A chiropractor deals with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the bones, muscles and joints of the human body, otherwise known as the neuromusculoskeletal system. Chiropractic also concerns itself with the effects that these disorders can have on an individual’s health. The term ‘chiropractic’ originally comes from the Greek language meaning ‘to perform with the hands’, so it is no surprise that this treatment is performed with the hands. Using a variety of manual techniques, Long Beach chiropractors place a huge emphasis on the adjustment and realignment of the spine. Many chiropractors only treat conditions directly related to the spine, such as back and neck pain, however some treat a wide range of conditions.
A Brief History of Chiropractic
Chiropractic was initially founded as a health profession by D. D. Palmer in 1895. A magnetic healer with very little medical training, Palmer claimed that dysfunctional spinal joints were the root cause of many health conditions as these joints interfered with the natural healing mechanism of the human body. Although now viewed as a successful medical therapy for lower back pain, there is actually no credible scientific evidence to suggest that most illnesses are a result of these dysfunctional spinal joints. In light of this, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) only recognizes the realignment of the spine as an effective treatment for persistent back problems, and does not support the idea that chiropractic may help with a variety of other human ailments.
What Causes Spinal Misalignment?
The spine encases the spinal cord, which is where the majority of the nerves in the human body pass through to connect with muscles, bones and organs. Palmer’s early references to dysfunctional spinal joints allude to the areas of the spine that move out of position and become misaligned. Now known as vertebral subluxations, these misaligned areas of the spine put pressure on the nerves and prevent them from functioning optimally. Subluxations can be caused by many things such as injuries, trauma, poor posture, obesity and stress, and can be present without your knowledge before any warning signs begin to appear. If treated early however, corrections to the spine can prevent problems that would eventually require some form of surgery.
What Does Chiropractic Treatment Involve?
Initially, an assessment will be arranged between you and your chiropractor. This consultation enables you to discuss the symptoms you are suffering and your general standard of health. An examination will then take place in an attempt to locate the source and severity of the discomfort. Sometimes an x-ray will be required to pinpoint any subluxations, and in severe cases, you can be referred straight to your GP.
After these tests have been completed, generally taking 45-60 minutes, a care program will then be drawn up to outline the diagnosis and treatment required in order to begin the correction process. Specific techniques can then be employed to move the spine back into its proper alignment, and this process is called an adjustment.
Modified to suit the individual patient, each chiropractor will use a unique style that is established through years of practice and at which they become highly skilled. Chiropractic adjustments are in most cases pain-free, and are performed by manual force in the form of a sharp thrust to the problem area. Other techniques include the movement of the joints through several different positions and the pulling and stretching of certain muscles. Massages are often employed to manipulate the soft tissue around the problem area. Some patients experience a popping sensation in the joints when these adjustments are taking place, however contrary to popular belief this is not the bone cracking but small bubbles of gas present in the fluid surrounding the joints bursting under the pressure of the chiropractic adjustments being performed.
The whole process is completely safe. In the past, reported cases of serious injury associated with chiropractic care have appeared in the media, however were soon debunked as being caused by non-chiropractic treatments. Doctors of chiropractic study for five years at university and are taught extensively how to care for the spine safely and efficiently.
How Long Will The Treatment Take?
The amount of damage to the spine will determine the frequency of care required. Each adjustment session will last roughly 15-30 minutes, and in most cases approximately ten sessions are required. However, it can take longer to correct subluxations that have been present in the spine for a substantial period of time. Once correctly aligned, the body can then begin its own natural healing process, yet in some cases it is advisable to arrange for regular chiropractic sessions in order to sustain relief.
Other Medical Services Available From Your Chiropractor
As previously mentioned, most chiropractors focus solely on conditions that are directly related to the misalignment of the spine, however others offer additional services. Treatments for other health problems such as neck, shoulder and leg pain can be offered, as well as treatments for asthma, allergies, headaches, high blood pressure and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety disorders. Advice on personal nutrition, exercises that can be carried out at home to aid in the healing process, and more contemporary and alternative services such as acupuncture can be obtained from some chiropractors. Such treatments are based on ideas that are not recognized by the majority of medical practitioners, and you should always be aware that visiting a chiropractor is not substitutable for visiting your GP.
For lower back pain and problems associated with the misalignment of the spine, visiting a chiropractor can be an effective course to take in order to gain long-term relief from the subsequent discomfort of these health issues. Click this link for tips to find a great chiropractor. The availability of chiropractic on the NHS is limited, and many sufferers pay for private treatment. Chiropractic sessions are affordable however, and in the majority of cases can be relied upon to correct spinal conditions.