What type of education do chiropractic doctors receive?
Doctors of chiropractic must satisfy a demanding academic course that leads to a professional degree requiring a minimum of six academic years of study – two years prepatory and four years professional. Chiropractors graduate with an average of 5000 hours to attain a D.C. degree, which includes approximately 600 hours of externship in clinic, qualifying them for licensure in all states and Canadian provinces.
In addition to completing educational requirements, chiropractors must pass stringent state and national board examinations similar to those administered to medical students as a pre-requisite for licensure.
The D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic) is the only member of the health care professions who has specialized training in recognizing and analyzing body imbalances, spinal misalignments and dysfunction. These factors cause more problems in more parts of the body than most of us realize.
What is a segmental dysfunction?
Chiropractic historically utilized the term “subluxation” to describe a loss of normal movement in the spinal joints, ultimately causing a disturbance in normal nerve function. More current and accepted terminology is that of a segmental dysfunction, which consists of:
1. Spinal Kinesiopathology (abnormal motion or position of spinal bones)
2. Neuropathophysiology (abnormal nervous system function)
3. Myopathology (abnormal muscle function)
4. Histopathology (abnormal soft tissue function)
5. Pathophysiology (abnormal function of the spine and body)
What causes a segmental dysfunction?
Spinal segmental dysfunctions are caused by stress: macro stress (accidents, falls, sports injuries, or other trauma); or micro stress (repeated movements that gradually cause injury, poor posture, emotional stress). Segmental dysfunctions can occur from a difficult birth and from childhood falls, and may not manifest as pain or dysfunction until adulthood.
What is a pinched nerve?
Many patients consult a chiropractor because they think they have a pinched nerve. While most commonly associated with the spine, researchers have found that actual bone compression on a nerve root is rare and most often associated with spinal pathology. Because of the way the spine is designed, abnormal spinal function caused by physical trauma, emotional stress or chemical toxins affect the delicate tissues of the spinal cord and nerve roots. Nerves can be irritated by any of the above factors and result in sensations of pain, tingling, or numbness; near the spine or in the extremities, In addition, nerve root irritation may cause a change in vital organ function or balance.
What is a slipped disc?
A “slipped disc” is actually a misnomer- a disc can not “slip” out of place from between two vertebrae because it is anchored down tightly by ligamentous type fibers. There are basically 3 types of disc injuries:
1. Disc Protrusion (or “bulge”) – usually occurs as a result of trauma (long term repetitive mechanical stress or acute sudden fall or injury) The disc “bulges” and can put pressure into nearby nerve roots and cause pain locally or into an extremity. This level of injury usually responds well to conservative therapy such as chiropractic care and physical therapy.
2. Disc Prolapse (or “herniation”) – most often occurs with trauma. Some of the disc fibers tear, and inner nuclear material can extrude out and put pressure onto nearby nerve structures. This level of injury can sometimes be treated effectively with conservative care.
3. Disc Sequestration (“fragmentation”) – Almost always traumatically induced, a piece of the disc breaks off and may have more serious neurological complications. While this level of injury is more rare, it almost always requires surgical intervention.
What is an Adjustment?
An adjustment adds motion to the restricted joint. With the addition of motion, the body can then eliminate the toxins and chemicals that have irritated the area, and allowing the joints and nervous system to function better. Most importantly, the adjustment seeks to restore normal nerve flow and communication between nervous system tissues and the rest of the body’s tissues and organs. This flow of communications is necessary for breathing, digestion, heartbeat, immune function, excretion, muscle function, and all other functions to work properly. The wisdom of your body (also known as “life force” or “innate intelligence”) directs this flow.
What causes adjustment reactions?
Reactions can be caused by different reasons:
1. Detoxification or cleansing of your body after the adjustment – when toxins leave the system, there may be discomfort such as a headache, or muscle soreness.
2. Muscle realignment – often muscles that haven’t worked properly for years and are in a weakened state, react to initial treatment in much the same way that muscles become sore when initiating a new exercise program.
3. Nerve stimulation – sometimes nerves that were impinged for years when stimulated, become sensitized. Old injuries that never fully healed typically come to the surface and experience new levels of healing, sometimes causing soreness.
Is chiropractic care safe?
Yes!! It is typically safer than taking most over the counter medications. In the words of a New Zealand government inquiry, 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.
Why do children need chiropractic care?
Children tumble, fall, get colds, and grow rapidly. Chiropractic can help the nervous system and the underlying structure to support the body during normal growth, and all the many activities that kids do. Naturally, procedures are modified to a child’s spine. Most parents report that their children seem to be healthier in general.
How long will I need chiropractic care?
No two people are alike, no two healing abilities are alike, and there are no two spines alike. Therefore, there is no precise answer as to “how long will it take?” However, there are some basic considerations: as in the creation of a condition or disease, the healing of that condition varies with the duration of illness, age, genetic factors, how you handle stress, your diet, and your level of exercise.