What is Chiropractic?
What is Chiropractic? In this day and age of specialists, the general public has become accustomed to certain types of doctors, for certain parts of the body, for certain types of conditions. Since Doctors of Chiropractic (D.C.’s) primarily work on the spine, they are considered by many to be back specialists, treating only the various types of neck and back pain. However, upon understanding the practice of chiropractic and the various types of conditions which are relieved, it is easy to see why the perception of D.C.’s as back specialists is indeed a misconception.
In order to understand chiropractic, a review of the relationship between the spine and the nervous system is necessary. The central nervous system is that system which controls, maintains, and monitors all functions of the body, most of which are on an unconscious level. Consisting of the brain and spinal cord, the central nervous system is housed within the cranial vault and the vertebral column, respectively. The spinal cord communicates with all aspects of body function via spinal nerves, which exit the vertebral column through 31 pairs of intervertebral foramen. When the individual vertebra are slightly misaligned, normal function of these spinal nerves is compromised. This condition is called a subluxation. The consequence of a subluxation is less than optimal nerve function, yielding less than optimal function in that region of the body innervated by those nerves that are involved. This dysfunction can also affect any other system or region of the body that communicates with the primary area that is affected.
What does a Chiropractor do?
The goal of a D.C. is to locate these subluxations, through the use of radiographic images, static and motion palpation, and neurological testing. Once located, the subluxated segment is gently and specifically adjusted, which restores proper function of the vertebra, its corresponding nerves, and the organs innervated by that nerve. As a result, with the advent of a normally functioning central nervous system, in time, an optimal state of health is achieved.
What does a Chiropractor do?
Basically, the only true condition that is treated by the DC is the subluxation. However, the result often goes far beyond the spinal column. All in all, chiropractic care helps the patient is two ways:
1) Improved biomechanics of the spine, which prevents premature degeneration and arthritic changes of the spinal joints. This aids in preventing future back problems, including disc lesions and debilitating neck and back pain.
2) Improved nervous system function, which results in improved overall nerve supply, blood supply, and organ system function. This not only helps the body to relieve a wide range of conditions, but also aids in preventing future health problems.
The following is a brief list of conditions that have shown improvement under chiropractic care, in clinical studies:
- tension headaches
- neck pain
- shoulder pain
- decreased immune function
- irritable bowel syndrome
- temporomandibular joint syndrome
- cardiac arrhythmias
- menstrual cramps
- migraine headaches
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- thoracic outlet syndrome
- low back pain
- Raynaud’s disease
- high blood pressure
It is important to note that while chiropractic care has helped patients with a variety of conditions, it is not meant to be a treatment for those conditions specifically. As stated earlier, the goal of the chiropractor is simply to allow the body’s nervous system to function properly, allowing the patient to actually heal themselves. The normally functioning nervous system can safely correct a number of disorders that conventional medicine treats with dangerous medications.
Can Chiropractic help children?
Absolutely yes! Since most subluxations are the result of birth trauma and childhood falls and accidents, it is imperative that a DC examine a child. Otherwise, a child may not be able to reach their full health potential and suffer from what many consider minor childhood ailments and chronic health problems as an adult. Many spinal conditions and health disorders can potentially be prevented at an early stage during the development of a child. The wide range of conditions which have shown improvement under chiropractic care include: middle ear infections, asthma, infantile colic, and involuntary bed-wetting, scoliosis, Schuermann’s disease, etc.
Children most often yield the most dramatic results and respond much quicker that adults, as they have not had problems with their spine for a very long time. The goal of Dr. Parker is to focus on children as well as adults. It is simply a matter of informing parents about the benefits of having their child’s spine examined at an early age, in order to insure a healthy and active future.
Dr. Parker will conduct a general chiropractic practice, with a particular emphasis on family care. The clinical focus of the practice is threefold: to provide intensive management that will return the patient to pre-clinical status, to render reconstructive or corrective care, and to enroll and maintain the patient in a program designed for prevention and wellness. Patients are re-examined every 12 to 15 treatments or midway thru the treatment plan in order to measure improvement. Personal injury cases, as well as worker’s compensation cases will require several re-examinations. An average of 25 office visits can be expected per diagnosis. Based on personal experience, an AVERAGE care plan of 25 visits will be implemented over a three month period.
Following a patient’s initial exam and X-ray, the patient will follow a case management schedule. Below is an example provided by the Mercy Guidelines for chiropractic patient care. It is important to note that each case is unique as is each human being. This schedule will be updated and changed by Dr. Parker to fit the specific needs of each patient.
- Intensive Care Phase: 3 office visits per week for 4-6 weeks
- Corrective Care Phase: 2 office visits per week for 4-6 weeks
- Maintenance Care Phase: 1 office visit weekly to monthly, indefinitely