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What is chiropractic?
A holistic method to help you feel and function at your best
Chiropractic is a method of finding, analyzing and correcting dysfunctions in the way the joints in the spine move and function.
There is a little more to chiropractic than the few cracks you hear when the treatment is performed! The adjustment, or mobilization of the joints, is one of the methods used to restore the normal movement of the vertebras in the spine or the joints of the pelvis. However, there are many other techniques that can be used, some much gentler, all with the same goal of correcting blockages or dysfunctions in the spine and other articulations in the skeletal system.
“Look well to the spine for the cause of disease.”
When the body does not move as one
Every bone, articulation in the body can move in different directions and can become blocked into one of those positions. In other words, a joint dysfunction is simply a bone which is not moving the way it should.
The body is made to move as one. Every part of it, from the skin to the bones, past the tendons, fascia and ligaments, is made to move as a unit. If you move your little toe, it creates movement all the way to the top of your head!
So what happens when one or more parts can’t move properly? The rest begin to compensate for that lack of movement.
When a joint in your spine gets stuck, the joints above, below and the surrounding muscles start to function in a suboptimal way. Sometimes that means they overwork, other times that they work less. Over time, this leads to areas of tension, stiffness and pain, or muscles that are underworking and atrophied.
Relaxing the stiff muscles or strengthening the ones that can’t work properly can help and is extremely important. However, as long as the joints do not move as they should, the problem will likely continue to recur.
What causes joints dysfunctions?
In most cases, musculoskeletal problems do not arise from a single event. Even the back or shoulder pain that occurs after improperly picking up a grocery bag or from some other everyday movement is usually part of a process that takes months, often years.
These problems are often caused by a combination of several factors. It is possible that an ankle injury as a teenager led to a change in walking pattern that developed into low back pain a few years later. However, the most important factors are often daily stresses. The way a person sits at their desk, sleeps, lack of exercise, stress, always sitting with the same leg crossed or carrying their bag constantly on the same shoulder.
How can a chiropractor help?
A chiropractor is an expert at analyzing your posture and the movement of the bones in your body to determine exactly which joints are not moving properly. Precise corrections are then made in a specific direction and with the right amount of force to restore the movement and position of the joint or joints.
The corrections made by the chiropractor help to create a solid foundation in the spine that should then be built upon.
The corrective and healing process
The body needs time to change and adapt, for better or for worse. Symptoms are an unreliable way to determine what is really going on with the body. A good example of this would the one of a heart attack. As soon as the chest pain starts it is all to late, the problem has already been building up for too long inside the arteries.
The same thing happens with musculoskeletal complaints, such as back, neck and shoulder pain. Muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia adapt overtime and start working in a suboptimal way. These structures are placed under stresses which they are not designed to handle, and over time they begin to wear, tighten and become irritated. The nerves around the area begin to send pain signals to the brain, which is the body’s way of saying something is wrong.
Once the joints begin to move better as the results of chiropractic adjustments, the body needs time to stabilize and adapt. The muscles begin to contract and relax in a different way, and the tendons and ligaments may be under a little more pressure than they are used to. The fascia may also need to lengthen or shorten to better support the joints and the rest of the structure. This can cause some discomfort, and is the main cause of the muscle pain some people experience after their treatment.
Once mobility is restored in the joints and the surrounding structures begin to adjust, mobility improves, irritation begins to subside, and pain begins to lessen.