Since its formal foundation in 1895, the chiropractic profession has grown into the second largest of the primary health care professions. In the mid-1970s, chiropractic experienced rapid growth and acceptance – largely as a result of positive research findings that validate the benefits of chiropractic care. In the United States, chiropractic is now included in major insurance and Federal programs, such as Medicare. Legislation has also been enacted calling for inclusion of chiropractic services in both the military and the Veterans Administration. Still, many people are unfamiliar with chiropractic and how it may benefit their health.
What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a natural method of healing, advocating a non-surgical, non-invasive, and drugless approach to the treatment of patients. Grounded in a view of the individual as an integrated being, the Doctor of Chiropractic focuses on spinal health and wellness as the keys to overall health and well-being.
Because of the interrelatedness of the body’s various systems, chiropractic theory holds that spinal mechanics-including the vertebrae, corresponding nerves and soft tissues-play a primary role in the health of the whole body. Structural or mechanical abnormalities in the spine, which cause pain, dysfunction, and loss of mobility to thousands of Americans a year, can be successfully treated.
What does a doctor of Chiropractic do?
The primary treatment for spinal dysfunction (spinal misalignment or subluxation) is a procedure known as vertebral adjustment, or more generally, spinal manipulation. An adjustment is a technique in which the chiropractor skillfully applies pressure to an area of the spine (or other joint) that is not functioning properly or is out of alignment. The procedure is often, but not always, applied manually. The result is reduced pain and inflammation, and restored function to the injured area.
In addition to adjustment or manipulation, patients may also receive a treatment plan that uses physiological procedures, such as inter-segmental traction, trigger point therapy, spinal disc decompression, controlled exercise, and other professional advice that may improve overall health.
Patient progress under chiropractic care will be carefully monitored. Subjective improvements and objective clinical findings will be noted and treatment will be modified to meet the patient’s changing condition.
How does Chiropractic work?
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 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 “crack.” The sound sometimes shocks people a little bit the first couple times they get adjusted, but the sensation is usually relieving. Treatment does not hurt. There are times when the audible “cracking” does not occur. The chiropractic adjustment is very important. When the joint is back in alignment it can begin to function normally. This means functioning without pain and with more range of motion. It relieves nerve interference allowing proper nerve flow. The wiring is fixed. Information is flowing again. To keep the wiring fixed and the information flowing, several adjustments over a course of time may be necessary, in addition to muscle trigger point therapy, disc decompression, intersegmental traction, and stretching 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).
Bone Component-where the vertebra is either out of position, not moving properly, or are undergoing degeneration. This frequently leads to a narrowing of the spaces between the bones through which the nerves pass; often resulting in irritation or impingement of the nerve itself.
Nervous Component-is the disruption of the normal flow of energy along the nerve fibers, causing the messages traveling along the nerves to become distorted. The result is that all of the tissues that are fed by those nerves receive distorted signals from the brain and, consequently, are not able to function normally. Over time, this can lead to a whole host of conditions, such as peptic ulcers, constipation and other organ system dysfunction.
Muscular Component-since nerves control the muscles that help hold the vertebrae in place, muscles have to be considered to be an integral part of the vertebral subluxation complex. In fact, muscles both affect, and are affected by the VSC. A subluxation can irritate a nerve, the irritated nerve can cause a muscle to spasm, the spasmed muscle pulls the attached vertebrae further out of place, which then further irritates the nerve and you have a vicious cycle. It is no wonder that very few subluxations just go away by themselves.
Soft Tissue Component-the VSC will also affect the surrounding tendons, ligaments, blood supply, and other tissues as the misaligned vertebrae tug and squeeze the connective tissue with tremendous force. Over time, the soft tissues can become stretched out or scarred, leaving the spine with either a permanent instability or restriction.
Chemical Component-is the change in the chemistry of the body due to the VSC. Most often, the chemical changes, such as the release of a class of chemicals called “kinins,” are pro-inflammatory; meaning that they increase inflammation in the affected area.
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.
What are the benefits?
Chiropractic’s health benefits are so much greater than the relief of back or neck pain. Chiropractic is whole-body health care with the vision to see the body as much more than the sum of its parts. The science of chiropractic emphasizes the relationship between the spine and the nervous system, and how that relationship affects function and health. Spinal misalignments (known as vertebral subluxations) can interfere with the transmission of information from the brain, over the spinal cord and/or nerve roots to any or all systems of the body. The resulting altered information produces altered function and lowered resistance, which often results in symptoms and disease. Dr. Limon uses a broad range of techniques to locate, analyze and gently correct vertebral subluxations. She will do this so that the body’s communication system can work more effectively to initiate, control and coordinate the various functions of the cells, organs and systems of the body. Dr. Limon’s chiropractic approach to health care is holistic, stressing the patient’s overall well-being. She recognizes that many factors affect health, including exercise, diet, rest, environment and heredity. Chiropractic focuses on maintaining optimal health naturally so that the body is better able to resist disease, rather than simply treating the symptoms of disease. Dr. Limon uses natural, drugless, non-surgical health care and relies on the body’s inherent recuperative abilities. Her vision encompasses the entire individual in all of its unique complexity, and she works in partnership with her patients to ensure optimal health and wellness in all facets of their lives.
All information provided on this website is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to be a substitute for consulting with your physician.