I have heard everything from ” so you guys just crack backs right?” To, “so that’s like a sports massage right?” Even though the profession has been around for quite some time, there is still much confusion about what is and what exactly we do. Part of of this is our fault, as I assure that what I consider to be chiropractic, another chiropractic physician may turn their nose up at.
A brief history lesson: the roots of spinal manipulation can be traced back to around 2700 BC from China and Greece, where there is mention of manipulation of the low back and extremities to ease pain. Hippocrates, the Greek physician, stated: ” get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases.”
Our central nervous system (spinal cord and brain) is protected in part by the spinal column which is composed of 33 vertebrae in total ( 7 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral, and 4 coccygeal.) Between these vertebrae, there are a total of 31 pairs of spinal nerves ( 8 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral, and 1 coccygeal) exiting from the spinal cord. Each of these nerves exit to innervate every organ in the body. This being said, it is in our best interests to be sure that nothing is interfering with the transmission of these nerves in order for our body to functional optimally. This can happen in many different ways. All these vertebrae with the exception of the coccyx and sacrum ( they fuse) are moveable motion segments and contain intervertebral discs which act as the shock absorbers of our spine and allow for non-rigid, fluid movement. The spine moves as a flexible rod, all segments must participate for the entire chain to function properly. Attached to all these vertebrae are many many muscles which act to stabilize the spine, these muscles are all innervated by the spinal nerves. When one of these motion segments are not moving properly due to a muscular imbalance from postural stress, strain, compensation etc. the muscles do not fire properly leading to a viscous cycle of immobility, causing other areas of muscular imbalance, pain, spasm, and faulty movement patterns. This will also lead to a deconditioning effect of these muscles, leading to less stability of the spine which may lead to a possible disc herniation!
Bottom line: chiropractors correct these imbalances by restoring movement to the areas that need it, and restoring muscular balance via soft-tissue (specific treatment of involved muscles- not massage), in addition to prescribing therapeutic exercise in order to restore function to muscles and restore muscular balance.
Most people come in to see me initially because they are in pain. However, they quickly learn that pain is only a symptom, and often times is the first leave; lack of pain does not and should not symbolize health. Chances are, unless are stretching, exercising, and changing your body position every hour throughout the day, you have some static postural issues (most likely due to sitting too frequently), which as explained above is going to indefinitely lead to motion restrictions and muscular imbalances in the spine. This will more than likely eventually result in pain, so why not correct it before it begins by periodic visits to you chiropractic physician and save yourself the trouble? Imagine how much better you can perform when you are moving fluidly with all your muscles in balance! Whether you are an elite athlete, weekend warrior or soccer mom, you should be periodically seeing a chiropractic physician.
As a chiropractic physician I diagnose, treat, and manage patients with all musculoskeletal conditions, not just back pain; and we as a profession are really good at it ! Many times the problem starts in an area other than the spine, perhaps the problem is in the hips, or the feet, or the knees. We as chiropractors have extensive training in these areas of the body as well. You see, it’s all connected, so flat feet for example could be cause your knees to bow, which will in turn throw off the symmetry of your pelvis, and probably lead to some sort of pain and definite dysfunction!
The American Medical Association recommends chiropractic care in regards to back pain before trying other more invasive procedures:
Until next time!