How Does It Work?

Chiropractic doctors practice natural, drugless, non-invasive health care and rely on the body's ability to self-heal. Sounds ideal, but just how does it work?

We look at the whole picture

Like other health-care providers, we follow a standard routine to gain information about the patient. We consult, review the case history, conduct a physical examination, and we may request laboratory analyses and/or x-rays.

Unlike other health-care providers, chiropractic physicians conduct a careful analysis of the patient's structure and pay particular attention to the spine. We also ask you about your life— Do you eat well? Exercise at all? How do you deal with stress? Do you have children? What do you do for work? And so on.

We seek the origin of the problem

Using this information, a diagnosis is made. Included in the diagnosis is the probable reason for your pain or discomfort. It is important to note that chiropractors seek the origin of the illness in order to eliminate it-we do not simply treat the symptoms.

If your roof is leaking, do you simply catch the drips in a bucket for years on end, or do you repair the roof to prevent it from leaking? Similarly, if the migraine headache you've had all week is being caused by misaligned vertebra and an irritated nerve, do you continue to take pain killers indefinitely, or do you realign the vertebra to prevent the pain? You get the picture.

Chiropractors have a term for misalignments: subluxations. A vertebral subluxation is a misalignment of the bones that protect the spinal cord. It's a leak in the roof. Or a kink in the wiring of your nervous system.

The severity of the subluxation can vary, and there are a number of potential contributing factors that can be physical, emotional, mental, or chemical. The subluxation can be caused by any number of incidents, from birth trauma to an auto accident to simple repetition or over-use.

Then we help you fix it

When a subluxation occurs, a chiropractor can correct the misaligned bone and allow it to return to its proper position. This procedure is appropriately called an adjustment, and the adjustment enables the body to heal. The leak is fixed. The wiring is fixed. Information is flowing again.

Spinal adjustments to correct subluxations are what make doctors of chiropractic unique in comparison with any other type of health care professional. The term "adjustment" refers to the specific force chiropractors apply to vertebrae that have abnormal movement patterns or fail to function normally.

The objective of the chiropractic adjustment is to reduce the subluxation, which results in an increased range of motion, reduced nerve irritability, reduced muscle spasm, reduced pain and improved function. The chiropractic adjustment is a quick thrust applied to a vertebra for the purpose of correcting its position, movement or both. Adjustments are often accompanied by an audible release of gas in the spinal joints that sounds like a "crack." The sound sometimes surprises people the first time they get adjusted, but the sensation is usually relieving. Occasionally, minor discomfort is experienced, especially if the surrounding muscles are in spasm or the person tenses up during the chiropractic procedure. There are times when the audible "cracking" does not occur. This is often due to either significant muscle tightness or the person having a hard time relaxing during their adjustments. Some adjusting techniques are designed to move the spine in a way that does not produce the audible sound at all. Chiropractic is so much more than simply a means of relieving pain.

Ultimately, the goal of receiving adjustments should be to restore the body to its natural state of optimal health. In order to accomplish this, chiropractors can use and recommend a variety of natural healing methods, including adjustments, physiological therapeutics, massage, trigger point therapy, nutrition, exercise rehabilitation, and counseling on lifestyle issues that impact your health. The primary focus is simply to remove those things which interfere with the body's natural normal healing ability. In the chiropractic world, keeping the problem fixed and preventing its reoccurrence is just as important as the initial remedy.

Chiropractors are doctors who understand that within each of us is an innate wisdom or healthy energy that will express itself as perfect health and well-being if we allow it to. Therefore, the focus of chiropractic care is to remove any physiological blocks to the proper expression of the body's innate wisdom. Once these interferences are reduced, improved health is the natural consequence. Who wouldn't want that?