Q: What is chiropractic care and how does it work?
A: Chiropractic is based on the scientific fact that your body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism. All the cells, tissues, and organs of your body are controlled by the brain, spinal cord and nerves and are designed to resist disease and ill health unless there is interference. Chiropractors believe that instead of treating disease with chemicals and invasive procedures, disease should first be treated with the reduction or elimination of nerve interference giving the patient a chance to recover naturally.
A common interference to the nervous system is the 24 moving bones of the spinal column. A loss of normal motion or position of these can irritate or impair the function of the nervous system. This can disrupt the transmission of controlling nerve impulses.
The goal for us at Stow Family Chiropractic is locate and remove any interference in your nervous system that may be impairing normal health through specific chiropractic adjustments allowing your body to heal itself. With improved spinal function, there is improved nervous system function.
Q: What is a subluxation?
A: A vertebral subluxation, also referred to as nerve interference, is a misalignment of one or more of the 24 vertebrae in the spinal column, which causes alteration of nerve function and interference to mental impulses, resulting in a lessening of the body’s innate ability to express its maximum health potential.
Q: What is an adjustment?
A: A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a joint that is subluxated/misaligned or not moving properly.
This adjustment adds motion to the joint, helping the bones gradually return to a more normal position and motion. The adjustment also activates certain position and motion sensing nerves called “proprioceptors” and “mechanoreceptors” which are found in abundance in your spinal joints, your knees, and your feet and ankles. These nerves are very powerful and important to your survival. Without them you would have a hard time knowing which way was up or down and whether or not your hand was moving towards a hot stove or not!
When these powerful nerves are activated by a chiropractic adjustment they can shut down or “reset” the nerves that are causing pain or muscle spasm. This is one reason why some patients experience immediate relief from certain conditions. The overall purpose for the safe and natural procedure is improved spinal function, improved nervous system function, and improved health.
There are many ways to adjust the spine. Usually the doctor’s hands or a specially designed instrument delivers a gentle brief and highly-accurate thrust. Some adjusting methods are quick, whereas others require a slow and constant pressure.
After years of training and clinical experience, each chiropractic doctor becomes highly skilled in the delivery of a variety of adjusting techniques, making chiropractic care safe and effective for the whole family.
Q: Are all patients adjusted the same way?
A: No. The doctor evaluates each patient's unique spinal OR biomechanical problem and develops an individual course of care. The resulting recommendations are based upon years of training and experience.
Some patients who complain of headaches, may actually have a lower back problem that is causing a compensation reaction at the base of the skull. Other patients may be experiencing numbness and tingling in their fingers, when the actual problem is in the neck. Every patient presents a uniquely different spinal pattern.
Each visit builds on the one before. And while visits may seem similar, each patient’s care is uniquely different from every other patient.
Q: Why is there a popping sound when a joint is adjusted?
A: Actually, adjustments do not always produce a sound. Often, however, adjustments do create the sound of a "release," or "popping" sound. The same thing occurs when you “crack” your knuckles. The sound is caused by gas rushing in to fill the partial vacuum created when the joints are slightly separated. This sound is painless and totally harmless.
Q: Is chiropractic safe?
A: Yes. Chiropractic has an excellent safety record. It is the result of a conservative and natural approach to health that avoids invasive procedures or addictive drugs. As proof, one merely has to compare malpractice rates between chiropractors and other healthcare professionals. Chiropractors' malpractice premiums are a small fraction of those for medical doctors.
Q: Can a person who had back surgery see a chiropractor?
A: Yes. It's an unfortunate fact that more than half of those who had spinal surgery discover a return of their original symptoms, many times months or years later. They then face the prospect of additional surgery. This too common occurrence is known as "failed back surgery syndrome." Chiropractic may help prevent repeated back surgeries. In fact, if chiropractic care is used initially, back surgery can often be avoided in the first place.
Q: Can I adjust myself?
A: No. Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force, applied in a specific direction to a specific joint, it is virtually impossible to adjust oneself safely, correctly and accurately. It is possible to turn or bend or twist in certain ways to create a "popping" sound that sometimes accompanies a chiropractic adjustment. Unfortunately, this type of joint manipulation is usually counterproductive, often making an already unstable spine even more unstable, and can sometimes be dangerous.
Q: Do children need chiropractic care?
A: Yes, children are very physically active and experience many types of falls and impacts from everyday activities, especially sports. Since significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns checked for vertebral subluxation. Naturally, chiropractic adjusting procedures are adapted for the child's spine. Many childhood health complaints that are brushed off can be traced to the spine.
Health problems that emerge in adulthood could often be prevented by having your children's spine checked by a chiropractor early. For many kids, sleep, behavior, attitude and immune system functions can all be enhanced through regular chiropractic adjustments. Many parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and are healthier than their peers.
Q: Is chiropractic care addictive?
A: No. If only it were, there would be more healthy people around and chiropractors would not get patients who last saw a chiropractor "a few years ago when their back went out." It is possible to get used to feeling more balanced, less stressed, and more energetic as a result of regular chiropractic care. Chiropractic is not addictive; however, good health is.
Q: Is it OK to see a chiropractor if I'm pregnant?
A: Yes. Any time is a good time for a better functioning nervous system. Pregnant mothers find that chiropractic adjustments improve their pregnancy by helping with pregnancy discomforts like sciatica, and make delivery easier for themselves and their baby. Also, certain chiropractic techniques can be used to help properly position the baby for delivery. Adjusting methods are always adapted to a patient’s size, weight, age and condition of health.
Q: Why do chiropractors take x-rays?
A: Chiropractors take X-rays to reveal the internal structure and alignment of the spine. We are also concerned about underlying disease processes and disorders of the spine such as spinal deterioration, arthritis of the spine, abnormal development, bone spurs, disc disorders, tumors and spinal curvature. X-rays also provide a blueprint for correcting the spine back to optimal health and alignment.
Q: Will a chiropractic adjustment completely remove back pain?
A: For many, back pain can become chronic if left untreated. Chiropractic care has been shown to ease and even eliminate back pain for many patients.
Q: Is back pain common?
A: More than 80 percent of people experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. In fact, it is one of the most reported reasons people miss work and is the second most frequent reason patients visit the doctor.
Q: Do I have a pinched nerve?
A: Many patients consult a chiropractic doctor because they think they have a pinched nerve. A “pinched nerve” diagnosis is a simple way to state a very complicated condition.
Because of the way your spine is designed, abnormal spinal function caused from physical trauma, emotional tensions, or chemical toxins can affect the delicate tissues of the spinal cord and nerve roots. Nerves can get irritated when nerve tissue is rubbed, scraped, stretched by a loss of spinal curve, or irritated by malfunctioning spinal joints.
Q: Do I have a slipped disc?
A: Technically, a disc can’t “slip.” The intervertebral disc is a pad of cartilage type material situated between spinal bones. Each disc, a soft, jellylike center contained by outer layers of fibrous tissue, serves as a connector, spacer, and shock absorber for the spine. Healthy discs allow normal turning, twisting, and bending.
Because of the way each disc is attached to the vertebrae above and below, a disc cannot “slip.” However, trauma or injury to the spine can cause discs to tear, bulge, herniate, or worse, rupture. This can be quite painful, as the soft center of the disc leaks, putting pressure on the adjacent nerve roots and spinal cord. Many patients have avoided needless surgery or a dependency on pain pills, by choosing chiropractic care for their disc related health problem.
Q: My chiropractor prescribed a series of visits for me, why does it take more than one treatment?
A: Chiropractic care is like “orthodontics” for the spine. Clinically, repeated chiropractic adjustments re-train the vertebrae, muscles, and ligaments to their proper alignment and range of mobility. Just as the time required for braces to achieve correction depends on the condition of an individual’s teeth and mouth structure, the time required for healing and proper spinal alignment to occur depends on the condition of the individual patient’s spine, job duties, hobbies, exercise habits, stress levels, diet, medications, and many other lifestyle factors.
Does your M.D. ever prescribe you just one pill? Does a physical therapist expect to stretch and strengthen your muscles in one visit? Of course not. Chiropractic adjustments are the same. You cannot expect to receive long lasting results with a quick fix. “Health is a process, not an event!” In order to obtain the best long- term results, a series of treatments are typically recommended. Throughout your treatment plan, Dr. Todd will perform regular re-evaluations to measure your progress and together you will decide the best course of action.
Q: Do insurance plans cover chiropractic?
A: Yes. Chiropractic care is included in most health insurance plans, including major medical plans and Medicare.
Q: What type of education and training do chiropractors have?
A: Doctors of chiropractic care educated as primary-contact health care providers, with an emphasis on diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to the musculoskeletal system (the muscles, ligaments and joints of the spine and extremities) and the nerves that supply them. Educational requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions. The typical applicant for chiropractic college has already acquired four years of pre-medical undergraduate college education, including courses in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, psychology and related lab work.
Once accepted into an accredited chiropractic college, the requirements become even more demanding — four to five academic years of professional study are the standard. Doctors of chiropractic are educated in orthopedics, neurology, physiology, human anatomy, clinical diagnosis including laboratory procedures, diagnostic imaging, exercise, nutrition rehabilitation and more. Because chiropractic care includes highly skilled adjusting techniques, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical technique training to master these important procedures. In total, the chiropractic college curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience. The course of study is approved by the Council on Chiropractic Education, an accrediting agency that is fully recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
At Stow Family Chiropractic in Stow, we continue to innovate, refine, and improve our treatment options to help solve your pain related issues such as low back pain, neck pain, and migraines.
We serve our local communities including Acton, Maynard, Hudson, Bolton, Sudbury, Boxborough, Concord, Harvard, and Marlborough MA. Call our chiropractic clinic today at 978-897-1770 for more information, or to make an appointment.