What Is Chiropractic?
Thank you for taking the time to find out more about chiropractic and its unique, natural to improved health and function.
Every year more than 35 million Americans and Canadians choose chiropractic for its safe, natural and effective approach to relieving many conditions including back pain, neck pain, headaches, extremity pain, poor overall health, low energy levels and much more.
What is Chiropractic?
The definition from the A.C.C. (Association of Chiropractic Colleges), What is chiropractic? “Chiropractic is a health care discipline which emphasizes the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs and surgery. The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the spine) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health.”
The Purpose of Chiropractic
Due to the fact that chiropractic treatments are primarily focused on the spine, many individuals mistakenly assume that chiropractors treat only back and neck problems. Though back and neck complaints quickly and effectively respond to chiropractic care, there are major benefits beyond relief of back pain. Once you understand what actually occurs in the body as a result of chiropractic care by reading the next section, you will appreciate that the ultimate objective is to restore and experience optimal human health and well being. Simply put, the purpose of chiropractic is to optimize health, not simply provide temporary relief.
How Chiropractic Works
At this point, you may be asking yourself “How can a chiropractic treatment which effectively treats my back pain also optimize my health?” The answer to that question lies in understanding which system in the body is responsible for controlling everything within the body: your Nervous System–the brain, spinal cord and all the nerves of the body.
All scientific authorities agree that the nervous system is the master controller of all the tissues, organs, systems and functions of the body; it is the fundamental premise of chiropractic that your brain, your “master computer”, has ALL the information it needs to run your body perfectly! In fact, your brain knows more about running YOUR body than any doctor will ever know! And, it does that job perfectly as long as nothing interferes with it. All messages coming from and going to your brain travel along nerves, especially those traveling through your spinal cord, the “telephone switchboard” or “information super-highway” of your body. Nature takes the precaution of encasing your brain in bone –the skull. The extension of the brain, the spinal cord, is also encased in bone–the spinal column (also know a the vertebral column). The spinal column encases spinal cord and exiting nerve roots for protection.
Because the spinal column is made up 24 vertebrae (spinal segments) plus the tail bone (sacrum and coccyx) which combine to form movable joints, if one or more move out of alignment or experience other structural changes, it can irritate the parts of nervous system it was designed to protect. This can occur in the form of direct mechanical pressure, changes in fluid pressure within the spine, or the irritation can result from the release of inflammatory biochemicals during tissue injury. In any case, this compromises the normal function of the nervous system which then affects the cells, tissues, organs and systems that were depending on proper information the nerves should have been supplying.
Because the body’s inherent, innate recuperative powers are dependent upon the information supplied by the nervous system, removing the irritation and interference with the nervous system through chiropractic care often results in improvement of a broad array of seemingly “non-spinal” health conditions. Think of is as going to the “fuse box” (spine) when the lights go out instead of changing the “bulbs” (organs).
What Chiropractors Do
The primary lesion (problem) that chiropractors focus on is called a Vertebral Subluxation.
A vertebral subluxation is a change in the position or motion of one or more spinal joints, to the extent that it interferes with the normal function of the spinal cord, spinal nerves or both. It is a complex of changes that compromises proper nerve activity which may then influence organ system function and general health. Essentially, if your nerve system is not functioning normally, you can not experience optimal health.
A chiropractor checks the patient’s spine for any misalignments, fixations, dysfunction or other abnormalities (vertebral subluxations). This can be accomplished with great specificity using a broad variety of systems of analysis , some simple, some more complex, depending on the doctor’s training, preference and experience. If subluxations or other abnormalities are detected, the chiropractor will provide a chiropractic adjustment, one of many techniques and procedures unique to the chiropractic profession. It usually involves applying a gentle force in a corrective manner to the affected spinal area. This can be accomplished manually or with specialized instruments and the chiropractor is rigorously trained to tailor the proper adjustment to the needs of the individual patient, from infants, to the elderly, and everyone in between. In addition to spinal adjustments, other procedures such as massage, dietary and nutritional counseling, physical therapy, exercise recommendations and lifestyle modification programs, to name just a few, are commonly employed. Dr. Perman holds and maintains two nationally recognized Board Certifications in both Sports Medicine and Clinical Nutrition. He is also well-credentialed and experienced in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. However, if there were only a single service he could provide, it would be the specific adjustment to correct spinal subluxations as that service can ONLY be provided by a qualified Doctor of Chiropractic.
How Chiropractic Differs
Your medical doctor essentially sees you as a “machine” made of “parts and chemicals”. So, when you are not well, the medical approach in simple terms is going to be “parts out” (surgery) or “chemicals in” (medications and drugs). This is what is known as a mechanistic approach. Conversely, most chiropractic physicians utilize a vitalistic approach: your body is ALIVE and as mentioned above, has ALL the information it needs to control, coordinate, heal, repair and adapt itself–as long as your nervous system is not interfered with. Obviously, emergencies, such as serious traumatic, life-threatening injuries occur which require immediate, emergency, medical attention. This is what the medical profession is best at. And, in order to heal as thoroughly as possible once the emergency passes, it make great sense to have a nerve system free of any interference. Anyone with a nervous system can benefit from proper chiropractic care.
Because chiropractors take a holistic approach which includes identifying and correcting the underlying cause(s) of the patient’s health deficiencies, the healing is more thorough and natural. In contrast, the medical approach is predisposed to focus more on the treating the symptoms of a condition rather than focusing on correcting the actual cause(s).
Chiropractors and their patients have consistently found that correcting the underlying cause of the problem results in significant long-term benefits rather than only treating the symptoms.
The Benefits of Chiropractic
Short-term and regular chiropractic care have a number of benefits including:
- spinal and extremity pain relief
- headache relief
- decreased stiffness, reduced muscular spasms increased mobility and range of motion
- arthritic joint pain relief
- improved joint health
- increased performance and energy
- heightened sense of well being and deeper relaxation
- improved balance and coordination
- slowing of degeneration and less risk of injury
- enhanced tissue healing
- decreased tissue inflammation