Chiropractic is a natural method of healthcare that treats the cause of physical problems rather than just the symptoms. Chiropractic is based on a simple but powerful premise: With a healthy lifestyle and normal functioning spinal joints and nerves, your body is better able to heal itself. That’s because the spinal cord, which is protected by the spine, is the main pathway of your nervous system. It controls movement, feeling, and function throughout your body.
Your Chiropractor has at least 7 years of professional training in the sciences and healthcare, leading to a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree. He or she works to restore your health and guides you in a personalized approach to overall wellness.
What Is Spinal Subluxation?
Subluxation occurs when joints in your spine do not move properly. This joint dysfunction can put pressure on the spinal cord or on nerves that exit from the spinal cord. Subluxation can happen when you misuse or overuse your spine. Injury, stress, or poor posture can also cause subluxation. You may have pain and stiffness in your back, or numbness and tingling in your legs or arms. Or you may feel no symptoms at all.
A Healthy Spinal Joint
The joints in your spine allow the bones (vertebrae) to move. When the joints are aligned, the bones glide smoothly. Discs act as cushions between the bones, and ligaments and muscles connect and support the bones.
An Unhealthy Spinal Joint
An unhealthy spinal joint doesn’t function properly. Joints can become misaligned or restricted in their range of motion if ligaments and muscles are stretched or torn, or if discs bulge, rupture, or wear down. Then the spinal cord or the nerves that branch from it can become irritated, causing pain.
How Chiropractic Care Can Help You
Your Doctor of Chiropractic specializes in treating spinal subluxations. He or She begins by looking at your overall health- focusing not only on your spine but also on your lifestyle. This total approach to wellness helps determine the best treatment for any spinal problems you have.
The help identify the cause of spinal subluxation, you and your Chiropractor will discuss your symptoms, your health history, any prior injuries, and your lifestyle, including work and leisure activities.
Physical, orthopedic (bone and muscle), and neurological (nerve) tests can help reveal the condition of your spinal joints, discs, and nerves. Static and motion palpation tests check for tenderness, pain, swelling, and restricted range of motion in your spine.
As “blueprints” of your spine, x-ray can reveal joints that are misaligned or that have narrowed from worn discs. X-rays also help rule out fractured and diseased in your spine. Other tests may be done, if necessary.
Based on the results of your physical exam and tests, your Doctor of Chiropractic may recommend an individualized treatment program to improve the health and flexibility of your spine. If needed, your Chiropractor will consult with or refer you to other medical specialists.
How Does a Chiropractor Treat Spinal Subluxation?
Your Doctor of Chiropractic is uniquely qualified to restore the health of your spine. Special Chiropractic methods can help restore joint function and relieve pain and stiffness caused by spinal subluxation.
After locating joints in your spine that are misaligned or not functioning properly, your chiropractor gently presses on the joints. By helping restore alignment, these adjustments can improve range of motion in your spine, and relieve irritated nerves.
Your Chiropractor may recommend other types of treatment to relieve pain and stiffness and strengthen your back muscles. These treatments may include moist heat, ice packs, traction, ultrasound, or stretching and strengthening exercises. Your chiropractor can discuss these with you.
What You Can Do to Keep Your Spine Healthy
To help prevent spinal subluxation, you need to maintain healthy habits. Strengthen you back and neck with regular exercise and good posture. Boost your overall health by staying active, eating right, taking time to relax, and getting enough rest.
Just as you need regular dental exams, you also need regular spinal exams. Even if you don’t have symptoms, Chiropractic care is one of the best ways to manage or prevent spinal subluxation and maintain a healthier life free of pain.
* Content on this page is from a Krames brochure, copywright 1996, 2004 The StayWell Company.