WHAT IS CHIROPRACTIC CARE?
A natural, non-invasive approach to health care.
Chiropractic is based on the scientific fact that your body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism controlled by the brain, spinal cord and nerves of the body. The nervous system is protected by the spinal vertebrae. When these vertebrae become misaligned or lose normal motion, malfunction of the tissues and organs throughout the body result.
Chiropractic is a form of natural health care that focuses on treating a patient without the use of drugs or medicines. Doctors of Chiropractic are primary health care providers and are recognized by governmental health care programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Workers' Compensation programs and more. Every year, more than 30 million Americans see chiropractors as part of the regular health care programs. With over 84,000 licensed chiropractors nationwide and more than 10,000 students currently enrolled in chiropractic school, it is the fastest growing health care profession.
Chiropractors frequently treat individuals with problems, such as headaches, joint pain, neck pain, low back pain and sciatica. Chiropractors also treat patients with osteoarthritis, spinal disk conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, sprains, and strains. However, the scope of conditions that chiropractors manage or provide care for is not limited to the common pains and problems listed above. Chiropractors also have the training to treat a variety of conditions such as allergies, asthma, digestive disorders, and other disorders as new research is developed.
HOW DOES CHIROPRACTIC CARE WORK?
The main causes of joint dysfunction are mechanical, chemical, and emotional. Mechanical causes are referred to as micro- or macrotrauma. Microtrauma can also be called repetitive stress injury. Sitting with poor posture at a desk and typing all day can cause problems such as carpal tunnel, neck, upper back, or low back pain. Macrotrauma refers to pain due to trauma to the body, such as a fall, a break, or a car crash. Mechanical causes of joint dysfunction can benefit immensely from chiropractic care.
Another cause of joint dysfunction is due to the chemical effects on the joint function and the body as a whole. Smoking, heavy drinking, and poor diet can create chemical imbalances in the body.
Emotional stress also leads to joint dysfunction due to the overall stress and tension created within the body.
Chiropractic helps to remove postural imbalances and structural misalignments that can accumulate in our bodies over time. Chiropractic works by restoring your own inborn ability to be healthy. For your body to remain healthy, your nervous system must function well. For your nervous system to function well it must be free of interference.
By restoring spinal function with Chiropractic adjustments, nerve interference by misaligned vertebrae is removed, thus allowing optimal nervous system function and improved health.
The customized care you receive from your chiropractor may help to improve your posture, muscle balance and mobility. It can also restore the integrity of your nervous system and get rid of pain quickly, so you can get back to feeling good today!
CAN CHIROPRACTIC CARE HELP ME?
While chiropractic care can help with any number of symptoms and problems, we have listed out some of the more common conditions that you may recognize in yourself or others. If you are experiencing any of these problems, please contact a chiropractor.
Allergies, Colds and Decreased Immune Function
Millions of people who suffer from a wide variety of conditions, such as allergies, colds, and decreased immune system function, have benefited from chiropractic care. Why you ask? Because chiropractic is a method of healthcare that permits your body to function at its best. That is especially important if you suffer from these ailments.
Your immune system keeps you 100% natural, organic, and pure! It recognizes and destroys anything that is not supposed to be in you: bacteria, viruses, pollutants, dust, pollen, drugs, tumors, dead pieces of your own skin cells, and even artificial hearts and donor organs (Metal and plastic, however, do not trigger an immune reaction.) A healthy immune system means having a high resistance to disease and infection, gives you a better ability to deal with stress, and blesses you with greater health and well-being.Let chiropractic care help you
By releasing stress on the nervous system, chiropractic permits the immune system to function more effectively-something all allergy and cold sufferers need. A nervous system without stress functions more efficiently. Recent understandings in psychoneuroimmunology reveal that when the nervous system functions better the immune system benefits.
Chiropractors correct the basic cause of body malfunction to improve the function of your immune system. Please note that the chiropractic approach is to remove vertebral subluxations, a common spinal distortion that puts stress on your nervous system. When your nervous system is free of stress, your body will work more effectively to neutralize the allergy causing chemicals in your environment as well as boost your immune system’s overall function.
The disc is a small cartilage pad that is situated between spinal bones. The soft jelly-like center is contained by layers of fibrous tissues. Each disc serves as a connector, spacer, and shock absorber for the spine. When healthy, discs allow normal bending, turning, and overall body movement.
Since spinal discs have a very poor blood supply, they depend upon the circulation of joint fluids to bring nutrients and expel waste. If a spinal joint loses its normal motion and this pumping action is impaired, the health of the disc deteriorates. Like a wet sponge, a healthy disc is flexible. A dry sponge is hard, stiff, and can crack easily. This is how many disc problems begin.
Because of the way each disc is attached to the vertebra above and below it, a disc cannot slip as commonly thought. However, trauma or injury to the spine can cause discs to bulge, herniate, or worse, rupture. This can be quite painful, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots, interfering with their function.
While results cannot be guaranteed, many patients have avoided needless surgery or a dependency on pain pills by choosing conservative chiropractic care.
Whiplash is most commonly received from riding in a car that is struck from behind or that collides with another vehicle or object. When the head is suddenly jerked back and forth beyond its normal limits, the muscles and ligaments that support the spine and head can be overstretched or torn. The soft, pulpy discs between spinal bones can bulge, tear or rupture. Vertebrae can be forced out of their normal position, reducing range of motion. The spinal cord and nerve roots in the neck can get stretched and irritated. While occupants can suffer considerable soft tissue injury, the car may only be slightly damaged.
The resulting instability of the spine and soft tissues can cause headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, pain in the shoulder, arms and hands, reduced ability to turn and bend, and even low back problems. As the body attempts to adapt, symptoms may not appear for weeks or even months later.
The chiropractic approach to these types of injuries is to use specific chiropractic adjustments to help return spinal function. After a thorough examination and case history, the doctor will recommend a series of visits to help restore proper motion and position of the spinal bones. If caught early enough, inflammation can be reduced and scar tissue can often be minimized.
Consult a Doctor of Chiropractic before enduring constant headaches, depending upon addictive pain medication, or submitting to surgery.
Arthritis is a condition characterized by the gradual breakdown of joint cartilage, most common in the weight bearing joints of the body such as the chiropractic care helps osteoarthritisknees, hips, and back. It is also common in the neck and hands. As the joint is broken down it can lead to joint stiffness and increased strain on the muscles in that area. Additionally, as joint function changes it can lead to movement compensations and place strain on other areas of the body. Although degenerative changes are common with age they do not automatically result in pain. Research now shows that it is not the degeneration of the joint that is responsible for pain, but the effects the degeneration has on how the joint is functioning.
We focus on restoration and maintenance of function by emphasizing joint movement and increasing the ability of the muscles to support and stabilize the affected joints. In addition, we assess how the body as a whole if functioning to uncover any other movement abnormalities that may be affecting the degenerated area.
Joints of the body need to move. When this movement becomes restricted and normal motion is altered several problems arise. Most commonly joint dysfunction results in pain, stiffness, muscle tightness, cartilage breakdown/degeneration, and movement compensation leading to undue stress on other areas of the body. Joint dysfunction are common in the spine and the extremities and can commonly occur with injury, poor posture, muscles tightness, scar tissue, or muscle imbalance. The doctor will assess movement of the joints to feel for areas of altered or restricted movement.
Once identified, the abnormal movement can be restored using a combination of chiropractic joint adjustments and muscle relaxation therapy. Whenever possible simple home exercises are demonstrated to facilitate and maintain proper motion in key areas. Underlying factors such as poor posture and muscle imbalance often need to be addressed in cases of chronic or recurrent joint dysfunction.
Neck/Low Back Pain
Subluxations (misalignments of the spinal vertebrae) are one of the most common causes of neck and low back pain. When vertebrae are misaligned, they put pressure directly on spinal nerves, causing pain. Muscle spasms may set in which can increase the pressure further. This extra pressure can cause even more inflammation and irritation, which leads to more pain. And the cycle continues. Often times stretching and massage may only temporarily relieve the pain because the cause (subluxation) has not been addressed. A chiropractic adjustment focuses on correcting the cause.
80% of headaches originate from the neck. Usually an increased amount of stress and tension held in the shoulders causes contractions of all of the surrounding neck muscles. When these muscles contract, vertebrae can become misaligned causing pressure on spinal nerves, and ultimately pain. With a typical cervicogenic (neck origin) headache, a person usually feels pain starting at the base of the skull which radiates into the temples, eyeballs, and forehead. There may be several other causes of headaches, so a proper examination is needed to determine the actual cause.
The sciatic nerve is a long nerve originating in the lower back and extending down the back of the leg. When this nerve is irritated, it can cause pain, numbness, weakness, or other symptoms in the lower back and down the leg. There are several possible causes of this condition. A misaligned vertebra can cause inflammation of the joints, putting pressure on the nerve. Bulging discs and muscle spasms can also cause pressure on the sciatic nerve. Several other conditions may cause this symptom, so a complete evaluation would be needed to correctly asses the exact cause.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
These days millions of Americans have jobs which can have damaging effects on the hands and arms. Repetitive movements which are not performed with good ergonomics in mind can cause micro-trauma to the hands and wrists. This trauma combined with joint dysfunction and spinal problems may result in a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome. The median nerve, which is affected in carpal tunnel syndrome, travels from the tips of the fingers, through the wrist, up the arm and into the neck connecting to the spinal cord. If one or more of these structures are affected, symptoms of wrist pain, numbness, weakness, burning and loss of muscle function can occur. Chiropractic can assure that all of the joints and muscles along the path of the nerve are free of obstruction and functioning normally, thus reducing nerve irritation and pain.
Maintenance Chiropractic Care
What many people don’t know is that you don’t have to be injured to benefit from chiropractic care. By staying well adjusted with maintenance chiropractic care you can help prevent injury. Some other possible benefits of maintenance care are: optimal nerve output for optimal physical performance, improved posture, decreased stiffness, increased mobility, energy, strength, circulation, and immune function just to name a few. Everybody benefits from chiropractic a little differently, but one thing everybody has in common is that they just feel better.
Fibromyalgia is a controversial and complicated condition to understand. For proper diagnosis and treatment, a wide variety of factors need to be considered including “head-to-toe” joint and muscle function, nutrition, and lifestyle issues. A thorough examination including orthopedic and neurologic testing, as well as other specialized tests, will help to determine the exact causes of your symptoms and your individualized treatment plan. Very often, a comprehensive treatment program addressing all of these issues leads to significant improvement.
Joint and soft tissue manipulation is often very helpful in relieving the aches and pains of fibromyalgia and related conditions. Other treatment options may include ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation, acupuncture, therapeutic exercises, massage therapy & myofascial release techniques. These procedures, combined with nutritional & herbal medicine, and/or homeopathy constitute a comprehensive, holistic approach. Although researchers are still a long way from finding a “cure” for fibromyalgia, chiropractic care is usually very successful in the effective management of this condition. However, if after examination we conclude that your case cannot be helped with conservative care, a prompt referral will be made.
Articlle by University Park Chiropractic
6910 N. Main St., Ste 5 - Granger IN 46530