Chiropractic Health Is All Inclusive

Chiropractic medicine today is committed to addressing the overall health of their patients, rather than simply realigning your spine to relieve that persistent kink in your neck or that nagging sciatic nerve. While chiropractic medicine has always espoused that their unique services ultimately affect the entire body, as all of the body’s nerves originate in the spinal column, today there is even more recognition that there are many areas in daily life that directly affect our overall health. For example, stress affects our mood, our reaction to stimuli and how we carry ourselves. As a result, a typical stress response could include depression; lack of adequate nutrition, rest, and exercise; poor posture and, possibly, unhealthy coping behavior. All of which, could add up to neuromuscular pain or injury. 

Your local chiropractic professional will assess your needs and address your particular concerns with combined solutions, such as massage therapy, personal training, nutritional counseling, the use of herbs and minerals, homeopathy, posture correction and even, perhaps, some faith based guidance. The aim of this type of customized coordinated care is to achieve satisfactory improvement faster, without the need for long-term treatment. In addition to the standard spinal care and extremity adjustments, you may benefit from exercise instruction or speed and agility training. Other areas addressed can include a wide range of ailments, from allergies to fatigue, migraines, or hormonal issues. 

Because your body is uniquely you, your individual treatment plan will vary according to your specifically identified needs. Today you can benefit from your chiropractor’s total health approach, with less pain and more energy being the ultimate goal. Your chiropractor can help your body heal itself, naturally, as you find a mental, physical and spiritual balance.

What Do Chiropractors Do?

Chiropractic medicine is a well-accepted medical field yet many people have only a vague idea of what chiropractors do. If you are one such person, you may be surprised to know that there is much more to chiropractic treatment than bone-cracking spinal adjustments. Chiropractors typically administer a number of therapeutic modalities to remedy muscular-skeletal problems (back pain, neck pain etc.), and to treat a range of related diseases. Below are the main therapies practiced by chiropractors.

Manual therapies

Chiropractors are trained first and foremost to perform spinal and joint manipulation. These chiropractic adjustments involves manually maneuvering the joints using quick, dynamic movements to release pressure within the joint and trapped synovial folds. A chiropractor may also perform spinal and joint mobilization, which involves applying a gliding force to mobilize stiff joints.

Massage therapies

Many chiropractors are trained in massage techniques. They may use neuromuscular therapy to manually stimulate and manipulate soft tissue (muscle) for improved muscular functioning, pain reduction, and healing.  Myofascial release, a form of massage targeting the myofascial tissue, and trigger point therapy, a massage technique which targets tight, hypersensitive spots in the muscles, are also commonly practiced by chiropractors.

Physical therapy

Chiropractors are often qualified to provide physical therapy. The chiropractor will do an evaluation, provide education, and create a customized program of physical rehabilitation designed to relieve pain, improve mobility, correct posture, and build muscle strength. A physical therapy program may include things like corrective exercise (weight lifting, stretching, foam roller exercises etc.), ice therapy (cryotherapy), and electrical muscle stimulation.

Nutritional services

Some chiropractors also provide a nutritional counseling service. The chiropractor will evaluate the patient’s diet and perform assessments such as organ functioning and food sensitivity tests.  A nutrition program, often including detoxification and nutritional supplements, will then be designed plan to address any systemic deficiencies and meet the patient’s nutritional needs.

A Chiropractor’s Education

Did you know that the educational requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among the most stringent of any health profession? Chiropractors can treat a wide variety of health issues.  Among the most common health problems seen by chiropractors are lower back pain, neck pain, headaches, whiplash, and injuries from auto accidents.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, the typical chiropractor has a four year pre-med degree that includes courses in biology, chemistry, physics and psychology. Beyond that, the person has to undergo four years of professional study at an accredited chiropractic college, a three or four part state administered test to receive a license and periodic educational requirements to maintain that license. 

While pre-med undergraduate programs are numerous, accredited chiropractic colleges number just 18, located regionally around the United States. The curriculum is accredited by an agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. 

Just like other doctoral students, chiropractic students focus on evaluating and treating patients.  And similar to medical students, they have to spend at least a year in a clinical situation working directly with patients.  

Once they graduate, chiropractic students have to become licensed in order to practice. All 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, require chiropractors to carry licenses, which are granted only after the candidate passes up to four parts of the National Boards, depending on their area of specialty. There is also an oral examination. 

Once you are licensed to practice chiropractic, you still have to undergo additional education in most states. This can be as much as 40 credit hours every couple of years. 

So, if you think that chiropractors are pseudo doctors or some sort of elite physical therapist, think again. In many cases, chiropractors actually have much more training and education than your average general practitioner.

Choosing a Good Chiropractor

If you are suffering from lower back pain, headaches, injuries from a car accident, or other ailments and have decided to seek relief through chiropractic care, you next step is to find a chiropractor who will be a good fit for you.  Since chiropractic care is often a long term proposition, you should try to be careful in your selection of a chiropractor because you will be seeing that person on a regular basis for several months or more.

First, you should understand that there are two basic approaches to chiropractic treatment and care.  Straight chiropractors focus primarily on manual adjustments to correct misalignments of the spine or joints.  Their practice is founded on the belief that all health issues are the result of these misalignments and they do not incorporate other types of therapy into their practice.

Mixer chiropractors take a more holistic approach.  They believe that misalignment of the spine and other joints are one of many possible causes of health issues and incorporate other types of treatment into their practice.  Along with adjustments to the spine and joints, mixer chiropractors may also use massage, physical therapy, diet, nutrition, and other therapeutic approaches.

Once you decide what type of chiropractor is best suited to you, try to find one whose office is not too far away.  As mentioned previously, chiropractic care involves a series of adjustments and treatments over time and if the office is inconvenient, you are likely to miss some sessions which will reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.

Unlike a traditional medical practice, chiropractors have somewhat standardized fees and can generally give you a good idea of what the treatment will cost.  This is important for many reasons, not the least of which is that some health care plans provide limited coverage for chiropractic care.  In addition, the care will not achieve the desired results if you stop going because you can’t afford it so don’t be shy about asking for a cost estimate.


Chiropractic Care Basics

Chiropractic care has been around since the early 20th century, but it suffers from many misconceptions.  It is often ridiculed by the mainstream medical profession, but for over 100 years millions of patients have found relief for pain, including headaches and back pain, weakness and other ailments through chiropractic care. 

Chiropractics is based on the belief that when bones and joints, especially the spinal column, become out of alignment, it interferes with the impulses traveling through the nerves.  Bones that are out of alignment are referred to as “subluxated” and the interference of the nerve impulses causes dis-ease. 

The primary treatment technique in chiropractic care is the manual manipulation of the spine and other joints to allow the bones to return to their properly aligned position and correcting the subluxation. 

Most people believe that the chiropractor forces the bones or joints into alignment.  However, although there are many different techniques for performing adjustments,  manual manipulation is intended to allow the bones to naturally return to their proper state. 

Chiropractic adjustments are often accompanied by a “popping” sound that most patients think is the sound of the bones moving into the proper position.  In reality, these popping noises are the sound of the harmless release of small pockets of gas trapped in the joint.  In many cases, an adjustment will not make any sound at all.

Since the muscles surrounding a joint had grown accustomed to the position of the subluxation, the joint will usually try to return to the subluxated position.  Often, many adjustments will be needed over a period of weeks or months to “re-train” the muscles to hold the joint in the proper position.  For the same reason, some chiropractors will combine chiropractic treatment with strengthening exercises, massage therapy, and other techniques.

Chiropractic Treatment for Tennis Elbow

Elbow pain manifests itself in several different forms, all of which are very painful.  The most common are Tennis Elbow, also called lateral epicondylitis, and Golfer’s Elbow, which is technically called medial epicondylitis and can also be referred to as Pitcher’s elbow or Tommy Johns Syndrome. 

All of these painful conditions are overuse injuries and can be caused by playing sports or any other repetitive activity such as typing or hammering..  The tendons in the patient’s elbow become inflamed and cause pain in the elbow, forearm, and wrist.  There are surgical options, but fortunately the vast majority of patients can achieve a full recovery without surgery. 

Chiropractic treatment can be very effective in resolving Tennis Elbow, especially when used in combination with other therapies to reduce the inflammation, relieve tension in the muscles and tendons, and release any adhesions.  Your chiropractor will use various treatment techniques in addition to chiropractic adjustment to achieve the optimal results.  Depending on the case, your chiropractor may prescribe heat and/or cold therapy, massage, ultrasound, and electrical muscle stimulation. 

Most courses of treatment will also include a course of strengthening and stretching exercises to help avoid future injuries.  Each case is different, but most patients will be fully recovered in two or three months and will not need long term treatment.

If you are suffering from Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow, Pitcher’s Elbow, Tommy Johns Syndrome, or other elbow pain, you owe it to yourself to explore relief through chiropractic care before resorting to invasive surgical techniques.  Most patients experience an excellent outcome in a few months without surgery.  Surgical intervention is not only invasive, but requires much more lengthy recovery time.