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What's Chiropractic?

7/25/2005 11:46:00 AM

by Stacey Chillemi


Neck pack? back pain?







Greylock Chiropractic Center








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NECK PAIN

Neck pain affects a significant number of individuals. Recent studies have found more than 10% of Americans suffer from neck pain at any given time.

The reason is that the neck region contains many delicate, pain sensitive structures commonly exposed to abuse and abnormal stresses. Incomplete rehabilitation of past injuries, poor posture, prolonged sitting, and lack of periodic spinal alignments are some of the more common factors in the development of neck problems.

Fortunately, most individuals suffering from neck problems will find chiropractic care extremely beneficial. Unlike prescription drugs, most chiropractic procedures address the cause of the majority of neck problems. Best of all, chiropractic care is safe, natural, and noninvasive... no side effects allowed!

NECK PAIN TREATMENTS
Doctors of chiropractic have long known that the most successful treatments involve the identification and correction of the underlying causes of the condition. That's why chiropractic care has been so successful in the correction of back and neck conditions and the number one choice for back and neck care.

Identifying The Cause
The first step in treating neck pain is to determine what has and is causing the neck pain. Once the causes and contributing factors are identified, a successful treatment plan can be structured to eliminate pain and achieve the goals of the patient.

The Treatment
The chiropractic treatments for neck pain incorporate the use of many therapies, all of which are gentle, safe, natural and noninvasive. However, the true power of chiropractic care is found in the chiropractic adjustment - the most effective and essential treatment employed by the chiropractor. The reason? Quite simply, the spinal adjustment corrects the major problems that the majority of neck pain sufferers have.

Most individuals experiencing neck pain have either:
1. Suffered an acute accident such as whiplash, where the structural integrity of the neck has been altered and tissue damage has occurred, or
2. Exposed to long period of adverse neck and spinal stresses most commonly from bad or improper postural habits and techniques.
In both cases, the spinal components are almost always structurally misaligned and biomechanically faulty. In other words, the vertebrae and their supporting structures have lost their "optimal" positioning and their movements are occurring in an inappropriate and stressful manner. The only effective and long-term way to correct the structural malpositions and improper biomechanics is to realign the spinal segments and restore normalize motion. This is the job of the spinal adjustment. In addition to restoring positioning and motion, the spinal adjustment also produces a reflexive relief of pain and reduction in muscle spasm. This is due to the high number of mechanoreceptors in the joints of the vertebrae which are stimulated through the chiropractic adjustment. Research has shown that stimulation of these mechanoreceptors sends signals to the brain which shutdown pain signals and result in muscle relaxation. Also, the adjustment helps to eliminate inflammation through the introduction of motion; inflammatory chemicals are known irritates to pain fibers.


HEADACHES

According to the latest research, 9% of men and 12% of women in the U.S. experience at least 1-2 headache episodes per month. And, more than 4% of the U.S. population suffers from frequent headaches, defined as headaches that occur at least 180 days a year. Needless to say, headaches have become a social and economic burden in the United States, as well as other parts of the world.

Scientists have identified over 300 causes for headaches. Various pain-sensitive structures and tissues including the skin, subcutaneous tissue, muscles, arteries, periosteal bone covering, and the upper cervical and facial nerves produce headaches when irritated or injured. Fortunately, only a handful of causes are responsible for the majority of headaches.


The most common of these headaches include:

Cervicogenic- problems within the neck
Muscle-tension- neck and upper back muscular spasms
Post-traumatic- following head/neck trauma, i.e. whiplash
Drug-induced- from analgesic overuse
Migraines
Cluster

Doctors of chiropractic successfully help thousands of individuals everyday obtain safe, effective, long-term relief from their headaches. This is because most headaches have a spinal, muscular, or habitual component which the chiropractor has been trained to identify and treat. In fact, surveys show that 10-25% of patients initiate chiropractic care for the relief of headaches.

Chiropractors successfully treat thousands of headache sufferers everyday. According to surveys, as many as 25% of the individuals seeking chiropractic care do so for the treatment of headaches.

Chiropractic has such good success in the treatment of headaches because most headaches are either soft tissue or neurologic in nature. Also, a significant portion of headaches originate in the tissues of the neck. And since chiropractors focus their treatment on the soft tissues of the spine, which includes the neck, the majority of headaches can be successfully managed with appropriate chiropractic care. Best of all, chiropractic treatments consist of only safe, natural, and noninvasive therapies that focus on correcting the cause of headaches, and not simply the short-term masking of symptoms.


LOW BACK PAIN

If you're suffering from lower back pain you're not alone. More than 80% of North Americans will at some time in their life suffer from the disabling confines of lower back pain.

According to experts, lower back pain is the number one disability culprit in workers' compensation claims and accounts for more than $50 billion annually in the US through medical care and lost production. In addition, the latest research shows most lower back problems which cause low back pain do not fully resolve without extensive treatment and proper rehabilitation, contrary to previous beliefs.

The chiropractic doctor is unique in the health care field in that much of the training in chiropractic colleges is specifically aimed at identifying and successfully treating and managing lower back conditions. General medical practitioners generally lack adequate training in this area and have not learned the skills necessary to most effectively identify and treat most back conditions.

LOW BACK PAIN TREATMENTS
Doctors of chiropractic are the health care leaders in the treatment of low back pain as well as other spinal conditions. Treatments are gentle, safe, natural, noninvasive and highly effective. Also, the treatments are designed to correct the root cause of your problem and not simply cover up the symptoms you experience. In fact, a Canadian government commissioned study on the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of chiropractic management of low back pain concluded,

"Chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low back pain. Chiropractic management is greatly superior to medical management in terms of scientific validity, safety, cost-effectiveness and patient satisfaction." - The Manga Report

IDENTIFYING THE CAUSE
The first step in treating low back pain is to determine what has and is causing the low back pain. Once the causes and contributing factors are identified, a successful treatment plan can be structured to eliminate the pain and achieve the goals of the patient.

Most individuals experiencing low back pain have a combination of:
vertebral subluxations
faulty spinal biomechanics
deconditioned and weak spinal musculature
improper firing patterns of spinal musculature
poor postural habits
poor diet and nutritional practices
a history of activities (work or play) generating high levels of spinal stress

THE TREATMENT
Chiropractic doctors have successfully treated low back pain for over 100 years. Through the use of natural and safe procedures, chiropractors correct the underlying problems which cause and contribute to the majority of low back pain cases.

The main treatment employed by the chiropractor is the chiropractic spinal adjustment. This noninvasive therapy consists of a gentle, manually or mechanically applied force into the segments of the spinal column. Spinal adjustments have been shown to decrease pain, increase spinal range of motion, decrease muscle spasm, reduce inflammation, optimize spinal biomechanics, and reduce the recurrence of old injuries. Clinical practice guidelines for the management of acute low back pain released by the US Department of Health and Human Services (AHCPR) stated:

Conservative treatment such as spinal manipulation should be pursued in most cases before considering surgical intervention; Prescription drugs such as oral steroids, antidepressant medications and colchicine are not recommended for acute low back problems. The risk of serious complications from lumbar spinal manipulation is rare.


A BRIEF HISTORY OF CHIROPRACTIC

The first recorded chiropractic adjustment was performed on September 18, 1895, by Dr. Daniel David Palmer, a Canadian-born teacher and helter. Dr. Palmer was, at the time, studying the cause and effect of disease. His patient was Harvey Lillard, a janitor working in the same building as Dr. Palmer in Davenport, Iowa. Mr. Lillard, who had complained of hearing problems for over 17 years, allowed Dr. Palmer to examine his spine. Dr. Palmer discovered a "lump" on Mr. Lillard's back and suspected that a vertebra might be out of place, which he then repositioned the vertebra with a gentle thrust. After several such treatments, much of Mr. Lillard's hearing was restored.

Since Dr. Palmer's first chiropractic adjustment, the art and science of chiropractic has progressed significantly. Today, advanced diagnostic procedures, sophisticated equipment, scientific research, and the growing acceptance among other health care professionals makes chiropractic a popular health care choice.


THE ABCs OF SUBLUXATION'S

The term subluxation means minor misalignment however the affects on the human body as a result of a subluxation on the upper cervical spine can be far from minor. In the simplest of terms, a subluxation is when one or more vertebrae (bones in your spine) move out of line and create pressure on spinal nerves. Spinal nerves are the nerves that come out from the vertebrae in your spine. Pressure on the nerves can cause interference with the signals traveling through them - leading to numerous health related problem.
Chiropractors commonly recognize five categories of components present in the Vertebral Subluxation Complex (VSC).

•Spinal Kinesiopathology - is where the bones of the spine become stuck, don't move enough, or move too much.
•Neuropathophysiology (abnormal nervous system function) - nerves can become overexcited and hyperactive. Due to the way the spine is engineered, abnormal spinal function can irritate, pinch, rub or choke the delicate tissue of the spinal cord and nerve roots.
•Myopathology (Abnormal Muscle Function) - is when over-developed muscles on one side of the spine cause individual vertebrae to rotate and lose proper function. When muscle function declines muscles that support the spine respond in different ways, the spine can weaken or even atrophy.
•Histiopathology (Abnormal soft tissue function) - inflammation and swelling due to injured disc accompany the accumulation of blood and lymph - causing a rise in temperature.
•Pathophysiology - when there is a trauma to a joint, one of the ways your body responds is the stabilization of the area by forming new bone! With time, calcium deposits build up, eventually as abnormal bony growth. This arthritic 'splinting' of bones is nature's attempt to stabilize the injured joint.

Vertebral subluxations are displacements of the spinal bones (vertebrae) that can cause stress to your spinal cord and nervous system. Subluxations may be caused by poor sleeping habits, poor posture, strenuous exercise, injuries, auto accidents, sports, slips or falls, and in some cases, the birthing process itself.

Chiropractic adjustments are very helpful in correcting subluxations and restoring optimal health.


CHIROPRACTIC PHILOSOPHY

The chiropractic perspective on health and disease emphasizes two fundamental concepts:

1) The structure and condition of the body influences how the body functions and its ability to heal itself;

2) The mind-body relationship is instrumental in maintaining health and in the healing processes.

Although chiropractic shares much with other health professions, its emphasis and application of philosophy distinguishes it from modern medicine. Chiropractic philosophy gravitates toward a holistic ("total person") approach to healing which combines elements of the mind, body and spirit and maintains that health depends on obedience to natural laws, and that deviation from such laws can result in illness.


WIDESPREAD USE OF CHIROPRACTIC CARE

The increasing interest in alternative forms of care has caught the attention of several health associations and government agencies. A 1993 study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that "The estimated number of visits made in 1990 to providers of unconventional therapy was greater than the number of visits to all primary care medical nationwide," and chiropractic was among the most frequently used non-medical therapies. A followup report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 found that the use of nonmedical treatments had increased significantly since the 1990 survey, with "overall prevalence of use increased by 25%, total visits by an estimated 47%, and expenditures on services provided by practitioners of alternative therapies by an estimated 45%." Of the survey respondents, one in nine (11%) had used chiropractic care within the previous year.


HEALTHY TIPS FOR A HEALTHY SPINE

The following tips can help you take better care of your spine:
1) Make sure you have a firm mattress that keeps the spine aligned and supports the spine's natural curve. The best sleeping positions are on your back or side.
2) When standing for extended periods, rest one foot on a small stool to maintain spinal curvature and relieve pressure. The knees should be bent when bending forward. Low-heeled shoes may help by maintaining spinal curvatures and cushioning your weight.
3) Use chairs that promote good posture and support your back. Placing a lumbar support in the lower portion of your back may help support your spine's natural curve. Readjust the seat of your car so that your knees are level with your hips.
4) When bending forward, bend at the knees and hips, but keep your back straight. This will help to keep your spine's curvature in proper alignment. When lifting, keep your spine straight while using your legs to do most of the work. Hold the objects being lifted close to your body to keep the weight on your spine to a minimum.






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