What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is one of the western world's three major healing professions. The other two are medicine and osteopathy. Chiropractors specialize in the neuromuscular systems (nerves, muscles, and bones), detecting and correcting vertebral subluxations, or misalignments of the spine. Subluxations adversely affect the nervous system and can severely affect your health.

The word chiropractic comes from the Greeks: "chiros" means hand and "practic" means practice. Many chiropractic techniques involve the use of the hands in gently restoring the vertebrae to their proper alignment and motion. Free of subluxations, you are free to grow, develop, and become more than you are today. Chiropractic is a lifestyle that more and more people are choosing for the rest of their life. Many parents are discovering that their children are healthier and happier when they receive regular chiropractic care.

The following are the three fundamental principles of chiropractic.

1. Importance of the nervous system:

The nervous system controls and coordinates ALL the functions of the body. Everyone has the inborn ability to heal themselves as long as there is no interference with their nervous system, and therefore in their body's function.

2. Spinal subluxations (misalignments):

Chiropractic doctors recognize that vertebral subluxations cause interference of the nervous system impeding the perfect expression of health. Subluxations may or may not cause pain or other symptoms. Chiropractors are the only health care providers who specialize in locating, correcting, and preventing subluxations.

3.Chiropractic adjustments:

Chiropractic doctors recognize that when spinal nerve interferences are cleared by means of specific chiropractic adjustments of vertebral subluxations, the nervous system's normal flow of impulses can resume. The fully functioning nervous system can once again direct the body's own healing mechanisms and help in the process of attaining optimum health.


What is a Chiropractic Adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is the art of introducing a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a vertebra that is subluxated or out of place. The Chiropractor identifies the location of the subluxation, determines the exact direction and the best way to correct the positioning. The adjustment itself is a movement of the spine that is done either by hand or with an instrument. The movement may be quick or may be undetectable with low force techniques. The adjustment assists the vertebra back into normal alignment and restores proper motion in order to relieve nerve interference. There are many ways to analyze and adjust the spine, so the actual adjustment will vary from chiropractor to chiropractor and patient to patient.


Is Chiropractic Safe?

Yes! Specific chiropractic adjustments are very safe since care is individually based only after a complete health history and chiropractic examination has been performed. Then, depending on the state of health and age of the patient, an appropriate technique will be utilized.

In the pediatric population a peer reviewed study of the literature (Pistolese R. JVSR 2(2) 1998) was performed from 1977 to 1998 and found the risk to neurological or vascular complications from chiropractic care to be 1/250 million. It is important to compare this with something like the risk of serious adverse injury from taking an aspirin at 4/1000.

A New Zealand government study found that adjustments are "remarkably safe." By avoiding drugs and risky surgery, chiropractic enjoys an excellent track record. In the adult population, unfortunately anyone who manipulates and injures a patient gets lumped in as a "chiropractic" statistic versus keeping professions as separate populations. This poses a problem for the chiropractors who perform specific chiropractic adjustments. Presently the cumulative risk from the professions who manipulate and adjust is approximated at between 1/3 million to 1/500,000.

Also consider that chiropractic malpractice insurance rates are a fraction of those for medical doctors. These rates are based on the risk of injury or death to patients caused by practice procedures.


Why do Children Need Chiropractic?

The normal birthing process places a tremendous amount of stress on the neck. If the baby's head presents in any other than a posterior occiput position (the baby's face is down), this can cause added stress. Any intervention such as vacuum or forceps causes additional trauma to the head and neck. Cesarean section is also considered a traumatic birth when considering the effects on the spine. Many obstetricians traction the head during a normal birth, using between 40 and 70 pounds of pressure, in order to birth the shoulder. This often causes damage to the cervical spine (neck) and the nerves that exit off the spine.

Even if you child came through the birth process without subluxations, they can be acquired afterwards. Babies neck muscles are weak and are unable to support the head. Infant car seats may be designed to protect a baby in the event of a crash, but they lack support of the neck. Whenever you stop and accelerate the car their heads go forward and back and side to side, which can cause vertebrae to subluxate.

Throughout the first year, a baby's spine will grow 50%. Whenever there is rapid growth, that is the time when things can go wrong. Regular chiropractic checkups ensure that your child's spine is growing properly. During the first year, they also develop the secondary curves of the spine in the neck and low back. If these curves fail to develop, there is a greater chance that they will develop scoliosis, or curvature of the spine.

Towards the end of the first year they will be learning how to walk and will fall an extraordinary amount of times. If you fell that often, do you think that your spine would feel the effects of the trauma?

As kids get older, they get even more active with more potential for physical trauma. And, if they play sports, that potential increases. And what about the child who sits at the computer or hunches over his hand-held game! Making sure that their spines are subluxation free means that your children can endure more physical stress with a lesser risk of injury.

Physical trauma is the most obvious reason kids need their spines checked out regularly, but emotional and toxic stress can also cause subluxations in kids. Many times children have accidents and parents may believe that they are fine because there is no external evidence of damage. Spinal subluxations sometimes don't signal an obvious symptom. The earlier children's spines are checked, the earlier problems can be detected, preventing health problems from occurring and becoming serious. We recommend all children be checked regularly for nerve interference, even without symptoms present. Prevention is the best medicine.

Emotional stress, another cause of vertebral subluxation, is becoming a bigger issue for kids today as they try to cope with common scenarios like divorce, violence, and peer pressure. Our world is also becoming more toxic with an increase in pollution, packaged foods, and the number of recommended vaccines. Toxic overload can stress the body and cause subluxations. Chiropractic can help children adapt to these stressors so that they can function at a higher level.

If you know a child who is not under chiropractic care and suffers from any of the following problems, please urge the child's parent to consider Chiropractic.

Fever Bed Wetting
Colic Bronchitis
Croup Coughs/Colds
Constipation Allergies
Weakness/fatigue Wheezing
Skin problems Poor Posture
One leg shorter Stomach ache
Irritability Hearing loss
Nervousness Asthma
Ear infection Poor concentration
Learning disorder Neck/back pain
Sinus problems Leg/hip/foot pain
Eye problems Numbness
Scoliosis Headaches
Arthritis Hyper-activity/Attention deficit disorder


Just as it is recommended that children get regular medical and dental checkups, it is important for kids to have their spines checked from birth onward. The only professional qualified to do this is a chiropractor. More and more, educated parents are choosing to take their children to chiropractors regularly, because they see that their children are healthier and happier!


Is Chiropractic Addictive?

No! What we often see is that people become aware of how their body should think and feel when they are subluxation-free. When subluxated, they feel different and this becomes unacceptable to them. Chiropractic is part of a healthy lifestyle and is a proactive health care CHOICE; just as daily habits of brushing your teeth, choosing to eat well and regular exercise would not be considered addictive, but lifestyle choices.


What Causes Subluxations?

There are three basic causes of subluxations: physical traumas, emotional stresses, and chemical toxicities. Physical causes could include the birth process, slips, falls, accidents, sports injuries, repetitive motions and improper lifting. These traumas can actually push spinal vertebrae into a misaligned position.

Toxic or chemical causes could include alcohol, drugs, environmental toxins, vaccines, and poor diet.

Examples of emotional causes of subluxations are grouped under stressful conditions such as loss of loved one, loss of job, divorce, etc.

This emotional/toxic connection relates to the muscles of our back and how they are adversely affected during these high stress periods. Our primary spinal musculature holds and anchors our spinal bones in their proper positions.

Muscle weakness or imbalance from stress, as well as improper exercise or obesity, creates a condition known as myopathology whereby subluxations can occur.


What Causes the Popping Sound?

Lubricating fluids separate the bones of each spinal joint. Some adjusting methods can produce a sound when the gas and fluids in the joint shift. It's like opening a bottle of champagne or removing a suction cup. it is NOT the bones cracking! The sound is interesting, but it is not a guide to the quality or value of the adjustment.


Can I Adjust Myself?

No. Some people can make their joints "pop," but that's not an adjustment! Worse, damage can occur by INDISCRIMINATELY mobilizing a joint, causing ligaments to weaken; the body will build up bone in these weakened ligaments over time to stabilize itself, causing osteoarthritis. Chiropractic adjustments are specific and take years to master. Only the spinal joints that are "locked up" receive adjustments allowing weakened muscles and ligaments to stabilize and heal.


Will Insurance Cover Chiropractic Care?

Most insurance policies have some chiropractic benefits. It is wise to contact your insurance company to find out what your exact coverage is. Having your insurance company reimburse you for a portion of your chiropractic care is certainly nice, but don't let it dictate your care! Don't allow the profit of a huge corporation to make the decision for you. Your health affects everything you do and everyone you know. It is your most valuable possession. Yet, each of us is free to place a different value on our health.

Does your insurance company pay for your health club membership? Or bottled water? How about organic food? Your vitamins and supplements? Probably not, yet many people choose to pay for these items out of pocket because they believe that they will contribute to their overall health and well-being. Many people are becoming educated on how chiropractic can also significantly contribute to their health and choose to receive regular care, regardless of insurance coverage.