Like conventional medicine, chiropractic is based upon scientific principles of diagnosis through testing and empirical observations. Treatment is based upon the practitioner's rigorous training and clinical experience. Unlike conventional medicine, which focuses on attempting to treat disease once it occurs, chiropractic attempts to improve the health of the individual in an effort to avoid illness in the first place. Most people would rather be healthy and avoid illness, if they could. This is one of the main reasons for the big upsurge in the popularity of chiropractic. People are recognizing the benefit of seeking an alternative to traditional medicine; one that will help them achieve and maintain optimal health.
What truly differentiates doctors of chiropractic from any other healthcare professionals is the fact that chiropractors are the only professionals who are trained to diagnose and treat what are called spinal subluxations. The word 'subluxation' comes from the Latin words meaning 'to dislocate' (luxare) and 'somewhat or slightly' (sub). So the term 'vertebral subluxation' literally means a slight dislocation (misalignment) of the bones in the spine. Although this term was adequate in the 1800s when much was still misunderstood about the human body, today the word 'subluxation' has changed in meaning to capture the complex of neurological, structural, and functional changes that occur when a bone is 'out of place.' For this reason chiropractors usually refer to subluxations of the spine as the "Vertebral Subluxation Complex", or "VSC" for short.
The chiropractic approach to healthcare is holistic, meaning that it addresses your overall health. It recognizes that many lifestyle factors such as exercise, diet, rest, and environment impact your health. For this reason, chiropractors recommend changes in lifestyle' eating, exercise, and sleeping habits in addition to chiropractic care.
Chiropractic is so much more than simply a means of relieving pain. Ultimately, the goal of the chiropractic treatment is to restore the body to its natural state of optimal health. Since the body has a remarkable ability to heal itself and to maintain its own health, the primary focus is simply to remove those things which interfere with the body's normal healing ability.
This section explains more about the background of chiropractic care, how it works, who it can benefit, and more!
What is Chiropractic Care?
Chiropractors understand that one of the main causes of pain and disease is the misalignment and abnormal motion of the vertebrae in the spinal column called a subluxation. Chiropractic works by removing these subluxations in the spine, thereby relieving pressure and irritation on the nerves, restoring joint mobility, and returning the body back to a state of normal function.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that chiropractic care is one of the most effective treatments for back pain, neck pain, headaches, whiplash, sports injuries and many other types of musculoskeletal problems. It has even been shown to be effective in reducing high blood pressure, decreasing the frequency of childhood ear infections, and improving the symptoms of asthma. More and more scientific research is demonstrating the tremendous detrimental impact that subluxation have on the tissue of the body. In order to be truly healthy, it is vital that your nervous system be functioning free of interference from subluxations. Chiropractors are the only health professionals trained in the detection, location, and correction of the vertebral subluxation complex through chiropractic care.
The chiropractic adjustment is a quick thrust applied to a vertebra for the purpose of correcting its position, movement or both. Adjustments are often accompanied by an audible release of gas that sounds like a 'crack.' The sound sometimes shocks people a little bit the first couple times they get adjusted, but the sensation is usually relieving. Occasionally, minor discomfort is experienced, especially if the surrounding muscles are in spasm or the patient tenses up during the chiropractic procedure. There are times when the audible 'cracking' does not occur. This is often due to either significant muscle tightness or that the patient may be having a hard time relaxing during their adjustments.
How Does it Work?
Chiropractic doctors practice natural, drugless, non-invasive health care and rely on the body's ability to self-heal. Sounds ideal, but just how does it work?
We look at the whole picture
Like other health-care providers, we follow a standard routine to gain information about the patient. We consult, review the case history, conduct a physical examination, and we may request laboratory analyses and/or x-rays. Unlike other health-care providers, however, chiropractic physicians also conduct a careful analysis of the patient's structure and pay particular attention to the spine. We also ask you about your life- Do you eat well? Exercise at all? How do you deal with stress? Do you have children? What do you do for work? And so on.
We seek the origin of the problem
Using this information, a diagnosis is made. Included in the diagnosis is the probable reason for your pain or discomfort. It is important to note that chiropractors seek the origin of the illness in order to eliminate it-we do not simply treat the symptoms. If your roof is leaking, do you simply catch the drips in a bucket for years on end, or do you repair the roof to prevent it from leaking? Similarly, if the migraine headache you've had all week is being caused by misaligned vertebra and an irritated nerve, do you continue to take pain killers indefinitely, or do you realign the vertebra to prevent the pain? You get the picture.
We fix the origin of the problem
Chiropractors have a term for misalignments: subluxations. A vertebral subluxation is a misalignment of the bones that protect the spinal cord. It's a leak in the roof. Or a kink in the wiring of your nervous system. The severity of the subluxation can vary, and there are a number of potential contributing factors that can be physical, emotional, mental, or chemical. The subluxation can be caused by any number of incidents, from birth trauma to an auto accident to simple repetition or over-use.
Who is Chiropractic For?
Both infants and adults can benefit from ongoing chiropractic care. In the chiropractic world, keeping the problem fixed and preventing its reoccurrence is just as important as the initial remedy. Chiropractic care could benefit all!