What is Chiropractic
Taking A Natural Systemic Approach to Healing
Chiropractic is an overall way of looking at the human body. It's based on the idea that the body is self-sustaining and self-healing. The body is in essence completely controlled by the brain through its connection via the spinal cord and the vast networks of nerves that make up the body. When this system is not functioning at its peak, the overall performance of the human body is lacking.
In the chiropractic world, drugs and medicine are not utilized as a form of treating a patient. While supplementation and nutrition are almost always a part of the bigger picture, drugs and prescriptions can be viewed as band-aids to treat symptoms rather than going to the source and treating the real problem.
While it's often perceived that the chiropractor is solely here to treat back and neck pain, this is simply a small piece of what the profession really is capable of handling. Chiropractors not only treat soft and hard tissue problems such as sciatica and joint pain, but are largely called on to deal with more significant issues. Some of these issues include fibromyalgia, allergies, insomnia, headaches and many more.
What to Expect
Going to the Chiropractor is a new experience for many of us. Maybe we've heard through a friend or have done some research online. It's possible that you are just fed up with living in pain and it's time to do something about it. In either case, your first visit to the chiropractor will really be about getting to know the chiropractor and discussing your history, current condition and goals.
As with any doctor's visit, you'll start by finishing some new patient paperwork. Upon meeting with the doctor, you'll discuss your concerns and expectations as well as have the chance to ask any questions you may have. We will perform a physical examination and most likely take a few x-rays to see what your current state is. Once this is complete, we'll take a look at the overall results of our conversation and the exams. Together, we'll come up with a plan of action which will begin when you are completely satisfied and ready to move forward.
History of Chiropractic
1895 - Today
Did you know that chiropractic dates back to the time of Hippocrates? He believed that if the spine was misaligned, it greatly contributed to the health of an individual.
The modern day school of chiropractic dates back to 1895, when Dr. Daniel Palmer adjusted a man that had lost his hearing 17 years prior. The story goes that prior to losing his hearing the man had heard something pop in his back. Upon the adjustment of the man's misaligned vertebrae his hearing greatly improved.
While the medical community criticized this new technique for healing the body, the people who followed in these footsteps found an amazing new way of dealing with illness and disease. Dr. Palmer's theories are still discussed in the chiropractic industry today. Without this man's input into medicine in a time where he was greatly discredited, the millions of people today who enjoy the life changing benefits may never have had this opportunity. There is still a school named after Dr. Daniel Palmer as well as over 20 schools and thousands of chiropractic students across the country.
How does it work?
Chiropractic is based on the idea of removing imbalances both structural and postural in an effort to allow our body to heal itself. For this to happen the network of nerves and signals from your brain, down your spinal cord, to the network of nerves must be allowed to flow freely without any interruption. Chiropractors have the ability and skill to remove these interruptions or misalignments and allow the body to perform as it was meant to.
If you've ever been in a car accident, played a sport, fell down or just bumped into something too hard, it's very possible that you are not functioning at your best due to a misalignment. While there are many potential mechanical or structural causes for misalignment, there are also chemical reasons. For instance, if you smoke or drink excessively or even just have a poor diet, the chemical issues in your body can eventually cause underlying conditions and disease to appear.
Allowing a chiropractor to get you back on track both chemically and structurally will bring your body back to the proper state it should be in to perform at it's peak.
Spinal Degeneration Phases
Degeneration Phase 1
The first stage of spinal degeneration is when there is a minor loss of normal spine balance and spinal curvature. The surrounding features of the spine such as nerves, discs and joints begin to age quicker and are continually more stressed. This stage of the degeneration process rarely is accompanied with any major pain. At this point, there is a good chance that with the proper care, you can return to normal.
Degeneration Phase 2
In the second stage of spinal degeneration, there is a often narrowing of the discs and potentially deformation in the bones. Your posture is often beginning to degenerate as well at this point. As the spinal canal, or opening begins to narrow, there are often significant aches and pains associated. Fatigue and stress are more common at this stage. There is a good chance of improvement at this stage with the proper care.
Degeneration Phase 3
In the third stage of spinal degeneration, there is significant physical and mental involvement due to the level of issues here. There is most likely nerve damage as well as deformation of the bones and discs. There would a significant loss of energy and height at this point. Some reversal is possible.
Degeneration Phase 4
In the fourth stage of spinal degeneration, most damage is permanent including scar tissue, nerve damage and deformation. At this point, the condition is irreversible. Management of pain and discomfort is the best option here.
Improve Your Mobility
These simple movements or daily routines can end up hurting you if you're not careful. Make sure to do these simple activities the right way as outlined below:
Posture. Posture. Posture. Make sure that you keep your chin up and don't slouch. If you know that you are going to be standing for a long period of time, make sure that you wear comfortable shoes.
Working at a Desk
Make sure that you are getting up every 20 minutes to stretch. The type of chair you have is extremely important. It should fit you correctly so that your back touches the chair and your feet are on the floor with knees at a 90 degree angle. Try to avoid looking down at your computer screen. It should be at eye level.
Make sure you have a chair that is supportive. When you are forced to sit for a long period of time, for instance at a desk job, make sure to get up and stretch every 20 minutes. Sit with your back against the chair, feet firmly on the floor. Do not cross your legs.
Lifting objects is one of the most common ways to injure yourself. Even if it is a light object, twisting or pulling in the wrong direction when you're not stretched out can have a damaging effect on muscles and the spine. You always want to bend at the knees and avoid lifting anything you know is too heavy.
Overall Physical Activity
If you know that you are going to be working or playing for a while, make sure that you are adequately stretched out and warmed up. Even if it's something light like gardening or just pushing your child on a bike, it's easy to pull something if you're not warmed up.
Talking On The Telephone
If you're forced to use the telephone for a long period of time, a speaker or a headset is a must. By all means try to avoid cradling the phone between your neck and your shoulder as this could cause you to damage the muscles or vertebrae in that area.
Resting or Sleeping
Straining your neck or back while you're sleeping is a very common occurrence. We often fall asleep in strange positions where we are not supported properly or our necks are at an odd angle. Make sure that if you are going to nap or watch tv in bed, that you are in a supportive position.