Chiropractors: What Do They Do?
Modern chiropractic started in the late 1800s when Daniel David Palmer, a self-educated teacher, healer and chiropractor performed the very first spinal manipulation on a patient. Chiropractic is the third largest area of medicine today. The word chiropractic comes from Greek words meaning “treatment by hand”, which is exactly what chiropractors do—they use their hands to manipulate the body and promote healing and wellness.
A doctor of chiropractic (DC), chiropractor or chiropractic physician, is a health professional who is trained to diagnose and treat disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Chiropractors treat patients of all ages, infants, children, and adults. They believe in a traditional (non-surgical) hands-on method of treating these disorders.
The chiropractic philosophy is dependant on the following belief statements:
- All bodily functions are connected as well as the healing process requires the entire body.
- A healthy nervous system, especially the spine, is the important factor to your healthy body. The spinal cord carries advice throughout the body and is accountable for many bodily functions including voluntary movements (such as walking) and involuntary functions (like respiration). When the systems of the body have been in equilibrium, it is called homeostasis. Disorders of the bones, muscles, and nerves increase the risk of disorder along with other health problems and can disrupt homeostasis.
- When body systems are in harmony, the human anatomy gets the extraordinary ability to keep well-being and treat itself.
They use traditional diagnostic testing strategies (like x-rays, MRI, and laboratory work) along with specific chiropractic techniques that involve hands-on manipulation of the articulations (joints) of the body. Nutrition and healthy lifestyle counseling is also offered by chiropractors. Chiropractors elect not to prescribe medication, plus they do not perform operation; however, many chiropractors work with medical doctors and certainly will refer a patient when needed.
Chiropractors believe among the main reasons for pain and disease is the misalignment of the vertebrae in the spinal column (this is known as a chiropractic subluxation). Through the usage of manual detection (or palpation), carefully applied pressure, massage, and manual manipulation of the vertebrae and joints (called adjustments), chiropractors are able to alleviate pressure and irritation on the nerves, restore joint mobility, and help return the body’s homeostasis.
Some chiropractors dedicate their practices exclusively to finding and removing subluxations. But in addition to using manual adaptations, most chiropractors offer other treatment modalities such as the following:
- Herbal therapy
- Heat/cold therapy
- Electric muscle stimulation
- Manipulation under anesthesia
- Exercise programs and teaching
- Lifestyle and nutrition counselling
- Physical rehabilitation
Additionally, many chiropractors have considerable postgraduate training and become board certified in some specific areas of interest such as:
- Sports medicine
- Physical rehabilitation
- Diagnostic radiology
- Internal Disorders
- Forensic sciences
Disorders That Chiropractors Treat
Chiropractors diagnose and treat many different spinal disorders that cause musculoskeletal or nerve pain. Similar to other kinds of physicians, a chiropractor performs a neurological and physical examination as part of her or his process of making an accurate diagnosis. X-rays or CT scan studies may be ordered to confirm your diagnosis. Several spine-related problems that might be assessed and treated by chiropractic care.
Back sprains/strains the tough bands of tissue that hold bones become torn or overstretched sprains are caused. Strains involve a muscle or a tendon. Either one can occur when you lift too much weight, play with a strenuous sport, or even bend or twist improperly during the day. The pain may be aching, burning, stabbing, tingling, sharp, or dull.
Cervicogenic headaches are caused by known neck pain. The pain from this type of headache is usually felt and/or behind the eyes, in the temples, in the back of the head. A headache may be confused for migraines or cluster headaches.
Coccydynia is pain that develops in the spine’s tailbone. Some people who ride a bike for a long time or who fall down may develop coccydynia, which may get worse when sitting. The pain starts without any cause.
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is usually associated with aging. As you become older, your discs break down because of years of strain, overuse, or misuse or — the pillow-like cushions between your vertebrae — can degenerate. The discs may lose shock absorption, elasticity, and flexibility. They become thinner as they dehydrate.
Herniated disc usually occurs in the neck or low back. A herniated disc can lead to pain once the outer ring (annulus) or interior matter (nucleus pulposus) presses on a nearby nerve root.
Myofascial pain is a chronic pain illness where pressure on sensitive points in your muscles–known as trigger points–can cause deep, aching pain in seemingly unrelated parts of your body. This is called referred pain. Sometimes myofascial pain feels like a “knot” in your muscle, and happens after a muscle is used repeatedly.
Piriformis syndrome may occur when the piriformis muscle (a lean muscle located in the buttocks) compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve. Symptoms may be called sciatica and may include pain and/or sensations (tingling, numbness) that travel down through the buttock(s) and to one or both legs.
Sciatica may occur when the sciatic nerve or a branch of the sciatic nerve is compressed or becomes bloated. Sciatica’s hallmark is moderate. Some people with sciatica describe the pain as sharp, like an electric-shock, or shooting.
Short leg or leg length discrepancy is also called limb length discrepancy (one leg is shorter than the other).
Spondylosis or spinal osteoarthritis may affect the spine’s facet joints or other bones. This kind of arthritis is associated with aging.
Whiplash is a hyperflexion/hyperextension injury commonly occurring when a automobile is rear-ended. The neck and head are “whipped” suddenly and quickly forward (hyperflexion) and backward (hyperextension), which may lead to severe neck sprain and/or strain.
Chiropractic services have many benefits for the young, old, and anyone in between.
Realistically, not everyone needs a chiropractic adjustment right now. Like many aspects of personal health, it is dependent on each person’s physical condition. However, it is impossible to know whether chiropractic care is necessary until you have actually been examined by a chiropractor.
The following are some of the many benefits chiropractic services can provide patients throughout their lives.
Many parents wonder if choosing a chiropractor is safe for young children. The short answer is yes. Pediatric chiropractic care is fully endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association, and chiropractors receive pediatric training as part of their doctorate studies.
Now more than ever, the spines of children today are subjected to many types of stresses that can cause misalignments, including: wearing heavy backpacks, increased use of computers and mobile devices and sports injuries.
Chiropractic care can address these issues, and has also been successfully used to treat everything from colic, chronic ear infections and back and neck pain.
Many teenagers are involved in sports. Poor posture habits and hefty backpacks can also negatively impact your teen’s spine. Chiropractors help with lower back pain caused by athletic activities and help minor injuries heal more rapidly.
Since an aligned spine reduces pain and stiffness, it enables a body to become more flexible and stronger. Regular adjustments may help your teen perform better and improve overall health.
The benefits of chiropractic care continue and expand into adulthood. Here we see neck and spinal adjustments frequently used to rehabilitate automotive, work and sports related injuries.
Military and commercial pilots often seek out chiropractic care due to long hours sitting in awkward positions and from being subjected to extreme g-forces in high performance aircraft.
Adult patients have also indicated many other positive results from chiropractic care, including:
- Feeling less stressed
- Better sleep
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced feelings of depression
- Less chronic pain
- Fewer headaches
- Improved pregnancies
One of the more common myths about chiropractic care is that seniors are considered too old and frail to benefit from it. In reality the opposite is true. Older patients who undergo spinal manipulation have reported many significant quality of life improvements.
Chiropractic has come a long way since its beginnings. Due to its success in treating back and neck problems and as a consequence of changing approaches and recent research, chiropractic has become more accepted and is currently considered by many to be a piece of mainstream Western medicine. Actually, many hospitals finally have chiropractors on staff. Chiropractors have also been recognized by the court system as expert witnesses inside their field.
See A Chiropractor, Lead A Fuller Life
My name is Dr. Alexander D. Jimenez, an advanced specialty in chiropractor treating moderate to severe joint and spinal disabilities. Primarily Specialty Practice Directives: Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sport Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal mobility, health, fitness, and structural conditioning. We also use patient focused Diet Plans, Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, and Therapeutic Cross-Fit Protocols. We are the premier facility focused on the “PUSH-as-Rx ®™ Functional Fitness System” to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. No matter the age, limitation, or functional impairment, there is a place, level, protocol and safe procedure for our patients.
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