Frequently Asked Questions
What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is the art, philosophy and science that revolves around the brain to body connection. The brain controls the body through a network of nerves that travel down the spinal cord, exit through foramen, which are openings formed by two vertebrae and travel out to its intended muscles and organs. When vertebrae are out of alignment, the foramen spacing changes which can cause irritation or impingement of a nerve which in turn decreases the signals sent from your brain to your body - this is what Chiropractors refer to as a subluxation. Subluxations can be summed up as a bone out of place irritating a nerve.
What Do Chiropractors Do?
Doctors of Chiropractic care for patients of all ages with a variety of health conditions. Chiropractors are well known for their expertise in treating back pain, neck pain and headaches. Although that is true, it isn't where the true power of chiropractic lies. Chiropractors can often be looked at as "bone doctors" but in reality, chiropractors are more so "nerve doctors." Chiropractors are trained in being able to locate where the aforementioned subluxations are within your spine. These misalignments and subluxations are corrected and with this correction, a patient will experience better brain to body communication and improved function of their nervous system. As you see, it is a lot more than "cracking bones." In fact, I could not stress it enough that chiropractic is more of a wellness and preventative health care approach rather the "go when it hurts" approach.
Is Chiropractic Treatment Safe?
Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal complaints. Many patients feel immediate relief following chiropractic treatment, but some may experience mild soreness, stiffness or aching, just as they do after some forms of exercise. Current research shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours. Neck pain and some types of headaches are treated through precise cervical adjustments. These adjustments work to improve joint mobility, restoring range of motion and reducing muscle spasm, which helps relieve pressure and tension. This is true to any section of the spine. Cervical adjustments, when performed by a skilled and well-educated professional, is a remarkably safe procedure.
How is a chiropractic adjustment performed?
Chiropractic adjustment is a manual procedure that utilizes the highly refined skills developed during a Doctors intensive years of chiropractic education. The adjustment is done typically with the use of hands (sometimes an instrument) to adjust the joints of the body, particularly the spine to restore or enhance function. This will help resolve joint inflammation and reduce pain. Chiropractic manipulation is a highly controlled procedure that rarely causes discomfort. The chiropractor adapts the procedure to meet the specific needs of each patient. Patients often note positive changes in their symptoms immediately following treatment.
What Is The Popping/Cracking Sound?
The sounds that you hear when an adjustment occurs is not an actual "cracking" of bones, but the release of gas bubbles within the joint, known as tribonucleation. Adjustments of a joint often result in the release of these gas bubbles. The same thing occurs when you “crack” your knuckles as previously mentioned. The noise is caused by the change of pressure within the joint, which results in gas bubbles being released. There is usually minimal, if any, discomfort involved.
Adjustment vs manipulation, what's the difference?
Often people will hear that a Physical Therapist or other holistic health care professional "cracks" backs and necks but the key difference here is that of a manipulation versus an adjustment. A manipulation is a manual procedure that involves a direct thrust to move a joint beyond its physiological range but without exceeding the anatomical limit - think of "cracking" your knuckles. There was a sound but a treatment was not necessarily performed. An adjustment is specifically a chiropractic therapeutic procedure that uses controlled force, leverage, direction, amplitude and speed directed at a specific joint to influence joint and neurophysiological function - more than just a sound and "cracking" your back. Chiropractors are extensively trained in delivering adjustments that are specific, meaningful and therapeutic.
What are the benefits of an adjustment?
When a specific adjustment is delivered, your body receives and delivers signals throughout your nervous system. These signals will notify your brain to reduce inflammation, motor neuron excitability and nociceptive-induced symptoms. The adjustment also sends signals to stimulate mechanoreceptive spinal cord pathways, improve proprioception & sensory motor function along with inhibiting nociception transmission. Nociceptors are the sensory receptors for painful stimuli so you can imagine why toning these down is a great benefit of an adjustment.
The mechanism and Science!
It has been postulated that once an adjustment is delivered to the nervous system it causes an increase in the number of mechanoreceptors stimulation due to the stretching of nearby joints. These effects are passed through into the dorsal horn of the spinal cord segments related to the incoming nociceptive impulses. These impulses can synapse with neurons carrying nociception and in doing so will have the aforementioned inhibitory effect.