Chiropractic doctors practice natural, drug-less, non-invasive health care and rely on the body’s ability to self-heal. Sounds ideal, but just how does it work?
We look at the whole picture. Like other healthcare providers, we follow a standard routine to gain information about the patient. We consult, review the case history, conduct a physical examination, and we may request laboratory analyses and/or x-rays.
Unlike other healthcare providers, however, chiropractic physicians also conduct a careful analysis of the patient’s structure and pay particular attention to the spine. We also ask you about your life— Do you eat well? Exercise at all? How do you deal with stress? Do you have children? What do you do for work? And so on.
We seek the origin of the problem
Using this information, a diagnosis is made. Included in the diagnosis is the probable reason for your pain or discomfort. It is important to note that chiropractors seek the origin of the illness in order to eliminate it – we do not simply treat the symptoms.
If your roof is leaking, do you simply catch the drips in a bucket for years on end, or do you repair the roof to prevent it from leaking? Similarly, if the migraine headache you’ve had all week is being caused by a misaligned vertebra and an irritated nerve, do you continue to take pain killers indefinitely, or do you realign the vertebra to prevent the pain? You get the picture.
Chiropractors have a term for misalignments - subluxations or joint fixation. A vertebral subluxation is a misalignment of the bones that protect the spinal cord. It’s a leak in the roof. Or a kink in the wiring of your nervous system. Joint fixations can occur outside of the spine as well, for example within the shoulders, hips, knees, feet and ankles.
The severity of the joint fixation can vary, and there are a number of potential contributing factors that can be physical, emotional, mental, or chemical. Fixations can be caused by any number of incidents, from birth trauma to an auto accident to simple repetition or overuse, such as athletic activity or sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time.
Then we help you fix it
When a subluxation occurs, a chiropractor can correct the fixed joint to help restore proper motion and function. This procedure is appropriately called an adjustment, and the adjustment enables the body to heal. The leak is fixed. The wiring is fixed. Information is flowing again.
To keep the wiring fixed and the information flowing, several adjustments over a specific time period may be necessary, in addition to massage, physiotherapy, stretching exercises, or strengthening exercises. In the chiropractic world, keeping the problem fixed and preventing its re-occurrence is just as important as the initial remedy.
Another important aspect of chiropractic care is understanding that the patient’s improvement is the responsibility of both the doctor and the patient. You will be active in your own care. This is essential to optimize the care you receive.