What is Chiropractic?
The chiropractic profession started in 1895 and has only grown in evidence and popularity over its more than 100-year history. As modern science continued to improve through the 20th century chiropractors expand upon their knowledge of the human body and its vast interconnections alongside the growing medical community.
The word "chiropractic" was first coined in 1898 with Greek roots and is loosely translated as "done by hand". As a result, chiropractic is the treatment and rehabilitation of neuromusculoskeletal system by hand or in a non-invasive manner. This is primarily done with the classic chiropractic adjustment. The chiropractic adjustment is one of the primary tools used in treatment and has many positive side effects that range from improved nerve flow, increased blood flow, increased mobility, and an arresting the onset or progression of arthritis and other forms of degeneration.
The goals of the chiropractic adjustment are the following:
- Return the joint to is neutral, most biomechanically sound position, thus removing any nervous system irritation
- To distract (separate) the joint being treated
- And to use the bones as levers to affect surrounding musculature, tendons, and ligaments
THE CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENT AND THE SPINE
The human spine has many crucial functions some of which are the following: to protect the spinal cord and all the branching nerve roots, support the upright posture of the human body, and it is involved in most movement of the human body. The human spine is made up of 24 intersegmental levels that move independently of one another. When a joint subluxation develops it disrupts your nervous systems integrity and the joint may become restricted. A joint restriction can occur as a consequence of an alteration in the relative static position of the joint and the limitation of motion between vertebral segment levels. These alterations can come about because of reparative exertions, postural stress, or other factors that may change the function and or structure of those tissues. The end goal of the chiropractic adjustment is to directly change these tissue alterations and consequently reduce any effects they have on related neural structures as well as surrounding soft tissue and biomechanical function.
THE CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENT AND SOFT TISSUE
The changes mentioned above that occur from repetitive motion, single trauma, postural stress, etc. often lead to secondary changes in the soft tissue surrounding the subluxated joint. The surrounding soft tissue consists of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules. A vertebral subluxation can cause contractures in muscles that lead to myofascial tension or trigger points. These can be alleviated or decreased with one or several adjustments depending on the amount of time an individual has had the complaint, their activity level, age, diet, etc. the list goes one. In general, an adjustment can also help bring about healing and improved function in surround muscle tissue as well as the joint. Joint capsules can develop adhesions over time due to subluxations and lack of appropriate intersegmental movement of the spine. This is also treated with the chiropractic adjustment and is one of the goals of the adjustment. The quick stretch of the ligaments and tendons surrounding the joint(s) adjusted can lead to stimulation of the tissue and promote healing in those tissues.
When it comes to a so called “muscle problem”, unless it was brought on by a direct injury to the muscle, the root cause of the dysfunction is a vertebral subluxation. Myofascial spasm or trigger points are often diagnostic of an underlying spinal issue, so if you struggle with chronic “muscle problems”, your spine is in need of thorough exam.
MANAGEMENT OF JOINT DYSFUNCTION LONG TERM
As mentioned above vertebral subluxations are caused by unavoidable repetitive activities with poor biomechanics, postural strain from work or activities of daily living that put repetitive micro trauma into the joints, etc. Therefore, subluxations are inevitable and will occur with our busy and active lifestyles; it is just a matter of time. Most acute complaints or injuries will require a treatment plan of several visits per week for several weeks. However, once proper healing is achieved, function is restored, and symptoms are alleviated visits are lessened with the goal of maintaining the progression with regular chiropractic care. Once this has been attained treatment is typically considered wellness or maintenance care and this is where our patients begin to experience true health. A nice benefit of maintenance care is that it will decrease the overall number of patients visits over time as well as the total cost of maintaining your health. It is very important for patients to follow their treatment plans as prescribed by their chiropractor in order to achieve long lasting results, as the effects of the adjustment are cumulative.