What Is Chiropractic?
We are sure that you have some questions pertaining to what chiropractic is, and how the natural approach of chiropractic may aid in relieving many health ailments. Since these questions are normal and commonplace for a new patient, we will explain to you about chiropractic's approach to health. We will also explain to you the application of chiropractic to your specific health problem.
If, on the other hand, you are familiar with chiropractic, this booklet will serve as a gentle refresher about the profession.
What is chiropractic? What does a chiropractor do? Is there a way I can get well without drugs? How long will I take to get well? Can chiropractic help children? Are there harmful effects of chiropractic adjustments? Can senior citizens benefit from chiropractic care? Do I need to be x-rayed for my condition? These and many more questions will be answered. We will attempt to ex-plain the 'natural" or "dmgless" approach your doctor of chiropractic utilizes in aiding you to become a happier healthier person and experience a sense of well-being.
Chiropractic is a branch of the healing arts, and as a science is based on the premise that good health depends, in part, upon a normally functioning nervous sys-tem. When body structures such as cells and organs are functioning normally, a state of health or normal physiology is said to exist. However when the body's physiology is abnormal, a disease state begins. Thus, we begin to understand that abnormal physiology leads to abnormal function, predisposing the body to disease processes The spinal cord has 3 ~ pairs of spinal nerves which exit from the spinal column (backbone). The most delicate and important organs of the nervous system (brain and spinal cord) are encased in a hard bony covering composed of the skull and spinal vertebrae. The spine has undergone marvelous adaptation in providing protection, mobility, and weight bearing support for our upright position. The spine, in particular offers protection to the delicate spinal cord and spinal nerves which exit from the spinal column. Irritation to the nervous system can occur when spinal biomechanics are com-promised and thus not functioning properly.
Chiropractic teaches that within the body there are well-established "survival mechanisms" designed to maintain a state of good health. This innate intelligence is working in your body all the time, even when you are not aware of it.33 Think about what you had for supper. Did you have to tell your body to digest it? Did you tell your heart how many times to beat? Did you tell your lungs when to breathe? Did you have to direct your body to heal and repair a cut finger? You see, the body has the ability to function and keep you well, provided it is not interfered with. Doctors of chiropractic do not elect to utilize drugs or surgery in their practice. How-ever, there are times when they will recommend that you consult another practitioner if other methods of treatment are indicated.
Chiropractice Concepts of Health Maintenance
Throughout history, man has been searching for that ever-elusive Fountain of Youth." This endless quest for eternal youth and well-being has its effect on the health care industry Billions of dollars are spent annually on elixirs, fad diets, youth farms, cosmetic surgery and the like. Countless hours and much effort are being spent to look "young and healthy." But do we achieve our goal?
What is this thing called "health"? It must be more than just the absence of disease. Health must be viewed as an ever-evolving state, a process which starts at birth and ends at death. The health care crisis now raging throughout our country has caused many people to start asking some very pointed questions about the type of care they are receiving and whether the current model of health care needs to be changed. A term which appears in all discussions relating to health care is, "Maintance."
The concept of health maintenance is not new to the chiropractic profession. Throughout chiropractic's more than 90-year history, its practitioners have been promoting the concept of the body's ability to adapt to its environment and the need to maintain the nervous system free from neurological irritation. The science of chiropractic holds as a basic tenet that a causative factor in many disease processes is improper nerve supply to the body organs or tissues. The primary procedure in chiropractic health care is to examine and evaluate the spine and pelvis to determine if any one area of the spine is malfunctioning or if many areas of the spine are causing abnormal body movements. If present, these malfunctions (subluxations) may be factors in producing stresses that will influence the nervous system and compromise its ability to adapt and function.We have been taught since childhood that if there are 'no symptoms," we are well. We have been preconditioned by advertising media to believe that anytime a symptom appears which makes us uncomfortable, we need simply "pop this pill" or "swallow that liquid" and all will be well. Drugs and medications have become so commonplace that we do not question if we should take them or not, but rather, which ones should we take and what dosage.
In reality, all we do many times is to hide the problem (symptom) by medicating it. We also do other things to fool ourselves into thinking we are well, such as eliminating activities which cause distress, or by not eating foods which cause us to feel uncomfortable. By continuing to approach our health in this fashion, we are in essence avoiding or masking the symptoms, rather than correcting the cause of malfunction within our body.uncomfortable, we need simply "pop this pill" or "swallow that liquid" and all will be well. Drugs and medications have become so commonplace that we do not question if we should take them or not, but rather, which ones should we take and what dosage.
In reality, all we do many times is to hide the problem (symptom) by medicating it. We also do other things to fool ourselves into thinking we are well, such as eliminating activities which cause distress, or by not eating foods which cause us to feel uncomfortable. By continuing to approach our health in this fashion, we are in essence avoiding or masking the symptoms, rather than correcting the cause of malfunction within our body.
Such actions would be similar to building hospitals to treat accident victims rather than installing traffic lights to prevent accidents.
The chiropractic approach to well-being typifies the new and changing attitude toward health. It is based on the concept of "maintaining health" versus "treating disease." The basic recognition which prevails in chiropractic is the understanding that "being well" differs from "relieving symptoms" as popularly reported by media advertising. Concerned, thinking people have recognized one important fact - being symptom-free does not mean you are "well."
When a person understands the chiropractic concept of health maintenance, he or she cannot be deceived by advertising gimmicks, catchy phrases and clever jingles, which are often used to influence public attitudes. The premise that the body is capable of maintaining health, provided it is given proper essential ingredients, namely food, water, rest, clean air, adequate nutrition and a properly functioning nervous system, is basic to chiropractic.
Chiropractic health maintenance is gaining in acceptance and public support because its concepts and ideas about health care are valid. For example, the chiropractic profession has spoken out on various health issues, such as the overuse and abuse of drugs and alcohol, the increasing rate of iatrogenic (doctor caused) diseases which have reached disturbing pro-portions, as well as many environmental and social is-sues which affect the quality of our lives.
Chiropractic teaches that health is not a commodity which can be purchased in a tablet or bottle; it can only be obtained and maintained by allowing the natural recuperative powers of the body to function unimpaired. Locating minor spinal deviations early, before they interfere with a proper functioning nervous system and pro-duce symptoms, will greatly assist your body in remaining healthy.Today, we read about "health maintenance" as if it were some new and revolutionary discovery. The emphasis on health maintenance is being recognized by every group interested in the delivery of health care. Chiropractic health care has for many years offered a stimulating challenge to people interested in an alternative to the usual "treat the symptom" type of care.
A few simple questions can help determine the type of health care best suited to each individual's needs.
"Why did I get sick?" "Is it because some mysterious virus or germ singled me out to be sick?" "Am I sick because my body has a low resistance which allowed me to become susceptible to a disease process?" "What is the cause of the problem?"
These questions can best be answered by dealing with the underlying problem, rather than masking the symptoms on a temporary basis, which often allows the illness to become more serious. The benefits of this health maintenance approach are becoming more obvious every day. The chiropractic profession teaches the advantages of attempting to correct the cause rather than treating only the effects.
A maintenance approach to our most priceless possession, our health, certainly deserves some serious consideration. Health cannot be purchased in a bottle, substituted or stored, but it can be lost very quickly. If health could be purchased with money, we would have no sick millionaires.
In this booklet, we will try to explain and illustrate the concept of chiropractic as a health profession. Your doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) will suggest when you should return so he can monitor your condition and determine the need for spinal adjustments. The interval and procedure will be tailored to your individual needs and health problems. Characteristics such as weight, lifestyle, stress (emotional and physical), occupation, age, spinal abnormalities, and details in your personal health pro-file, will be considered by your doctor when he makes his determination.
Regular spinal adjustments are a part of your body's defense against illness.~ The effectiveness of chiropractic health care is measured by benefits realized for a lifetime. The public is becoming more aware of the benefits of this approach to health. Millions of people are now seeking to maintain their health through regular chiropractic checkups.
What Does a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) Do?
All doctors use a standard procedure of examination to diagnose a patient's condition in order to arrive at a plan of treatment Your doctor of chiropractic uses the same time honored methods of consultation, case histoly physical examination, laboratory analysis and X-ray examination. In addition, he or she provides a careful chiropractic structural examination, with emphasis on the spine.
The examination of your spine to evaluate structure and function is what makes chiropractic different from other health care procedures.
Your spinal column, or vertebral column, is a series of movable bones which begin at the base of your skull and end in the center of your hips. Although the spine is com-posed of 24 individual vertebrae, it functions as one dynamic organ upon which the structure is dependent for support and movement. There are seven cervical (neck) vertebrae, twelve dorsal (mid-back) vertebrae, and five lumbar (low-back) vertebrae. These vertebrae are stacked up like building blocks, and between them are locatedfibrocartilages (or discs). These discs help to cushion shock, reduce friction and allow movement to occur.The M pairs of spinal nerves extend down the spine from the brain and exit through a series of openings between the vertebrae. The nerves leave the spine and form a very complicated network which ultimately influences every living tissue in your body.
Accidents, falls, uneven stress, tension, over-exertion or any other factor which may cause an inability of the spine to move as a dynamic organ, can result in minor displacements or derangements of one or more of these vertebrae, causing irritation to spinal nerve roots directiy by pressure or indiredy through reflexes.These irritations, in turn, may cause malfunctions in your body. Chiropractic teaches that nerve pressure, or nerve reflex can cause a disturbance of delicate body functions resulting in an increased susceptibility to disease processes. Alleviating the irritation to spinal nerves by re-establishing normal spinal mobility, the doctor of chiropractic seeks to cause your body to operate more effi-ciently and more comfortably.
Facts about the Nervous System
These three illustrations show the different parts of the total nervous system. They are shown in the three main divisions, on the basis of anatomy and specific functions. One must remember, however, that although the breakdown is used for illustration purposes, each segment of the nervous system is interdependent and interrelated. The body is so wonderfully complex that one part often affects another part seemingly distant, remote, and unrelated.3 Therefore, the spine is the doctor of chiropractic's "avenue of approach" in attempting to influence various parts of the body which are malfunctioning through a careful examination and subsequent manipulation of the spinal and/or structural system. The Peripheral Nervous System (illustrated at left) serves to connect the central nervous system with the various tissues of the body Spinal nerves at various levels have sensory and motor connections. Messages or signals can be relayed from the tissues of the body back to the brain through the spinal cord. The spinal nerves extend outward from the spinal cord through openings between the vertebrae. Once they pass through these openings, they extend great distances dividing into many branches, thus forming a complicated intricate net-work reaching all the tissues of the body The peripheral nervous system is composed of Cranial nerves, Spinal nerves, and the Autonomic nervous system