What is Chiropractic Intervention?
Chiropractic care, recognized as a complementary or alternative health practice in the U.S., is becoming a sought after treatment for pain control in children and adults, alike. Chiropractic interventions are used to improve forms of musculoskeletal pain, including low back, shoulder, neck, headaches, hand and foot problems, as well as for particular health conditions, such as Cerebral Palsy, fibromyalgia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The Greek word “chiropractic” means “hand practice” or therapy done by hand. Chiropractic care is a hands on approach to treatment which often centers around the adjustment to the joints and spine in a way that influences the human body’s nervous system and natural defense mechanisms for the purpose of alleviating pain and improving health and wellness.
There are 2 million children and nearly 18 million adults in the United States who’ve received chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation during a 12 month period, based on the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, or NHIS. The analysis found that children who have parents that use complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, services are twice as likely as other children to utilize complementary health services, as well.
As a matter of fact, in 2007 the CDC National Health Statistics Report #12 indicated that rehabilitation and chiropractic services would be the next most popular form of CAM treatments used on children. CAM therapies were most widely used on children for the following purposes:
- Back and neck pain, 6.7 percent
- Head or chest cold, 6.6 percent
- Anxiety and stress, 4.8 percent
- Other musculoskeletal health issues, 4.2 percent
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, 2.5 percent
- Insomnia, 1.8 percent
Although there is little in the way of formal studies on the effects of chiropractic care for use on individuals with Cerebral Palsy, you will find reports from the chiropractic community that demonstrated improvements for the following conditions:
- Back pain or other problems
- Drooling (release of the TMJ-muscles)
- Gait patterns
- Hypertonic musculature
- Joint pain or stiffness
- Muscle contractures
- Neck pain or other problems
- Pain and tension
- Scoliosis or curvature of the spine
- Sleep difficulties
- Other musculoskeletal conditions
Simply explained, the brain communicates with the body. Chiropractic care is established in improving the manner in which brain control and muscles work together. The neuromuscular system sends messages from your brain, down the spine and in the nerves. When there’s interference, the body isn’t able to be effective.
Chiropractic intervention aims to enhance the structural facets of the body to clear the pathway for the brain to communicate with the nerves. This can result in improved strength, balance, flexibility and coordination abilities, especially in the extremities. One intervention does not fix all, instead the intervention chosen and the location of treatment are relative to the symptom being addressed. Since Cerebral Palsy affects people differently, assorted chiropractic treatment methods are utilized to address specific issues.
History of the Evolution of Chiropractic Care
Launched in Davenport, Iowa in the late 1890s, chiropractic care has been rooted in holistic notions that, for several decades, rendered the practice controvesial. The contention of those in the chiropractic community that the only source of pain has been spinal dysfunction called vertebral subluxation has been contested by conventional medical practitioners. Additionally, physicians and other critics have questioned the capability of chiropractic care in treating ailments which aren’t connected to the neuromusculoskeletal system.
Although chiropractic care recently has gained acceptance by the medical community because of manual therapy due to its ability to alleviate pain, the practice remains rooted in spinal adjustments and manipulations as a gateway to enhancing a person’s overall health and wellness. Currently, there are chiropractors in practice which are purists, and others that think scientific research has a place in chiropractic care.
There is evidence that chiropractic care can be helpful to children with Cerebral Palsy. Some research suggests that kids that received spinal adjustments may sit and stand with more ease. Also, the research indicated that some children became active, digested food better, slept more peacefully, and appreciated improved coordination following chiropractic care.
In the publication, “Chiropractic Care of Special Populations,” writer Robert D. Mootz reports on some special treatments which have been reported to have enhanced some circumstances of Cerebral Palsy:
- Adjustment of the atlanto-occipital subluxations helped with children who had difficulty with sleeping, personality disturbances, and hypertonic musculature.
- Upper cervical spine adjustments created clinical improvements in a 5-year-old male with quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy.
- Adjustments can be helpful in cases of cranial dysfunction in the sphenobasilar junction in children who have a history of birth trauma or head injury where motor tracts of the medulla may be compromised.
- Manual release of the TMJ-related muscles, such as the masseter and temporalis, may ease excessive drooling.
- Myofascial release may be used to assist in decreasing the severity of spinal distortion and aid in stabilizing gait patterns in children with spastic Cerebral Palsy who have muscle contractures in the paraspinals, lateral thigh muscles, lower extremity abductors, Achilles tendons, and wrist extensors.
What is Chiropractic Care?
Chiropractic care is considered a manipulative and body-based therapeutic system which has an impact on the human body’s systems and structures, such as the bones, joints, soft tissues, and neuromuscular system, which are manipulated beyond their passive range of movement and with proper use of force. It is a treatment which uses the adjustment and manipulation of the spine and joints to ease pain. The spinal manipulations are made using the chiropractor’s hands, and therefore are known as “adjustments.” The dysfunctions or abnormalities at the joints of the spine are known as “vertebral subluxations.” Vertebral subluxations are a group of symptoms in the spine.
Many people seek chiropractic care to address:
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Spinal discomfort
- Inability to sit or stand
Chiropractic care is determined by three main concepts, which are:
- Reductionism: attributing the cause of pain or illness to vertebral subluxation alone.
- Conservatism: committing to non-invasive interventions as a mode of treatment.
- Homeostasis: emphasizing self-healing.
These three notions are heeded by both traditional, purist chiropractors and “mixers” chiropractors which are influenced by evidence-based scientific findings and fundamentals. Mixers can introduce other treatments to bring relief to people including:
- Ice and heat
- Vitamins and nutritional supplements
- Homeopathic or holistic medicine
However, all chiropractors use the simple tenet of this profession, vertebral subluxation, as the centerpiece of all clinical treatments, together with a combination of other interventions.
Which are the Advantages of Chiropractic Treatment, also When is Care Advised?
Although there have been several studies that assess the impact of chiropractic care on children with Cerebral Palsy, several of which have been completed have shown that children respond well to treatment.
In a 2006 study, initially published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research suggested that kids with Cerebral Palsy that were determined to have subluxations showed improvement in their mobility after one month of chiropractic care. One child demonstrated improvement in her ability to sit up, walk, and ambulate following 22 spinal alterations.
In a research published by the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, it was determined that a 2-year-old boy with Cerebral Palsy was relieved of many symptoms that interfered with his freedom and ability to sleep. Following seven months of care, he was able to pull himself into an upright position and was sleeping frequently. Although, other characteristics of his condition, such as uncontrolled movements, persisted.
Individuals in several walks of life, by the elderly to children, seek chiropractic care. Many indicate that they recognize significant relief from spinal adjustments and manual manipulations. However, individual advantages are dependent on a child’s condition at the beginning of care; parents with the advice of the child’s primary care physician, will want to ascertain how chiropractic care fits in with a child’s overall treatment program.
What Happens During Chiropractic Care?
At the start of a chiropractic appointment, a complete medical history will be taken to acquaint the practitioner of the symptoms that an individual is coping with. From there, a series of exams and evaluations will happen.
Among the very first of these will be an X-ray, which ought to offer some valuable information about the condition of a child’s spinal column. This information often includes:
- Misalignments (subluxations)
- Muscle tone changes
- Tissue abnormalities
A physical examination will assist the chiropractor to find a child’s source of pain. When the assessment is finished, the chiropractor will recommend a plan of treatment, which is very likely to include adjustments. If they suspect that another condition is causing pain or discomfort, a referral will be issued.
A chiropractor will utilize several techniques to ascertain in which a subluxation, or misalignment, is present. The most frequent procedures which will help the chiropractor decide which adjustments will be necessary to bring relief to a child are:
- Static palpitation – when a practitioner uses his or her hands to detect signs of misalignment
- Motion palpitation – when a doctor moves bones to separate them
- Leg check – moving the legs to reveal spinal subluxation
An adjustment is finished when the joints of the spine are moved past the point at which they would normally proceed in a way where it does not damage or dislocate the joints. Doing so will require the chiropractor to use gentle force and educated expertise to finish the moves. Notice, untrained individuals should not attempt to perform these procedures on another person.
There are several specific kinds of adjustment which can be used to aid a child. They include, but are not limited to:
- Diversified movement – full spine manipulation
- Activator technique – using a device to adjust the spine
- Cox technique – low-force adjustment
- Gonstead technique – using a specific path to adjust the spine
These adjustments will be created over a period of time, comprising of several appointments, to help a patient recover motion and minimize discomfort.
Chiropractors most often operate private practices, but often, their services can be found in other medical settings such as:
- Physician’s office
- Assisted living centers
- Residential facilities and nursing homes
Who Offers Chiropractic Care?
Chiropractors offer a wide range of services and, based on where an individual resides, the scope of their duties may vary. In a small number of countries, chiropractors are allowed to perform minor surgeries and write prescriptions, for others, these functions are prohibited.
Internationally, demands to practice as a chiropractor vary. In the United States, a chiropractor needs to complete a professional degree program. Accredited programs require an applicant to complete 90 credit hours of undergraduate instruction, and many others require students to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Doctors of chiropractic, nevertheless, must complete an intensive program that revolves around healing arts that many consider to be challenging in a medical college. A doctor of chiropractic, or chiropractor generally pursues a bachelor’s of science degree prior to attending a chiropractic college.
Bachelor’s degree coursework contains:
Chiropractic college curriculums include further coursework, in addition to hands-on instruction and clinical study that lasts four or five years.
Licensure is required to practice in the USA. Most states will grant licenses for those who have successfully completed an accredited program and passed an examination administered by the National Board of Chiropractic examiners.
Healthcare practitioners that choose to provide additional services such as acupuncture or massage might have to pursue other courses of research and certificates if they intend to supply these services personally.
Are There Special Considerations or Risks for Chiropractic Therapy?
Generally, chiropractic care is considered safe. In the hands of a fully-qualified practitioner, chiropractic care may cause some mild discomfort, but it should not be painful. If a child complains that treatment is extremely uncomfortable, or painful, a parent must inquire into the issue by requesting the chiropractor why this is happening. If a parent is uncomfortable with the answer, he or she should seek the care of another healthcare practitioner or chiropractor.
Often throughout the process of making an adjustment, a child and their parents will hear a popping noise. This occurs when gases escape from fluids that surround joints. This is similar to popping that happens in the joints of the feet or ankles; it isn’t indicative of a critical illness. Also, to the untrained eye, the quick and quirky alterations could appear alarming to people unfamiliar with chiropractic interventions.
Tips for Choosing a Chiropractor
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, or NCCAM, a division of the National Institute of Health, which is considered the lead agency for scientific research on diverse medical and health care practices, when choosing a chiropractor, the individual must inquire:
- Their experience in coordinating care with conventional health care providers
- Their experience in delivering care to children
- Their education, training and licensure
You also need to inquire about their experience and expertise in treating children, or adults, with Cerebral Palsy.
NCCAM also recommends that when considering an alternative and complementary wellness approach for a child:
- Make sure the child has an accurate diagnosis from a licensed healthcare provider.
- Understand the potential risks, benefits and effectiveness of the specific strategy.
- Discuss any and CAM approaches with the child’s primary care physician before agreeing to this therapy protocol, particularly with the physician that abroad your child’s care plan so that there’s not any conflict with other kinds of therapy.
- Never use any health product or practice which hasn’t been shown safe and effective to substitute or delay conventional care or prescribed drugs.
- When a health care practitioner indicates a CAM approach, don’t increase the dosage or length of this treatment beyond what is advocated without professional approval.
- Discuss any and all concerns about the effects of a CAM strategy with your child’s main health care provider.
- To ensure coordinated and secure care, inform all your child’s healthcare providers about any CAM strategy your child uses, giving them a full picture of what you do to manage your child’s wellbeing.
Dr. Alex Jimenez’s Insight
More so now, than ever before, people are turning to alternative and complementary medicine to treat a variety of injuries and/or conditions, especially Cerebral Palsy. An increase of CAM treatment methods can offer more therapy options for people or children with CP. Although CP has no cure, a person with Cerebral Palsy can benefit from alternative and complementary medicine. Chiropractic care has been demonstrated to help improve other symptoms associated with CP. Furthermore, chiropractic care used together with physical therapy and rehabilitation can help restore some strength, mobility and flexibility for people and children with Cerebral Palsy.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic as well as to spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez
Referenced from: Cerebralpalsy.org
Additional Topics: Sciatica
Sciatica is medically referred to as a collection of symptoms, rather than a single injury and/or condition. Symptoms of sciatic nerve pain, or sciatica, can vary in frequency and intensity, however, it is most commonly described as a sudden, sharp (knife-like) or electrical pain that radiates from the low back down the buttocks, hips, thighs and legs into the foot. Other symptoms of sciatica may include, tingling or burning sensations, numbness and weakness along the length of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica most frequently affects individuals between the ages of 30 and 50 years. It may often develop as a result of the degeneration of the spine due to age, however, the compression and irritation of the sciatic nerve caused by a bulging or herniated disc, among other spinal health issues, may also cause sciatic nerve pain.
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