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?
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.
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.
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 overuse.
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 “somewhat or slight" (sub) and “to dislocate” (luxate). So the term ‘vertebral subluxation’ literally means a slight dislocation or misalignment of the bones in the spine.
When a subluxation occurs, a chiropractor can correct the misaligned bone and allow it to return to its proper position. This procedure is appropriately called an adjustment, and the adjustment enables the body to heal. The chiropractic adjustment is a quick and gentle 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 “click.” The sound sometimes startles people a little bit the first couple times they get adjusted, but the sensation is usually relieving. Occasionally, minor short-lived 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. However, the chiropractic adjustment is still important. The leak is fixed. The wiring is fixed. Information is flowing again. To keep the wiring fixed, several adjustments over a course of time may be necessary, in addition to massage, physical therapy, stretching exercises, or strengthening exercises. In the chiropractic world, keeping the problem fixed and preventing its reoccurrence is just as important as the initial remedy.
There are actually five components that contribute to the vertebral subluxation complex (VSC).
These changes get progressively worse over time if they are not treated correctly, leading to chronic pain, inflammation, arthritis, muscle trigger points, the formation of bone spurs, loss of movement, as well as muscle weakness and spasm. Chiropractors have known the dangers of the vertebral subluxation complex ever since the birth of the profession. 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.
Wellness requires you to be a proactive agent for your body. You need to treat it well and not wait until you hurt before you decide to take care of it. As we've said before health is not merely the absence of disease any more than wealth is an absence of poverty. Let’s remember health is not simply “feeling fine,” for we know that problems may progress for years without causing any symptoms whatsoever. As you know by now, heart disease for example, often develops unnoticed for many years before it strikes: in fact, the first symptom of heart disease that many people experience is a heart attack or death.
Now let us be clear that we are not under the illusion that everyone who creates a wellness lifestyle will be immune from pain, sickness, and disease. There are many people who do everything right and still get sick and die. Some will argue that there are many people who do everything wrong and live long, seemingly healthy lives. However, since we have no way to predict who is who, we have to do our very best to reduce our risk and promote our health.
Over the years in private practice, we have seen how neglecting their health has drained people of thousands of dollars, sometimes to the point of bankruptcy. We have seen people who have saved up and waited their entire lives to take a dream trip or to send their kids to college, whose savings and dreams were siphoned away to pay for health care expenses. We have seen people with work injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or neck/back pain who have been unable to work, unable to drive, and even unable to sleep without pain. We have seen family members whose entire lives become dominated by the necessity to care for another family member who is sick or in pain. The effects of long-term illness or disability on a family can be devastating; in many cases, it happens to families who are already over-stressed, under-loved, and emotionally maxed out.
On the other hand, We have seen people who have been unemployed due to their pain or health condition choose to adopt new healthy habits: within a short period of time they are back at work making money, taking care of themselves and their families again, and are able to put away savings for their retirement.
We have heard every excuse you can imagine as to why people believe they can’t afford the time or money to invest in their health. But the truth is that you must invest in your health today, or disease may bankrupt you in every way later. If you don’t have the time and money to improve your health while you feel good, what makes you think you will have the time and money to improve your health once you have lost it? As Anthony Robbins once said, "you can make time for wellness now or you can make time for sickness later." The choice is yours.
With regards to your wellness, the three main ideas that we really want to drive home . . .