Chiropractic Questions and Answers

What is Chiropractic?

chiropractic-spinal-modelChiropractic is based on the scientific fact that your body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism. These important functions are controlled by the brain, spinal cord, and all the nerves of the body.
The skull protects the delicate tissues of the brain. The moving bones of the spine protect the vulnerable communication pathways of the spinal cord and nerve roots. If the nervous system is impaired, it can cause malfunction of the tissues and organs throughout the body. Doctors of Chiropractic call this the Vertebral Subluxation Complex.

The Chiropractic adjustment has been proven to increase motion, increase circulation, reduce swelling and pain, and remove nervous irritation. Once this nervous irritation is removed, your body is able to do what it is designed to do – heal itself.

Chiropractic is the Science, Art and Philosophy that concerns itself with the restoration of good health by restoring and maintaining a properly functioning nervous system, without the use of drugs or surgery.

What do doctors of Chiropractic do?

chiropractic-therapy-1There are a number of reasons why people visit a Chiropractor. These may include:

  • Low back pain
  • Stiffness
  • Joint pain
  • Neck soreness
  • Loss of neck or back-range-of-motion-headaches
  • Whiplash
  • Rib pain
  • Chest pain of joint origin
  • Numbness and tingling due to a “pinched” nerve
  • Sciatica
  • Whiplash
  • Some might wish to maintain healthy spinal mobility through chiropractic care.

Chiropractors restore proper motion to joints that are not moving properly. Helping to restore proper spinal biomechanics and improved nervous system function begins with a case history. Your case history is vital as it reveals the background about your health, such as surgeries, accidents, the onset of your condition, and other details which brought you into the office.

After reviewing your history and discussing your specific problem, an orthopedic, neurological, and chiropractic examination is performed. X-ray may be taken which will help uncover structural problems.

What type of education do doctors of Chiropractic get?

basicsToday’s Doctor of Chiropractic is well educated. The science of chiropractic requires a special emphasis on:

  • anatomy
  • physiology
  • pathology
  • neurology
  • biomechanics
  • X-ray
  • spinal adjusting techniques and related subjects.

This demanding curriculum prepares chiropractic doctors to focus attention on the integrity of the nervous and musculoskeletal systems in relation to all other systems, whether healthy or sick.

Before beginning Chiropractic school, chiropractic students need to complete three years of undergraduate education to obtain the necessary prerequisites. A chiropractic student then completes over 4500 classroom hours of health sciences which totals to four years of graduate school to receive a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. However the testing is not complete. Each candidate must then pass both Federal and Provincial board examinations in order to receive a license to practice chiropractic. It takes about 7 years of post-secondary schooling to learn how to be a chiropractor!

A chiropractic education never ends. Most doctors continue to educate themselves by taking postgraduate courses and staying current by reading the latest scientific research.

What is a vertebral subluxation?

A subluxation is when one or more of the spinal bones (vertebrae) are misaligned and causes stress on the spinal nerves. Your nervous system controls and coordinates all the functions of your body. If there is interference with the signals traveling through the nerves, parts of your body will not get the proper messages and will not be able to function at 100% of their innate abilities.

When a subluxation exists, it not only affects that bone, but there are a lot of other issues that are taking place in your spine and other areas of your body. There are five components to a vertebral subluxation which are the following:1. Osseous, 2. Nerve, 3. Muscle, 4. Soft Tissue, and 5. Chemical components.

The osseous (bone) component is the bone and its joint(s) is not moving properly. The nerve component is the nerve having unwanted pressure applied to it decreasing the signals passing through it to other areas of the body. The muscles hold the vertebrae in place so if the bone is out of alignment the muscles react to it. Nerves also innervate the muscles and if the nerve loses some of its signal it will weaken that particular muscle. The soft tissue is the surrounding tissue that is affected such as the tendons, ligaments and blood supply. The chemical component is the last component and consists of chemical changes that actually occur in the body due to the other components of the subluxation.

After a subluxation has existed for a period of time, symptoms will occur. The person may experience pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness. In other cases, the symptoms may go unnoticed except that the person has poor posture, is more susceptible to colds, tires more quickly, or starts having problems with an internal organ.

Remember, the energy, which travels down the spinal cord and through the nerves, serves every area of the body. Therefore, any area of the body can be affected by a subluxation.

Are all patients adjusted the same way?

backNo, patients are adjusted according to their unique requirements. Your chiropractor will determine the best way to adjust your spine after completing an examination.

Many chiropractors will adjust your entire spine, even though you don’t have pain in that area. Pain is not always the best indicator of a problem, as many problems refer pain into other areas. Some patients who complain of headaches may actually have a lower back problem that is causing a compensation reaction at the base of the skull. Other patients may be experiencing numbness and tingling in their fingers when the actual problem is in the neck.

While visits may seem similar, each visit builds on the one before.

Chiropractic care is customized to each patient’s age, condition, and spinal problem.

Is Chiropractic care safe?

There are literally thousands of published scientific studies proving chiropractic’s safety and effectiveness. In the words of the New Zealand government’s inquiry, chiropractic care is ’remarkably safe.’
Chiropractic has an excellent safety record. It is the result of a conservative approach to health that avoids invasive procedures or addictive drugs. In fact, chiropractic adjustments are safer than back surgery, muscle relaxers and even aspirin!

Chiropractic care is a natural approach to better health that is proven safe and effective.

What can I do to help my healing?

There’s a lot you can do to give yourself the best chance for a quick recovery.

Learn proper sitting and lifting methods. Specific exercises may be suggested to help retrain the muscles that support the spine.

Proper rest is an important aspect of the healing process, too. Get the appropriate amount of rest your body needs and avoid sleeping on your stomach.

During the healing process, proper nutrition is more important than ever. Make sure you eat balanced meals, and if you’re overweight, now would be a good time to slim down and reduce unnecessary stresses to your spine. For more help in these areas, please consult with our Registered Nutritional Consultant.

Perhaps most important of all, keep your appointments and follow your chiropractic doctor’s recommendations for optimum results.

Proper rest, exercise, and good nutrition are especially important during the healing process.

Do I need Chiropractic care if I am pregnant?

pregnant-womenChiropractic care can help the spine and pelvis cope with the effects of pregnancy by restoring a state of balance.

During pregnancy, a woman’s center of gravity shifts forward to the front of her pelvis. This additional weight in front causes stress to the joints of the pelvis and low back. As the baby grows in size, the added weight causes the curvature of her lower back to increase, placing extra stress on the fragile facet joints on the back side of the spine. Any pre-existing problems in a woman’s spine tend to be exacerbated as the spine and pelvis become overtaxed, often leading to pain
and difficulty performing normal daily activities.

chiropractic-pregnancy-illustration
Studies have found that about half of all expectant mothers develop low-back pain at some point during their pregnancies. This is especially true during the third trimester when the baby’s body gains the most weight.

Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy can relieve and even prevent the pain and discomfort frequently experienced in pregnancy, and creates an environment for an easier, safer delivery. It is one safe and effective way to help the spine and pelvis cope with the rapid increase in physical stress by restoring a state of balance. Studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments may help to reduce time in labor.

Your chiropractor should be your partner for a healthy pregnancy.

Do children need to be adjusted?
Rio's first visit to Dr. Nischuk

Rio’s first visit to Dr. Nischuk

Since significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns checked. Later, learning to walk, riding a bicycle and other childhood activities can cause spinal problems. While a bandage and some comforting words can help a skinned knee, the unseen damage to the child’s spine is the unique domain of a chiropractic doctor.

Many childhood health complaints that are brushed off as ’growing pains’ can often be traced to the spine. Regular chiropractic check-ups can identify these problems and help avoid many of the health complaints seen later in adults.

Naturally, chiropractic adjusting procedures are modified to a child’s spine. Most parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments.

Chiropractic has been shown to be helpful with scoliosis and many other so-called ‘normal’ childhood health problems.

Bedwetting

young-child-sleeping
A number of clinical research studies demonstrate that chiropractic care can help with bedwetting by removing any irritation that may be affecting the nerves that control bladder function.
Bedwetting is stressful for everyone involved. Lack of bladder control can cause embarrassment, shame, and interfere with normal social development. All of the causes of bed-wetting are not fully understood. There are children whose bladders are underdeveloped for their age and who have difficulty recognizing when their bladder is full. This is much more common in children under four years of age.

If a child, who had been dry at night for a period of time – weeks or months – suddenly starts bed-wetting again, this may be a sign that something is wrong. Most often this happens when some form of stress is in the child’s life: a new baby in the home, moving to a new neighborhood, or a divorce. Bedwetting may also be a sign of physical or sexual abuse or some other disease process. If your child wets the bed after having been dry at night in the past, it is important that they be seen by a doctor. The bed-wetting may be a sign that stress or a disease is causing the problem.

Chiropractic can help by removing any irritation that may be affecting the nerves that control bladder function. These nerves exit an area of the spine called the Sacrum. In adults, the sacrum is one large fused bone that is very resistant to injury. However, during childhood, the sacrum is separated into five individual segments. If these segments become misaligned, due to a fall or other type of trauma, they can compromise the nerves that are responsible for bladder function. While chiropractic is not typically a treatment for bedwetting, countless children have been helped by being adjusted.

In fact, a number of clinical research studies have demonstrated that chiropractic care may help many children suffering from bedwetting.

Colic

colic-babyColic is a condition in young infants characterized by an unusual amount of crying.When they cry, they may draw their arms and legs toward their bodies as though they are in pain and may even turn bright red. Colic usually appears between the 3rd and 6th week after birth and is typically resolved by the time they are 3 months old. Although no one is certain what causes colic, there are a number of things that likely contribute, such as an immature and irritated nervous system, food sensitivities and gastrointestinal upset.
well-adjusted-baby
The theory that an irritated spine may contribute to colic is supported by the frequent improvement in symptoms with gentle chiropractic adjustments. Because the birthing process is very stressful on the neck of a newborn, it is very common for there to be several subluxations in the neck and back that can irritate the tiny and delicate nervous system. It has also been observed that babies with colic seem to need more attention and are more sensitive to the things around them than other babies – again indicating that there are some neurological differences.

Both the mother’s and the baby’s diet can be huge factors in the development of colic. One of the biggest offenders is cow’s milk. Babies should not have cow’s milk, or dairy in any form for that matter, until they are at least two or three years old. Cow’s milk contains the sugar lactose which many newborn babies cannot digest very well, not to mention that cow’s milk contains many proteins that are not good for an infant’s digestive system.
Another potential dietary contributor to colic is the mother’s diet while breastfeeding.Cow’s milk ingested by the mother can contribute to colic even when infants are breastfed in a sensitive baby. Women who breast feed should stay away from spicy foods, alcohol and tobacco, as well as to avoid eating too much of any one particular food. A semi-bland, high-protein diet that excludes dairy is probably best – at least during the first three or four months of breastfeeding.

If your baby suffers from colic, there are a few things that you can do to help:

  • Seek regular chiropractic care, especially during the first four months.
  • Place a warm water bottle on your baby’s stomach.
  • Rock your baby in a rocking chair or cradle.
  • Give your baby a warm bath.
  • Gently rub your baby’s stomach.
  • Go for a drive with your baby in the car seat.
  • Feed your baby more often with less food at each feeding.
  • If you feed your baby formula, avoid soy or dairy-based formulas.
  • If you are breastfeeding the mother should try avoiding all dairy for 2-3 weeks to see if colic eases.
Can I be too old for a Chiropractic Adjustment?

never-too-young-or-old-for-chiropractic-therapyMore and more people are consulting chiropractic doctors, especially in their later years. With growing interest in alternative health, natural chiropractic care is growing in popularity.
Restoring better spinal function can help improve mobility, vitality, endurance and appetite. Many patients report improvement with arthritic symptoms and other chronic ailments often associated with the aging process.

The adjusting technique used by your doctor will be modified for maximum comfort and results. As we get older and wiser, the simplicity and effectiveness of chiropractic care becomes more and more obvious.

Regardless of your age, chiropractic care can help improve mobility and maintain vitality.

How long will I need Chiropractic care?

spine

Spinal problems neglected since early childhood may require ongoing supportive care for optimum spinal function. These long-standing problems are often associated with muscle weakness, soft tissue damage, and degenerative changes to the spine.

Most patients find that periodic chiropractic check-ups help keep them in tip-top shape. Those who are active, have stressful jobs, or want to be their very best, find that a schedule of preventive visits is helpful in the maintenance of good health.

Some patients seek chiropractic care only when their aches and pains become unbearable. Unfortunately this style of ‘crisis management’ is usually more costly and time-consuming in the long run.

How long you decide to benefit from chiropractic care is always up to you.

Periodic chiropractic check-ups (current recommendations are once every six months), like brushing and flossing your teeth, getting regular exercise, and eating wholesome foods is part of a healthy lifestyle.

chiro-consultation
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