Frequent Questions and Answers on Chiropractic Care

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What do chiropractic doctors do?

The primary focus of chiropractic is to identify spinal subluxations (misalignments causing nerve stress) and reduce or if possible correct them. Chiropractors use a careful history taking, physical examination, and technologies such as spinal thermal scanning, electromyography and if needed x-ray analysis to determine the need for chiropractic care. The word Chiropractic is derived from Greek and means “performed by hand.” Chiropractors use a gentle and painless procedure known as a spinal adjustment to correct the cause of many health problems.

What type of education do chiropractic doctors get?

Chiropractors must complete a minimum of four years of full-time pre-medicine/dentistry university courses. Once enrolled in chiropractic school a further four years of intensive study emphasizing anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, body-mechanics, x-ray, spinal adjusting techniques and many other related subjects. To graduate with Doctor of Chiropractic degree, the candidate must pass the demanding Board Examinations followed by a licensing examination before being granted the privilege to practice Chiropractic.

What is an adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a specific low-force in a precise direction applied to a bone that is subluxated, “stuck,” or not moving properly. This “adjustment” adds motion to the spinal joints helping the bone gradually return to more normal motion and more normal position. By doing this the adjustment releases tension or stress from the neighboring spinal nerves and spinal cord, leading to relief, improved nerve function and improved health.

Are all patients adjusted the same way?

No. The doctor evaluates each patient’s unique spinal problem and develops an individual care program. The resulting recommendations are based upon years of training and experience. There are numerous techniques or types of spinal adjustments. At Principled Chiropractic, we tailor the type of adjustments given to suit each individual.

Do spinal adjustments weaken or loosen the spine in any way?

In a word, no. Spinal adjustments restore the normal, healthy motion and position that each spinal segment requires. Because spinal adjustments, delivered by a trained chiropractic doctor, do not injure or weaken the muscular and ligamentous structures of the spine they do not cause any weakening or “loosening” of the spine. In order for the spine to be strong and able to withstand the various forces and stresses of daily life, the spinal bones must be in normal alignment and have their normal amount of movement. Spinal adjustments do just that.

Can I adjust myself?

Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force, applied in the specific direction, to a specific spinal bone, it is virtually impossible to adjust oneself. It is possible to turn or bend or twist in certain ways to create a “popping” sound, like the sound that often accompanies a chiropractic adjustment. Unfortunately, this type of joint “manipulation” is usually counterproductive, often making an already unstable area of the spine even more unsteady. This is also true for well-meaning friends or family members who are “chiropractor wanna-be’s”. Adjusting the spine is not for amateurs! Chiropractors themselves seek out the services of their colleagues to maintain their spinal health.

How often should I get a spinal adjustment?

As soon as you develop “spinal nerve stress.” Since spinal nerve stress is often painless, it is best to have your spine checked regularly, just as you would have your teeth checked for “painless” cavities.

How safe is chiropractic care?

In the words of the “Report Of The Commission Of Inquiry” of the New Zealand Government, Chiropractic care is remarkably safe. Chiropractic has an excellent safety record. It is the result of a conservative approach to health that avoids invasive procedures or addictive drugs.

What about strokes and neck adjustments?

Despite some misunderstanding by some in the medical community the actual scientific research into the subject reveals that the incidents of stroke from a chiropractic neck adjustment is extremely rare ( According to a recent, 2001, paper published in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association, 1 in 5.8 million neck adjustments may be related to altered blood flow through the vertebral arteries of the neck.) Neck manipulation has been somewhat more correlated with stroke. Some in the medical profession, as well as many physiotherapists, perform these manipulations, most in the chiropractic profession do not.

If I start chiropractic care do I have to keep going?

Absolutely not. Similar to exercise, a person can begin, stop, or continue Chiropractic adjustments as desired. Spinal adjustments do not have an addicting effect, nor do they create a condition whereby a person is worse off after receiving spinal adjustments.

Why do children need chiropractic care?

Since significant spinal trauma can occur during the birth process many parents have their newborns checked for spinal nerve stress (subluxations.) Later, learning to walk, or ride a bicycle, and many other childhood activities can cause spinal problems. Many childhood health complaints that are brushed off as “growing pains” can often be traced to spinal problems. Naturally, Chiropractic adjusting procedures are modified to a child’s spine. Most parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and seem much healthier than other children. Chiropractic for children can help to avoid many other health complaints seen later in adulthood.

Can someone with arthritis in their spine receive chiropractic care?

Most certainly. While there are various types of arthritis, the most common type occurring in the spine is called osteoarthritis. With few exceptions, people with degenerative osteoarthritis find chiropractic adjustments a great help in relieving their symptoms and improving their overall body movement.

Can chiropractic prevent back surgery?

Most surgical cases begin with spinal subluxations which chiropractic can often correct. If a condition is detected soon enough, generally, back surgery would rarely be needed.

Can a person who had back surgery see a chiropractor?

Yes. We have cared for numerous patients who have had various types of spinal surgeries with good results. It’s an unfortunate fact that half of those who have spinal surgery discover a return of their original problems months or years later. This all-too-common occurrence is known as “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.” Chiropractic can often help avoid repeated operations.

Can a person with a broken back or neck see a chiropractor?

In the majority of cases, yes. In fact, a broken bone forms a callus or bone scar when it heals that is stronger than the rest of the bone. People who have had broken bones in particular need chiropractic check-ups because accidents usually cause spinal subluxations.

I am not in pain or sick should I see a chiropractor?

Most people that have their first heart attack had no idea they had a problem before. In the same way symptoms or the lack thereof are not a good way to judge one’s health. Pain and other symptoms often show up only after years of body malfunction. Most people maintain their automobiles much better than they do their own bodies. Chiropractic is a preventative proactive type of health care.

What is the biggest benefit to a Chiropractic Lifestyle?

Simply put, ongoing chiropractic check-ups and adjustments help to ensure that you can enjoy your life to the fullest extent in a body that feels and works at its possible best!

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