Chiropractic Educated?
Like all primary health care providers, doctors of chiropractic undergo extensive education and training before becoming licensed professionals. Applicants at chiropractic colleges have already acquired nearly four years of pre-medical undergraduate college education, including courses in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, and physics before entering chiropractic college. Chiropractic students then continue their study of the sciences for 4 additional years, including courses in pathology, biochemistry, orthopedics, neurology, examination procedures, differential diagnosis, and X-ray interpretation. Doctors of chiropractic refine their technical adjusting skills in technique classes. During clinical internships student doctors perfect these skills. Finally, all doctors of chiropractic must pass the rigorous national board exams and state exams before entering the field. In total, the curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience. Click Here to Learn More
Is There a Reaction Following an Adjustment?
The reactions experienced following a chiropractic adjustment vary greatly from person to person. Many people experience a great sense of exhilaration and well-being. The most common reaction is aching or soreness around the joints adjusted and within the nearby muscles. This is a natural response following an adjustment, so do not be alarmed if you experience this type of a reaction. Most reactions usually subside within a few days, after which the beneficial effects of the removal of nerve interference and improved joint function will continue.
If you have any questions or any unusual reactions that concern you, do not hesitate to call our office or to ask your doctor on your next visit.
How Often Will I Need To Come in for Treatment?
Recommendations for treatment frequency and duration are based on the specific nature and history of the condition being treated.
Acute, painful conditions often require treatment in stages. When severe pain and inflammation is present, initial treatments with ice, ultrasound, stretching, and massage are often necessary before adjustments to correct the problem can be performed. Such acute care is typically performed 2-3 times per week, or even daily, until the symptoms subside and adjustments can be administered. Care then continues 1-2 times per week, as necessary, to correct the problem. Milder conditions, of course, require a lesser frequency and a shorter duration of care. Chronic, long-term problems typically require intensive care for 6-8 weeks, followed by a gradually diminishing frequency of care to encourage the changes that are desired.
How Many Adjustments Will I Need?
The number of adjustments needed to correct your condition will vary depending on several factors, including your age, the severity of your symptoms, and your general state of health. The most important factor, however, is the length of time that you have had the problem. Chronic, long-standing conditions that have existed for several years typically require months of care to correct. Because adjustments have a cumulative effect, repeated adjustments over a period of time can help restore motion and alignment in even the most chronic problems. Conditions that have developed more recently will generally respond in less time. A very recent, mild problem will often respond in as little as one treatment.
Is the Spine the Only Part of the Body That Chiropractors Adjust?
No. The spine is only one part of the overall, biomechanical structure of the human body. There are obviously many other movable joints within the body, including the shoulders, knees, and ankles to name a few. Since all the movable joints in your body are subjected to similar demands and stresses, each one is capable of malfunctioning. Consideration of the inter-relationship between all these joints is essential to the evaluation of a patient's overall condition. The doctors at Heritage Health are qualified to perform adjustments for these joints as well.
What Happens When My Symptoms Have Disappeared?
Symptoms respond well to treatment and often seem to disappear quickly, before total correction of the problem has occurred. In our opinion, the goal of treatment is to obtain full correction of joints, soft tissues, and neurological activity. Our team considers their job done when goals are met, not just when symptoms have abated.
Because of our society's "crisis medicine" orientation, it is not uncommon for a patient to want to stop care when symptoms disappear. It is important to understand that until the problem is fully corrected, there is still a high likelihood for the pain to recur. As long as the underlying problem continues, the condition never really goes away, only the symptoms do. In our experience, this ultimately causes the symptoms to recur once again. The best way to prevent recurrence is to continue care until the necessary corrections have been made.