Chiropractic science is based on the fact that the chief engineer of the body is the nervous system… the brain, the spinal cord, and the massive network of nerves. The nervous system is the communication center of the body, sending dynamic and intelligent impulses that control sensation, movement and function. Your spine supports your body and protects your spinal cord, the main pathway of your nervous system. Chiropractors have led the way in pointing out that displacement of the vertebrae and discs in the spine can irritate the spinal cord or spinal nerves and alter the flow of communication between the brain and the body. Chiropractic works by improving spinal alignment and joint flexibility thereby allowing the nervous system to function at an optimum potential and creating a healthier lifestyle. The following is a list of common areas where symptoms show up when there is stress to the nervous system (click on a link to jump to that section):
- BACK PAIN
- NECK PAIN
- SHOULDER, ARM and HAND PROBLEMS
- HIP, KNEE, ANKLE, and FOOT PROBLEMS
- CHIROPRACTIC and CHILDREN
Conditions We Treat
Just about everyone will experience at least one episode of back pain and over half of the population will experience multiple episodes throughout their lives. Many people’s attitude toward back pain is to ignore it or take various over-the-counter medications to cover it up. While back pain can sometimes get better over time with rest, the reoccurrence rate is extremely high with episodes typically getting progressively worse.
The pain or discomfort we feel from time to time is our body’s early warning system telling us that something is not functioning properly. When we ignore these early signs, the pain may go away temporarily, but the problem is never actually addressed and the pain will eventually return. The longer you ignore the problem, the more complicated and potentially serious it becomes in the long run.
Chiropractors are skilled in the science and art of finding these problems and correcting or managing them through specific adjustments to the spine. Along with the adjustments, we often give advice on stretching and strengthening exercises, which can be done at home to help support the adjustment and prevent future recurrences.
While there are medical options for relieving back pain with drugs or surgery, both options cans have potentially serious side effects and studies have shown back surgery to be successful only approximately 50% of the time. Physical therapy will also help relieve back pain in certain circumstances, however if a joint is misaligned and not functioning properly, exercising that joint can actually lead to more injury.
Chiropractic has proven highly effective in not only treating back pain, but also helping to prevent future problems by focusing on the cause rather than the treatment of symptoms. Not only is Chiropractic highly effective, but it is also completely natural and relatively side effect free.
Your neck is one of the most important and vulnerable parts of your body. Not only does it have to support your head, which generally weighs 10 to 12 pounds, it also has to allow you to look up and down and from side to side so you can be aware of your surroundings. It also serves to protect vital structures such as your spinal cord and many blood vessels supplying the head and brain. Having a pain in the neck is truly “a pain in the neck” and can severely limit many functions in our daily lives. That is why it is vital to keep our necks working for us, instead of against us.
Neck pain can result from countless causes in our lives. Often the common daily activities we take for granted are the most likely culprits. Some examples are watching TV, sitting at your computer, falling asleep in awkward positions, or even reading a book. Often the pain will subside when the activity is stopped. But when it persists, even to a lesser degree, that is a sign of a more serious underlying problem. The most common causes of neck pain are postural distortions, reversal in the normal curve in the neck, joint instability from prior trauma, or accumulated daily stresses carried for a long period of time. When these postural changes occur, the muscles can either get overstretched and unstable or become rigid, compounding the problem and eventually creating a downward health cycle.
As Chiropractors, we specialize in examining the spine to look for joints in the neck that are not functioning properly. We will look at the ranges of motion to determine what motions are associated with the problem. If appropriate we will take x-rays to visualize the underlying structures of the neck. Once the problem is identified, we can start treatment, often beginning with a series of specific adjustments to correct the problem. Typically, we will also teach the patient how to do simple exercises to help strengthen and improve control of the joints to avoid future problems.
If you suffer from headaches, a chiropractic spinal check-up is one of the best things you can do. Chiropractic’s safe, gentle, and drugless methods have helped many headache and migraine sufferers over the years. Chiropractors specialize in examining the spine and finding joint dysfunctions we call vertebral subluxations. Headaches are one of the many ailments that can respond quickly once these subluxations are identified and treated.
Countless causes of headache have been identified, including strong smells, intense lights, ear, eye, or vision problems, fevers, alcohol, foods, and the list goes on. The most common type is the tension headache. Some studies attribute up to 90% of all headaches to muscle tension. When our muscles are tense they compress other vital structures in the body, most commonly blood vessels and nerves. When these are compressed the brain sends out a message of pain so that we know there is a problem that needs to be fixed. Chiropractic has proven to be one of the most successful treatments for these tension type headaches by addressing spinal distortions in the neck that cause the muscles to work harder than they are supposed to during their normal daily tasks.
Our parents were right when they harped on us about standing or sitting up straight when we were young. A house is only as good as its foundation and frame, and our bodies are the same. Our posture can tell us a lot about our general health. It takes over 200 muscles working together just to stand up straight. When our posture is good and our bodies balanced, our muscles do not have to work very hard, so we feel relaxed and energetic, and our joints stay healthy. However, when we slouch from sitting at a computer or desk all day, or from working long hours bent over, or from sitting on the couch watching TV, our posture slowly gets worse over time and with this our muscles can become unbalanced and our joints misaligned. When this happens we feel tired more quickly because those muscles now have to work harder just to keep you from tipping over.
Chiropractic helps to improve overall health by finding abnormalities in a patient’s posture and addressing it through chiropractic adjustments, stretching and strengthening exercises. These adjustments will help improve your balance, reduce your workload with more efficient movement, increasing your overall energy and vitality. Since postural changes often begin when we are very young, it is also important to get your children checked.
Stress is something we all encounter at different levels during various times of our lives. Not all stress is bad. An intense workout for a fit 25 year old would be considered constructive stress, while the same workout for an out of shape 65 year old would be considered deadly stress. What matters most is how our bodies are conditioned to handle stress, because let’s face it no matter who you are, stress will arise at some point for everyone. Many factors go into being prepared for physical stresses including a balanced nutritious diet and regular exercise. At the foundation of this fitness though is having a healthy functioning nervous system and a sound structural foundation.
Our spine houses our nervous system and is often overlooked when thinking of overall health, yet it is a known fact our nervous systems control every single thing we do as human beings. For this reason it is vital to take special care of our spines. When we experience stress, our muscles tense up, especially the musculature in our necks and back. If there are any “weak links” in the spine this muscle tension can cause joint strains with misalignments, which we call vertebral subluxations. These subluxations can potentially put pressure on nerves and slow down the message going through it. Our bodies are generally very resilient when it comes to various stressors, but when they persist without being addressed, they can have a dramatic impact on overall health. Chiropractic specializes in analyzing and correcting these vertebral subluxations. As practitioners of a natural and prevention-oriented health care science, we do our best to educate patients on reducing stresses in their lives.
Sports and Chiropractic
In the world of athletics, injury prevention and recovery are vital to competing at the highest level. More and more athletes from the professional to high school and junior high levels are utilizing chiropractic services to maximize performance, minimize injuries, and maintain health for their respective athletic arena. Chiropractors’ long held philosophy on natural non-invasive healthcare combined with their expertise in the neuromusculoskeletal system aligns them perfectly with athletes wanting to stay at the top of their game.
Many elite level athletes today are utilizing chiropractors throughout the world. Athletes at these high levels are paid millions of dollars for what they are able to do. With such rewards at stake they do not trust just anyone with their bodies, which attests to the validity and results of chiropractic care. Jerry Rice can be found in recent issues of ESPN the magazine and Sports Illustrated as a new spokesperson for the Chiropractic profession. Many professional sports teams are now employing Doctors of Chiropractic on their sports medicine teams as well. If multimillion-dollar athletes and athletic teams are investing in chiropractic care, you can be assured that it can help at all levels of athletic performance.
Whether you are looking to prevent athletic injuries, recover from one, or you are looking to function at your absolute best, chiropractic care should be a member of your team.
Shoulder, Arm and Hand Problems
Problems in the arms and hands can actually originate in the neck or upper thoracic area of the spine. The nerves that branch off the spinal cord in the neck run through the shoulder area and all the way down to your fingers. Since the nervous system controls everything in your body, our first priority is to examine the spine in order to get to the most likely cause of your problem.
There are instances through where misalignments of the shoulder, elbow, wrist, or joints in the hand can lead to pain and dysfunction. Once all spinal causes of dysfunction have been ruled out, we will address any joint misalighnments in the extremity to restore proper joint function. Gentle manipulation of joints can often get a “stuck” joint repositioned and moving properly again allowing normal function to return and pain relief. We will also often recommend specific strengthening and range of motion exercises to reinforce the work we do in the office. As with any care in our office, if your problem falls outside our “scope” of practice, we will refer you to the proper specialist.
Hip, Knee, Ankle and Foot Problems
Similar to arm problems, joint dysfunction in the legs can be addressed through chiropractic care. Our feet are the foundations on which we stand and because of that they experience a great deal of stress from carrying our body’s weight through normal daily activities. If a joint is not functioning properly in the foot it can often work its way up the leg and even into the lower back. This process can also work in reverse. Joint misalignments are often effectively treated with chiropractic manipulations. The hip, knee, ankle, and foot are all areas in which conservative care can reap huge rewards if caught early enough.
As with the arm, our exam of any leg complaint will include a thorough spinal exam to rule out any problems which are originating from this area. Our whole body is intricately connected, therefore addressing spinal dysfunction can often clear up leg complaints, and vice-versa, restoring proper joint function in the legs can often restore proper balance to the low back.
Sciatica is a term used to describe irritation of the Sciatic Nerve, which is the largest nerve in the human body. It originates from nerves exiting the spinal column in your lower back and runs all the way down to your toes. Common symptoms of sciatica are numbness and tingling or sharp shooting pains running through the buttocks and down the backside of the leg.
The two most common causes of sciatica are spinal disc injuries and restrictions from the muscles of your buttocks, most commonly the piriformis muscle. There are many factors that can contribute to these two problems, but some of the more common ones include sitting for prolonged periods of time, lifting/twisting type injuries, poor posture, repetitive motion and muscular deconditioning (i.e., being out of shape).
Chiropractic can even help disc injuries by reducing or eliminating nerve pressure though a combination of manipulations, stretches, and exercises. There are many different and effective approaches to mobilizing an injured area to relieve nerve compressions and clear the way for proper healing.
Chiropractic and Children
Childhood is when our bodies are growing and changing at a rapid pace. It is also when we put our bodies through many unpredictable challenges. It begins with the birthing process which, though natural and wonderful, can be quite traumatic in and of itself. We experience countless falls, scrapes, bruises, and sometimes even broken bones. While we use and abuse our bodies our whole lives, it is safe to say childhood is when most injuries tend to occur.
Because our bodies are changing and growing so much during this time, it is vital to make sure we are developing and growing properly. A chiropractic evaluation can be vital to proper growth, as Chiropractors are uniquely skilled in detecting postural distortions and joint dysfunction. Since posture habits are established at a very young age, it is important to assure children have a healthy foundation to establish good body mechanics for the rest of their lives. Early detection and correction may be the best gift you can ever give your child.
Chiropractic adjustments are very safe and effective for children as well as their parents. The adjustment of children is extremely gentle and often given with less pressure than is used to check the ripeness of fruit. Children require far less adjusting as well, since they do not have the accumulated years of abuse and damage that most adults have. The longer problems go unaddressed, the more difficult it becomes to make proper corrections. Chiropractic care can give your child a solid foundation for their future health.