1. What is chiropractic?
Chiropractic – [ki”ro-prak’tik] means “done by hand”. Although it is the youngest of the natural healing arts, Chiropractic has appreciated tremendous growth during the past decade. Chiropractors blend the drugless, non-surgical art of hands-on therapy with the science and technology of modern medicine and physical rehabilitation. It is a branch of health care that concentrates on naturally balancing and optimizing the function of the body in order to promote and maintain health.
At the foundation of chiropractic philosophy is the belief that the body has the ability to heal itself, provided the organ systems function optimally. The primary treatment administered by chiropractors is spinal manipulation, also known as an “adjustment”. Most chiropractors prescribe exercises, stretches and lifestyle modifications to maintain optimal health. We also provide nutritional counseling and soft-tissue therapies.
2. Is it true that when you see a chiropractor once, you must keep going back forever?
No. Treatment lengths are dependent on the individual patient. Some require short-term care while others with many or chronic conditions require longer treatment plans. Many of our patients elect to get periodic “maintenance” adjustments on a regular basis to stay healthy and functional. Regular chiropractic care, we believe, is fundamental to a healthy lifestyle.
3. I have chronic lower back pain. I see my chiropractor, which helps, and I religiously do my stretches. And yet I continue to have nagging lower back pain, my hamstrings feel tight and I can’t seem to hold my adjustments. What else can I do?
When adjustments help, but do not hold, we must consider the soft tissue in the area and what active therapy you are doing outside of the office. Progressive functional rehabilitation must be continued outside the office. This is supportive of what is done in the office to make the adjustments hold and to stabilize the given area.
For us to ensure that the adjustments are going to hold, we believe that the supporting structures must be able to freely move and have the proper balance. In the case of lower back pain for example, it is not at all uncommon for the soft tissue structures supporting the pelvis to become adhered to one another or to become weak and imbalanced. This would certainly preclude a specifically delivered joint adjustment from holding. The Progressive Functional Rehabilitation we provide is targeted directly at these areas of imbalances. Without a balanced core (a stable, strong core), patients are, at the least, making little or no gains and, at the worst, continually going to reinjure themselves.
4. Do chiropractors actually “crack” your back? What is that sound?
Chiropractic adjustments most commonly elicit an audible “pop” or “crack” sound. This is simply gas pressure in the joint releasing as the joints move. Chiropractors refer to this as an “audible release” or “cavitation sound.” Treatment success is not contingent upon this noise. Chiropractors usually use a dynamic force to promote motion at a given vertebral level, thereby increasing its function and preventing degeneration.
5. I can “crack” my neck and back anytime I want to, so why should I see a chiropractor?
If a person is able to make the joints in their spine “crack” easily, it usually means that part of his or her spine is hyper mobile or moving more than it should. This means that other parts of the spine are hypo mobile or not moving enough. These areas are where the problems are.
In order for the body to work efficiently in the short term and sustain in the long term, each joint must work in its’ own normal range of motion. A good chiropractor finds the joints that are not moving sufficiently and adjusts them only. Simply put, this will allow the joints that have been working over time to rest a bit and allow the less mobile ones to work more. Not only does this allow for more pain free movement, it will also decrease the likelihood that degeneration of the joints will occur.
This will not happen when our joints “crack” as a side effect of stretching. Certainly forcing movement yourself or having someone do it who does not know what they are doing will only continue to “adjust” the wrong segments. It is the direction, velocity and specificity of the adjustment that makes the difference between getting “cracked” and getting properly ADJUSTED.
6. Are chiropractic adjustments safe?
In general, chiropractic treatments carry a very low risk of complication. Approximately 25 percent of patients will experience short-term [24 hours] or local soreness following the initial adjustment. This may represent short term muscle tension or low-grade inflammation from the treatment.
The risk of serious, irreversible complication is rare. Estimates for neck adjustments are between 1 in 1 million and 1 in 10 million. With regard to the lower back, the estimate for serious complication is “1 in many million”. It is important that you discuss any specific concerns with your treating chiropractor prior to receiving treatment.
7. Should I tell my medical doctor that I am receiving chiropractic treatment?
ABSOLUTELY! We encourage our patients to inform their medical doctor that they are receiving chiropractic treatment. In fact, our practice is built through working together with contemporary-minded, patient-centered medical providers. We will gladly forward a copy of our initial evaluation report to your primary-care physician as a courtesy to you and your caregivers. Many of our patients request that we contact their primary-care provider in order to introduce ourselves, or to provide them with information about our practice.
***The key to comprehensive health care is communication and integration.
8. I feel like my pain is more muscular, not bones or joint. How can a chiropractor help me?
The fact is that muscles move joints (Refer back to Question no. 7). They do this by contracting and relaxing. If a muscle and/or its tendons are injured in any way (a strain), the related joints will be affected. If a joint and its ligaments are compromised (a strain), the muscles and their tendons also will be affected. Additionally, other soft tissue structures (fascia) along with blood vessels and nerves become involved.
The bottom line is that for proper biomechanics, ALL structures need to freely move and glide in relation to each other. Regardless of what the “weakest link in the chain” is there will be a secondary effect. At Meylor Chiropractic, we address all of the possible areas of compromise by combining complete chiropractic care for the involved joint structures, Graston Techniques for the areas of soft tissue entrapment and functional progressive rehabilitation to strengthen the weak and imbalanced muscles.
9. I have numbness and tingling in my hands from working at the computer. I have rested, stretched, and used ice and heat. I even have had an ergonomics “expert” evaluate my workstation. The problem is still there. What’s wrong?
Repetitive motions (e.g. keyboard typing, etc.) can easily create compromise of all soft tissues, creating what is referred to as a cumulative trauma disorder or repetitive stress syndrome. The problem can occur locally at the area of symptoms as well as at the spinal level associated with that area of the body. After this occurs, the body tries to compensate, overloading another area of the body which typically results in pain.
The short, repetitive motions, without frequent rest, cause inflammation of those structures. This, in turn, causes these structures to “stick” to other structures and to become short and weak. These dysfunctions are extremely common.
Unless the involved structures are again enabled to move past each other with the least amount of friction, the situation cannot be resolved no matter what other actions are taken. Graston Technique is the most effective and efficient ways to recreate this healthier environment in the body. By physically manipulating the tissues to begin freely moving past one another, the cycle of cumulative trauma can be broken. Then, the weak and shortened muscles are rehabilitated to their normal strength and function.
10. I notice that one shoulder sometimes appears “higher and more forward” than the other. Also, I frequently am very sore in my neck and experience headaches. This happens at different times, like when I am at work or when I am driving. I regularly exercise and my personal fitness trainer says I have excellent posture when I workout. What’s that all about?
Postural distortion is one of the most insidious ways in which people experience cumulative trauma. While we may be conscious of it in the gym, it is everywhere else that we are actually “hard wiring” the way we carry ourselves. The bipedal (on two feet) structure of our musculoskeletal frames and certainly the vast majority of our life activities lend themselves to problems such as the one described above.
Regardless of how it occurs, poor posture that is unchanging results in constant high forces in the musculature. Altered motion and adhesions of the related joints, muscles and other soft tissues create injury and pain such as that described above. In addition, poor scapular (i.e. shoulder blade) stabilization adds to the disposition of the shoulders. Overly active neck extensors contribute to the headaches.
The most important and easiest form of “self health care” is effective and efficient use of posture. Combined with effective chiropractic care and application of Graston protocol, Acupuncture, and training for functional core strength will vastly improve this situation.