What Is Chiropractic
Chiropractic is a branch of healthcare which concerns itself with the alignment of the bones of the spine. A doctor of chiropractic is a health professional with at least three years of university education and four years of training at an accredited chiropractic school. Chiropractors use their hands to assess the alignment of the spine and to deliver gentle, specific, “high velocity, low amplitude” adjustments to correct any misalignments they find.
The bony spine has many functions; one of the most important is to protect the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots. These delicate structures transmit information from body to brain and from brain to body.
If the bones of the spine become misaligned (from birth trauma, accidents, sports injuries, improper lifting and twisting, poor posture, etc.), then the resultant inflammation, muscle spasm and disc distortion will alter the nerve’s ability to transmit information. The nerves become “irritated” and their functioning is changed leading to symptoms of ill-health and often pain.
Who Can Benefit From Chiropractic Care?
Anyone with a spine can benefit from care. Really! Because chiropractors are specialists in musculoskeletal anatomy and function, they are trained in the assessment and treatment of people at every age and stage of development.
I Thought Chiropractic Care Was Just For Back Pain.
Back pain is a very common symptom of spinal or vertebral misalignment. It is estimated that 80% of the Canadian population will suffer from low back pain at some point in their lives and 20% of us are suffering right now! Because of its prevalence, a great deal of research has been done to study the effect of chiropractic care on low back pain and the results are extraordinary. But, just as dentists do more than fillings, chiropractic has more to offer than low back pain relief.
Symptoms that may indicate a need for chiropractic care vary according to which vertebrae (bones of the spine) are misaligned. Each nerve leaving the protection of the bony spine is responsible for controlling or collecting information from a different area or structure of the body. There is a growing body of evidence that conditions such as colic, bed wetting, “growing pains”, headaches, asthma, painful periods, high blood pressure, etc. can benefit from chiropractic care. Conditions such as these, however, represent an extreme disturbance to normal functioning. Ideally, regular chiropractic care maintains a healthy alignment of the spine, minimizing mechanical irritation of the nervous system and maximizing optimal function.
How Often Should I See a Chiropractor?
How long you want to benefit from care is entirely up to you. Just as dentists suggest regular maintenance care to correct potential problems before they begin, your chiropractor will suggest regular visits to find and correct physical and postural stresses that, over time, may lead to obvious symptoms of pain and ill-health.
If you were to present to a chiropractor with an obvious complaint, care would focus on diagnosing the issue and creating a treatment plan to guide your body through the phases of healing until a stable, mobile, symptom-free stage is attained. Visits during this time are more frequent and close together in order to support your healing tissues and to continuously introduce the correct spinal alignment. Once a healthy spine is yours, your chiropractor will suggest regular maintenance visits at an interval of once every two to four weeks in order to support your spinal health as you move through life.
Once I Start, Do I Have to Keep Going?
No. It is a common misconception that once a person starts chiropractic care his or her spine becomes weak and he or she needs to continue care forever. In fact, a well-aligned spine is stronger and more resilient not less. The truth is, once people experience the benefits of chiropractic care, most chose not to suffer the stiffness and discomfort that they used to experience before care opting instead to use chiropractic care to stay healthy, active, and pain-free for life!