The spine is a very complicated structure. It is composed of twenty-four movable bones (the vertebrae), five layers of muscle, nine common ligaments, the central and peripheral nervous systems, and various connective tissue.
The vertebrae offer protection to the spinal cord. They are movable and can twist and bend in a variety of positions. While this freedom of motion allows us to move our bodies in a variety of configurations, it also can set the stage for injuries. Joints that are pushed too far can suffer sprains and strains. Joints that don’t get enough motion can get stuck. Abnormal gravitational loading on the joints and soft tissues causes degenerative changes such as arthritis and disc disease.
Chiropractic is the philosophy, art, and science of natural healing. It is concerned with the integrity and function of the spine and nervous system. A doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) is a physician who is an expert at evaluating, diagnosing, and treating problems with the spine. Many people think chiropractors are back pain doctors. That is only partially true. Chiropractors are actually nerve doctors. The chiropractor’s job is to make sure the nerves are happy and healthy and there is nothing putting pressure on them.
The process starts much like it would when visiting any other doctor. There is some paperwork that is completed (including a description of the problem and a medical history). Then the chiropractor will have a consultation followed by an examination to discover the cause of the problem. In the examination, the chiropractor will do a variety of orthopedic and neurological tests. Following this, there may be diagnostic tests (such as X-rays, MRIs, etc.). Then the chiropractor will diagnose the problem, give the patient a prognosis and present a treatment plan.
How does chiropractic eliminate back pain?
The prescribed therapies may vary greatly from doctor to doctor. These therapies may include chiropractic adjustments, decompression, laser, Pulsewave, soft tissue therapies, active care rehabilitation (stretching, exercises for strengthening and stabilization), and nutritional therapies (such as professional strength supplements designed to reduce pain and inflammation at the chemical and cellular levels).
The Chiropractic Adjustment
The chiropractic adjustment is concerned with restoring normal joint motion, re-aligning the vertebrae, relieving pressure on the nerves (which may be pinched due to vertebral misalignment), eliminating muscle spasms, and of course, eliminating pain. The doctor of chiropractic has four years of specialized training in the art of delivering adjustments. The adjustment is a low-force correction in which the chiropractor gently slips the bone(s) back into their normal position while restoring normal joint motion. Adjustments are almost always pain-free and result in an incredible sense of relief and well-being.
A “New Concept”?
Many people have never been to a chiropractor. They may not have ever even considered going to a chiropractor. They may have thought that chiropractic is a new concept or experimental and unproven. But what they didn’t realize is that spinal manipulation is nothing new. It has actually been around for thousands of years. Hippocrates (the father of medicine) himself said “look to the spine as the source of all disease”. While bonesetting has been around for millennia (as opposed to traditional western medicine which has only been around for 300 years), chiropractic as a profession started in 1895. Today there are over 70,000 chiropractors in the United States. It is a science-based form of health care that has become mainstream and accepted by the medical and scientific communities.
Safe & Effective
Not only is chiropractic extremely effective and all-natural, but it is also the safest form of health care known to humankind. Chiropractors pay the lowest malpractice premiums of any doctor. The reason for this is clear – they don’t injure people. There have been hundreds of research studies done to investigate the risk associated with chiropractic adjustments. And the results came back that chiropractic is safer than drugs and surgery. One research paper showed that a patient has 100 times greater likelihood of being injured from taking Motrin than from getting a chiropractic adjustment. So if your back is hurting, give chiropractic a try. You have nothing to lose but the pain.