| WHAT IS CHIROPRACTIC?
Chiropractic is a Greek term meaning "Treatment by Hand". It is a branch of health care specializing in the correction of biomechanical disorders of the spinal column and peripheral joint system. Chiropractors have long recognized the importance of a wellness focus (considering the role of the mind, body & spirit) when dealing with health care.
Chiropractic care is not an alternative to traditional medical care but a complement to it. It is the aim of chiropractic care to work together with other health professionals in a multi-disciplinary fashion to the benefit of the patient. Chiropractic care is considered drugless and conservative.
The explanation of chiropractic care as putting bones back into place to remove nerve interference is no longer valid or acceptable. The description of chiropractic care is now one of:
If your examination revealed areas of your spine that are malfunctioning, this can often result in nervous system compromise, impairment to the muscles that support the spine, damage to soft tissues of the spine, and sets in motion a degenerative process. Researchers refer to this five-part problem as the Vertebral
- Correcting biomechanical dysfunction in the joints (joint restriction / dysfunction) and soft tissues with spinal manipulation and soft tissue therapies (trigger points, massage, stretches).
- Utilizing physical therapy modalities (electrical current, ice, heat) to promote healing, reduce inflammation and to relax splinting of muscle
- Giving rehabilitative exercises (flexibility, strength, endurance), to assist in injury recovery and prevent re-occurrence of injuries and symptoms.
- Educating patients on the nature of the injury, posture, exercise, lifestyle, and prevention.
Spinal Kinesiopathology is abnormal
motion or position of spinal bones. Physical trauma such as
improper lifting, car accidents, repetitive motions, and poor
sleeping habits can cause spinal problems. Without proper alignment
your spine can experience uneven wear and tear. Each spinal
joint must move properly for optimum health.
Histopathology is abnormal soft tissue
function. Discs, ligaments, and other soft tissues can malfunction,
too. These important soft tissues have a poor blood supply,
so proper healing often requires continued care even after the
relief of obvious symptoms. Swelling and inflammation increases
the damage to soft tissues.
Neuropathophysiology is abnormal nervous
system function. Improper motion or position of spinal bones
can irritate delicate nerves. This can impair the function of
the tissues, organs, and systems controlled by these nerves.
Nerves can become overexcited and hyperactive or choked and
compressed. This can be experienced as numbness, tingling, or
pain shooting down an arm or leg.
Myopathology is abnormal muscle function.
Muscles supporting the spine can weaken and atrophy, or become
tight and go into spasm. Unfortunately, scar tissue and adhesions
penetrate these malfunctioning muscles, changing their elasticity.
Muscles that support the spine can be damaged with scar tissue,
and over-developed muscles on one side of your spine can cause
individual spinal bones to twist and lose proper function. Fibrosis
makes is difficult to retrain the muscle to support the spine
Pathophysiology is abnormal function
of the spine and body. The body responds with bone spurs and
spinal decay, fusing malfunctioning spinal joints. Degenerative
changes can be seen in other organs and tissues which have been
deprived of normal nerve control.
THE HUMAN BODY has more than 600 muscles & joints and is designed to MOVE!
Chiropractic Care restores MOVEMENT to maintain FUNCTIONAL BALANCE.
Chiropractic education follows a formal University degree program and involves 4 years of education consisting of courses in anatomy, clinical sciences, pathology, histology, chiropractic sciences and technique, clinical diagnosis and treatment, physiology, nutrition, research, etc. as well as a clinical internship.
Independent investigation by government inquiry and medical practitioners affirms that chiropractic undergraduate training is today of equivalent standard to medical training in all pre-clinical subjects. Chiropractic students are taught by appropriate medical and science specialists (MD, PhD) as well as qualified chiropractors (DC).
|What to Expect
| The major objective in the first visit
- by a thorough history (using various questionnaires,
diagrams, and direct one to one history taking),
- and examination
(using appropriate orthopedic and neurological exams, imaging
as necessary (x-ray's, etc),
- and specialized chiropractic
analysis (assessing function of joints, the relationship
between sites of muscle and joint dysfunction and pain; referred
pain, postural effects, compensation reactions),
- to render
an accurate diagnosis so that it may be determined
if chiropractic treatment will benefit the patient.
Once a diagnosis is established a specific and appropriate treatment program
is initiated or the patient is referred to the appropriate health
care provider (medical doctor, specialist (orthopedist, rheumatologist,
etc., massage therapist, physiotherapist)) who may best serve
Factors that may affect the injury include:
- Degenerative Joint or Disc Disease - Arthritis,
wear and tear on the bones and joints.
- Muscle Imbalance / Weakness - the strength of
- Tight soft tissues - muscle adhesions, shortened
- Nerve Irritation - nerve irritation will cause
symptoms such as numbness in the extremities, weakness,
and loss of reflexes.
- Structural Problems - such as fallen arches,
scoliosis, poor posture, etc. may affect the injury.
- Repetitive Strain - repeated movements and forces
on the body can cause and influence injuries. (such as factory
work, regular daily activities)
- Family history - Family history of certain injuries may influence your present condition.
- Occupation - jobs requiring prolonged sitting or standing, repetitive work, etc.
- SPINAL & PERIPHERAL MANIPULATION is the primary form of treatment in chiropractic care. Manipulation is necessary to restore proper motion to joint ligaments and assist them in attaining normal joint movement. Manipulation involves a fast (high velocity) short (low amplitude) thrust, directed at the joint, and generally is followed by a "pop", which is gas (CO2) releasing from the joint. The effect of the adjustment is to increase the space in the joint and effectively lengthen the ligaments that hold the bones together. The adjustment is considered very safe and proven very effective for conditions of low back pain, neck pain and headaches.
- JOINT MOBILIZATION involves placing tension on the joint ligaments. The mobilization is more aggressive than a stretch and the position is repeated. Mobilization is designed to reduce ligament tightness, adhesions and thus injury.
- ELECTRICAL STIMULATION is a proven therapeutic treatment for the relief of pain and the promotion of soft tissue healing. Electrical impulses are passed into the soft tissues in the area of the injury, which promotes the release of endorphins and natural painkillers to help relieve pain. The electrical gradient created also promotes soft tissue healing so the injury heals faster.
- HOME EXERCISE therapy is a set of balanced exercise designed to improve levels of fitness by promoting flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular fitness. Home exercise will speed the rate of recovery and improve fitness thus, preventing re-occurrences of injuries and help keep your body healthy in the long run.
- Stretches - involves lengthening muscles to improve flexibility. Since most injuries, involve both muscles and ligaments, stretching is important to assist in restoring soft tissue health and integrity.
- Strengthening - stabilizes the spine and extremities to provide better balance and better support for the joints.
- Cardiovascular Fitness - endurance exercises increase blood flow to the soft tissue and promote healing.
- CYROTHERAPY THERAPY / ICE therapy constricts blood vessels, numbs painful areas and relaxes muscle spasms. Ice is used for acute (recent) injuries or eruptions of chronic injuries.
Possible treatment situations:
- Uncomplicated Acute Pain is less than 3 weeks duration, with no significant trauma. The patient exhibits progressive recovery from an injury at a rate greater than or equal to the expectation from the natural history (4-8 weeks).
- Complicated Acute and Chronic Pain is more than 3-6 weeks in duration, and has significant trauma. The patients exhibits regression or delayed recovery in comparison with expectations from the natural history. Complicating factors are: pain for more than 8 days prior to treatment, severe pain, 4 or more previous episodes of pain, underlying structural changes re-injury during the course of treatment.
- Supportive Care / Elective Care
Supportive care is therapeutically necessary care for patients who despite
rehabilitative exercises and other lifestyle modifications, fail to sustain therapeutic gains (relief from pain) after treatment withdrawal. Reasons may include ongoing stress at work and activities of daily living.
Elective Care is at the option of the patient who wishes to maintain optimum function with preventive/maintenance care. Some patients, for example, wish to have functional pathology (joint fixation / restriction) treated before pain and disability develop.