What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic means “done by hand”. It is a natural, complimentary/alternative, hands-on, drug free, surgery free approach to health. Since its inception in 1895 Chiropractic has become the third most used primary health care profession in the world after medicine and dentistry. Chiropractic works on the premise that good health is partially dependent on a normally functioning spine and nervous system. You don’t need a referral from another doctor to see a Chiropractor.
How does Chiropractic work?
A Chiropractor’s primary concern is the optimal functioning of the spine and nervous system. The spine is made up of 24 individual moveable vertebrae that are connected by ligaments and muscles. This enables the spine to function as one dynamic unit. There is a cartilaginous disc between each vertebra which helps to cushion and absorb shock, reduce friction between the vertebrae and allows increased movement to occur within the spine.
A pair of spinal nerves, coming off the spinal cord, exits between each vertebra. These nerves supply and influence every organ, tissue and cell in the body.
The role of the Chiropractor is to evaluate the spine and ensure that each vertebra is moving freely and not displaced or fixed in any way. Any displacement can cause the spinal nerve that exits at that vertebra to become irritated or compressed, as illustrated in the diagram below.
What causes neuromusculoskeletal conditions?
Everyday actions such as falls, accidents, stress, incorrect posture, lifting heavy objects or repetitive actions can cause any of the vertebrae to lose its normal motion. The joint then becomes fixed or jammed and leads to irritation of the joint and sometimes the nerve. The muscles surrounding a jammed joint in turn spasm which can lead to the development of trigger points in the muscle. Irritation of the nerve can result in local pain or pain that refers elsewhere in the body. Sometimes the nerves function is altered which could cause an increase or decrease in nerve sensitivity.
How will the Chiropractor treat my problem?
The primary goal of treatment is to remove the fixation, or ‘jammed’ joint, by using highly specialized techniques called adjustments. An adjustment is done by hand is a high velocity, low amplitude thrust applied to specific vertebrae in the spine. Adjustments are safe and some patients feel immediate relief as soon as the motion is restored to the joint and the pressure released off the nerve. Some patients require a few treatments to correct the problem.