MisunderstoodA chiropractic doctor is probably one of the most misunderstood healthcare practitioners in the medical profession. Through the years they have been looked at askance by doubters who are full of suspicion. In times past, they have been called quacks, or worse. This is due, in part, to the public's narrow and limited view of medical treatment - being that solely of administering prescription drugs and performing surgery. It's unfortunate that the majority of people believe this is all there is to health care. There truth is there is more to health care than drugs and surgery! A great deal more!Sad to say, but even some chiropractic patients haven't a real clear understanding of what chiropractic is. And for those who have never been to a chiropractor, most are totally misinformed as to the make up of the profession. The fact is chiropractic is the largest drug-free form of health care and the third largest form of any health care in North America. What is Chiropractic?The word "chiropractic" is a blending of the Greek words cheir (hand) and praxis (action) and means "done by hand." Chiropractic is an alternative medical system in that the practitioner takes a different approach from conventional medicine in diagnosing, classifying, and treating medical problems.Essentially, chiropractic focuses on the relationship between the body's structure - primarily that of the spine - and the body's function. Doctors of chiropractic use hands-on therapy called manipulation (or adjustment) as their core procedure.Comparable to an MD? So is the training of a chiropractor as rigorous as that of a medical doctor? The answer is a resounding, yes. Today's doctor of chiropractic receives an extensive educational background beginning with three years of pre-chiropractic study. From there they advance into a four-year course of study. A student of chiropractic spends as many hours in the study of human physiology as that of a medical doctor. Chiropractic programs require a minimum of 4,200 hours of combined classroom, laboratory, and clinical experience.The difference between the education of an MD and that of a chiropractor lies in the fact that an MD trains in pharmacology and surgical procedures and chiropractor trains in the care of the spine.Worth the Cost?Some will assert that it costs too much to go to the chiropractor. However, the opposite is true. The fact is that oftentimes when a person is treated by a chiropractic doctor for one certain symptom, the adjustments (treatments) result in a higher level of overall health and well being. This leads to cutting back on prescription drugs, preventing the need for surgery, and slowing down the aging process. Those who benefit from chiropractic treatments look at it as an important part of their ongoing health maintenance, similar to that of regular exercise or visiting their local health spa. They now know the difference - how they felt before chiropractic treatments and how much better they feel now. A survey of patients of chiropractors in an independent physicians' association found that, when asked if they would recommend their Doctor of Chiropractic to others, 95.5% of the patients said "yes." 1A chiropractor is a whole health practitioner who is concerned not just about your symptoms, but your overall state of well being. What your doctor of chiropractic can offer, no other doctor can. Have no doubt that a chiropractor is well trained to assist you reach your own personal optimal health. 1 http://www.neffchiro.com/research.htm Chiropractic Leadership Alliance
Is Chiropractic Treatment Dangerous?
Chiropractic Leadership Alliance Not all Chiropractors are the same. In order to pick the one that is best equipped to handle your specific issues, you first need to understand the different kind of healing methodologies practiced by chiropractors. Below we will explore the two main methodologies you need to understand to choose the best chiropractor:1. Relief/Maintenance Care: Both mixed and straight chiropractors practice relief. However, the straight doctor offers immediate relief, whereas the mixed doctor offers long term treatment plans. You've heard of people who have suffered for decades with back pain, then go to a chiropractor, and then come home happy as a clam, free from pain, right? Well, those people went to see a straight chiropractor. The doctor was able to relieve the pressure in the back, and provide instant relief. The downfall here is that in relief care, the results are often temporary. As chiropractors, aside from reform specialists, are not traditional doctors, they cannot prescribe medicines, nor can they do invasive surgeries. Thus, they cannot physically correct all types of disorders of the spinal cord. This is where the concept of 'maintenance' comes in. When a straight chiropractor provides care for a patient, they often refer them to a mixed specialist, who can provide a long term treatment plan. These professionals provide regular office visits to help maintain the proper alignment, and keep the pain from reoccurring.2. Corrective Care: In the corrective care methodology, the goal is to completely repair the body. The therapies are meant to be long term, and the medicine used is both in the traditional and chiropractic fields. Both mixed, and reform, doctors offer this type of care. If you have a type of spinal injury that can be corrected, or suffer from skeletal issues that can be adjusted, then corrective care is probably where your doctor will send you.From diagnostic medicine, to minimally-invasive procedures (by certified Reform doctors), corrective care is perhaps the most productive, and long term results driven type of chiropractic care. This does, however come at a cost. As most corrective care specialists offer traditional medicine, as well as pharmacological care, the costs can be much higher than just relief/maintenance care. This is natural, as to FIX a problem will always cost you more, than when you use a simple 'band aid' approach. Understanding what type of healing methodology a potential Chiropractor practices will help you pick the right one for your unique needs. Knowing if you want a quick fix or a longer term result is also vitally important. All of those decisions will allow you to choose the best possible care, for the best possible price.Daily in my interactions with my patients and in the Bellevue community I am asked one simple question over and over. That question is "How do I know if my friends or family need to be seeing a chiropractor?" It's a great question! I have developed 10 tests and questions that can determine if you need to be evaluated by a doctor of chiropractic.1. The Head Turn TestTry turning your head as far as you can to the left and to the right. The first thing that you want to look for is if either of these motions are painful at all. The second thing that you will want to look for in this test is if on one side or the other (either right or left) you can turn further than the other side. Normal range of motion (or being able to turn your head to the right and the left) is being able to turn your nose parallel with your shoulder. Is there pain on these movements or are any of them reduced?(YES) If there is any pain or if one side or the other is unable to turn as far as the other side this can be a possible sign that there is something wrong in the bones of the neck. From the time that we are born our necks go through a lot of abuse. From the actual birthing process, falling while learning how to walk, to the many injuries that we get through life, the neck is vulnerable to being injured. A Chiropractor would be able to diagnose exactly what the cause o f the pain is or what is causing the reduced range of motion in your neck. Many times when you experience pain or reduced range of motion in your neck this means that either the joints that connect the bones are stuck in place, or that the bones are out of alignment. These problems may lead to headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, arm and hand pain, and many other more severe problems. Joints that are stuck and bones that are out of place are what chiropractors primarily treat on a daily basis. This is one big sign that you should be seeing a chiropractor.2. The Shoulder Pinch TestHave you ever had someone give you a back rub and felt that your shoulders were very sore? That soreness can be from dysfunction in the bones that those muscles are connected into. Try this...take your pointer finger and your thumb and gently pinch your trapezius muscle (this is your shoulder muscle). Is it sore? If so this may be due to referred pain (pain that comes from a problem somewhere else), or trigger points in the muscle.(YES) This may be due to referred pain (pain that comes from a problem somewhere else), or trigger points in the muscle. There are many times that muscle pain and soreness are due to areas of the spine that are out of place. Because the muscles hook into the bones, when the bones pull out of place they pull on the muscles and create dysfunction. Daily, as a chiropractor I find that when I correct the spinal problem the muscle problem goes away.3. The Stand on One Leg Test Get up out of your chair for the next test to see if you need to be seeing a Chiropractor. Standing up strait close both eyes. Now with your eyes closed try to stand on just one leg for as long as you can. No peaking! Not as easy as it sounds is it? Now try doing the same thing with the other foot. You should have no problem standing on one leg for 20-30 seconds. How did you do?(0-20 seconds)If you had a problem getting to 10 seconds let alone 30 this may be a sign that there is some dysfunction in the joints of your body. Each joint of the body from the tips of your toes to the top of your head has little sensors in them that are linked to the brain. These little sensors tell the brain where the body is at in gravity. Try this little activity to show these joint sensors in action. Close your eyes again...don't worry no more standing on one foot...extend your arm and index finger out to the side as far as you can, and with your eyes closed touch the tip of your nose (yes this is the drunk person test!). The fact that you were able to touch your nose and know where your arm was with your eyes closed shows that the sensors in your elbow and shoulder are working fine. The problem comes when the joints get injured. An injury to any joint of the body, but especially the joints in the low back, pelvis, and legs will disrupt the joint sensors ability to tell you were you are at with your eyes closed. So if you had a hard time standing on one leg for very long, it may mean that your joints are not working as well as they should be. When you go to the Chiropractor they will be able to diagnose the specific joints that are not working and make adjustments to those joints to restore function. Proper function in the joints means your brain can once again communicate with your body!(20-30 seconds) Wow, I am impressed! Amazingly enough many people have a hard time making it to 10 seconds let alone 30! When the joints of the body can not tell the brain where they are at, imbalance occurs. This miscommunication most commonly occurs when the joints are damaged (like a sprained ankle), or if they are in dysfunction (because they are out of place, or stuck in place). Chiropractors help joints heal and work in a proper manner, allowing the joints to communicate with the brain.4. Have You Ever Been in a Car Accident?(YES)If you have been in a car accident of any kind lately you need to be seeing a Chiropractor. Car accidents can, and usually do cause injury to the neck and even the low back that, if left untreated can lead to worse problems in the future and even degeneration of the spine. Recent research suggests that even low impact (or fender benders of even 5MPH) can cause damage to the spine, and especially the bones of the neck. A Chiropractor will evaluate your spine by doing specific tests as well as take x-rays to look for any damage to the bones and motion x-rays to look for any damage to the ligaments (the things holding the bones together), and joints.5. Do You Have Decreased Energy?(Yes) Low energy can be an indication that there is a problem going on in the body. Poor diet, poor sleeping habits, even dehydration can be causes of low energy levels. Another common reason is improper mechanics in the joints of the body and especially the spine that takes a huge toll on the body. The longer that this dysfunction stays in the joints the more likely it is that you will use much more energy to the same activities that before used little to no energy. A chiropractor is able to diagnose poor joint function, correct the problem and allow your body to return to the way that it was meant to function.6. Are You Achy in Morning?(YES) Waking up stiff and achy in the morning is a sign that there is a problem in the joints of the body. When a joint in the body is not working the way it should because it is out of place, it is sprained, or if it is not moving properly, the body will fill that joint up with swelling. This swelling happens the most when you are not moving joint (this is because if you move a joint, some of the swelling is pumped out), and the time you are not moving for the longest period of time is at night when you are sleeping. This is the reason that you may wake up stiff and achy and by the time you get moving around and into the shower you a loosened up a bit more. Many times we have found that if we restore proper function to the joints, by realigning them and getting them moving better, the morning achiness is reduced or goes away entirely.7. Do You Suffer From Headaches?(YES) Headaches can be a horrible thing to suffer from! According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) in Atlanta, Georgia, as many as 45 million Americans suffer from severe headaches. Sadly, the number of people being affected by severe headache pain continues to grow each year. There are many types of headaches, but one of the most common types is called a cervicogenic headache. This type of headache actually starts in the neck. When the bones of the neck get out of place it puts a tremendous amount of stress on the nerves, blood vessels, and even the brain. In response to this the body gives you a head ache to let you know that there is something wrong. It is a lot like the oil light in your car. When the oil light comes on in your car it is a warning that the oil is getting low. What do you do when you see this light? You change the oil of course. It is the same thing in the body, when you have a head ache you have to remove the reason for the headache, which many times is a misalignment of the bones of the neck from injury, poor posture, a traumatic birth, or even falls as a child! I have found that when you realign the bones of the spine a huge majority of the time the heads go away or are greatly reduced!8. Does your current job require you to spend long hours sitting or engaging in repetitive motions? (YES) You are not alone! Most of Americans have jobs that keep us in a seated position for most of our days. The problem is that we are not made to sit for extended periods of time. When you sit, especially at the computer you are most likely putting your head, neck, mid back and low back in a very vulnerable position. The longer that you sit the more likely it is that you are creating dysfunction in the neck, mid back, and low back. This dysfunction could be fixations in the joints (the joints getting stuck) or even misalignment's of the bones and joints. These dysfunctions can lead to degeneration and even disturbances in your nervous system. If, at points during your day you feel the need to stretch your neck, or your shoulders are starting to feel "tight" it is important that you are examined by a chiropractor.9. Are you 50 years of age or older and suffering from multiple muscle/joint problems?(Yes) Every day we are alive is a stressor to our bodies. As we grow older the joints and muscles in our bodies tend to weaken and become more vulnerable to these stressors. Proper alignment and movement in the joints is vitally important to weak muscle and joints. If any of the bones or joints are not in proper alignment or are not moving well this can create pain, stiffness, weakness, and instability. It is especially important to the aging body to maintain proper joint function. If you are over the age of 50 and suffering from any joint or muscle problems you need to be seeing a chiropractor.10. Have you suffered an injury (e.g. sprained ankle, pulled muscle, pulled disc, etc.) from which you are still feeling after-effects despite sufficient healing time, medication or other forms of therapy?(Yes) This can be a common experience. When you injure an area of the body many things occur. There is what we call "soft tissue" injuries which is what a sprained ankle, or a muscle tear is. This part of the injury that can be very painful. Many times though this is not all that is wrong. Along with the soft tissue damage, the bones and joints can also be injured. In some cases the bones and joints can even become misaligned. This is very common in the neck (i.e.-whiplash injuries) and the low back (i.e.-lifting injuries). If there is any type of misalignment of the joints this will keep the area from healing completely. This is the reason why an injury can become a nagging injury that continues to give pain long after the time it should have healed. A chiropractor will analyze the injured area and determine if your injury caused any type of misalignment to the joints. If they find that it has then a gentle chiropractic adjustment will help realign the joints.
Spinal Traction in Chiropractic Medicine
Chiropractic Leadership Alliance Do you suffer from painful recurring headaches? Do you have arthritis? Are you experiencing pain and discomfort? Have you been in an accident? Are you looking to increase your health? Are you suffering with breathing issues or acid reflux? Do you pain in your feet or hands? Are you pregnant and looking to increase your comfort? Are you recovering from a car collision?If you answered yes to any of the above, then you are likely going to be looking for find a chiropractor.What makes a chiropractor better than over-the-counter pain relievers and primary care physicians? They believe in natural health care.A chiropractor may use x-rays, nerve scans and MRIs to diagnose a problem, especially after a car accident. The treatment, however, is hands on, literally. It is known as a manual therapy. Chiropractors perform adjustments where precision force is used with the hands to thrust joints into their proper position, relieving pressure off of nerves. For most, this results in a reduction or elimination in pain, as well as increased mobility.If you like the sound of chiropractic care, you may be ready to schedule an appointment. First, you need to familiarize yourself with chiropractors in and around your area. But how? A standard internet search is a good way to start. Look online using a search engine for the top rated ones in your area. You will easily find sources of social proof and reviews on sites like Google, RateMDs, YellowPages and more. There are often even reviews found on social media sites such as Facebook that you may find helpful.When performing a standard internet search, search with your city and state/province. You will be linked to a number of websites. Some of those are directories, where many chiropractors are listed. These websites are similar to phone books; they provide you with just the names, address, and telephone numbers of local care providers. What you want to look for is chiropractor websites. In addition to getting the contact information, you should get in-depth information about the provider, such as specialties, background, and see pictures of the office.Once on a chiropractor's website, you should look for testimonials, either verbal or written, about the clinic. See if any of the stories relate to your condition. See if there are other people with a similar problem that have been helped.An online business directory can also be useful. Many websites serve as online business directories. From Yahoo and Google, select "Local," from the main heading. Enter in your city and state and the phrase "chiropractor." You will see local listings for nearby chiropractors. Most only include your specific city, but you can expand the search to nearby communities. Some online business directories link to you to provider websites, if they exist. Many also enable ratings and reviews.The most trustworthy source may just be recommendations from those you know. Since many North Americans, insurance providers, and employers are now embracing chiropractic care and realizing the many benefits, its popularity continues to increase. You may know someone who has seen or uses the services of a chiropractor. Ask those that you know, such as friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors. Ask for the name, address, and phone number. Be sure to ask for feedback too. Call the office that you are interested in. Ask to see if they are a proactive clinic that uses some of the more advanced diagnostic equipment. Does the doctor simply feel for the problem with his hands, or does he use x-ray, nerve scanners, MRIs or other to help decipher the underlying cause of the problem before starting treatment.In addition, ask them if they are equipped to adjust according to your special needs, if they exist. Are they wheelchair accessible? Do they offer low-force treatments for those that require it or prefer? Do they have any advanced education in pediatrics or pregnancy if this is for a mom or a child? Do they have any equipment specifically designed to help seniors who have difficulty maneuvering? There are many good questions to ask, before deciding if that chiropractor is right for you.There are many ways to find chiropractic care providers in or around your community. Once you familiarize yourself with your options, the next step is to choose a care provider. When doing so, consider reputation, feedback, costs, and the wait until you can get a first appointment.Chiropractors are known for their abilities in helping people with neck and back pain. The most common reason why someone even considers seeing a chiropractor is for back pain, specifically low back pain. Research and studies and the general consensus is that we can help in this area. What about shoulder pain? Is there anything a chiropractor can do to help shoulder pain?You can certainly have a chiropractor take a look at and evaluate your shoulder problem. While the spine is most commonly adjusted, the chiropractic adjustment can be performed at any joint. A joint is anywhere two bones meet. In the case of the shoulder, we'll be looking at three different areas; the clavicle (collarbone), the humerus (upper arm), and the scapula (the shoulder blade). Any of these joints can move out of their normal position with extended use in the wrong way. Stress and poor posture in the upper back can lead the shoulder blade to become stuck and fixated in the wrong position. The chiropractor can adjust this area and work with the muscles to get things moving again.The same principles apply to the humerus and the clavicle. There are certain movements in which each bone will take on a more primary role. The chiropractor can feel with his hand if the right areas are moving or not. If the joint is not moving, this means it is likely not functioning correctly. This is where the chiropractor's expertise can be of most use.The first evaluation of the shoulder is really to see if any of the muscles, ligaments, or tendons have torn. Depending on the severity of the tear, you may need an immediate referral for an MRI and a visit to an orthopedic specialist. You don't want someone moving your bones around if you have a tear, and the chiropractor doesn't want to do that either. If you haven't had any trauma to the shoulder joint and the pain has just come on gradually over the years. The chiropractor can take a look and provide adjustments and work to the muscles that can make a world of difference.