What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a natural healing science, art and philosophy primarily concerned with detecting and then eliminating interference to your nervous system. Since your nervous system controls every aspect of your body, chiropractic can have a major impact on multiple areas of your health. Founded in 1895, it is the world’s largest drug-free healthcare system and the 3rd largest primary healthcare system in the USA behind medicine and dentistry. Over 25 million Americans will see their chiropractor this year.
Does it really work and how?
Yes Virginia, chiropractic is the real deal! Chiropractic is firmly grounded in science and has an ever-growing body of research showing it to be safe, effective, comfortable and affordable. The latest estimates show that over 85% of Olympic athletes utilize chiropractic care to enhance performance and stay healthy as do most professional athletes. No question that it works!
Chiropractic is based on the fact that every structure and function of your body is controlled by the nervous system. If there is interference to the nervous system, then whatever body part or function that nerve was controlling will stop working at 100%.
For example, if a person suffers a pinched (irritated) bundle of nerves in their lower back they frequently experience back pain and muscle spasms. What most people do not realize is that the nerves in the low back not only control the muscles but other organs as well including the colon, bladder and reproductive organs. Irritation to the same nerve bundle can, in addition to muscle spasms, cause symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, bladder control issues and menstrual cycle problems. What surprises many is that a person with a pinched nerve bundle in their low back may have the other symptoms but no pain and no muscle spasms! Only about 10% of your nervous system tells you about pain so you can have a problem in 90% of your nervous system and NO PAIN.
Chiropractors focus on the spine because this is where the delicate nerves are most likely to be compressed or irritated as they pass through on their way to control all parts of your body.
The majority of spinal problems arise from physical, mechanical stress to your body such as accidents, injuries, prolonged sitting etc.. These stresses and injuries result in stiff immovable joints which in turn cause surrounding joints to become overworked, loose and eventually damaged. The treatment to correct these problems also has to be physical and mechanical in nature.
It is crazy to think that taking a drug is going to loosen up a stiff, damaged spinal joint. The drug may cover up the pain and symptoms but will do nothing to correct the physical cause of the pain. In fact taking drugs over time will allow the joint to become more and more permanently damaged.
Chiropractors employ many gently methods of physically restoring the normal motion and function to your spine which reduces nerve interference and allows your body to heal itself. These treatments are called spinal adjustments and are typically, not only pain-fee, but an enjoyable experience.
Is Chiropractic Safe?
Yes, chiropractic care is exceptionally safe! The minuscule risks of chiropractic care have been greatly exaggerated by our competition in order to scare you away from the safest form of healthcare and back to medicine, the most dangerous form. Chiropractic has a better safety record than any drug, even baby aspirin and Tylenol! Medical treatment has become the 3rd leading cause of death in the USA, right behind heart disease and cancer, killing hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.
An interesting statistic is that you are more likely to be killed by being struck by lightning than killed by a vending machine and you are more likely to be killed a vending machine than by a shark and more likely to be killed by a shark than by a chiropractor!
Now knowing how safe, conservative and effective chiropractic care is, doesn’t it make sense to you to start with chiropractic first and then if you don’t get well go on to more radical and dangerous forms of care like drugs and surgery? We are a backward society that often starts with the most invasive dangerous treatments first and then sees the chiropractor afterward as a last resort. Insanity.
Please help us permanently dispel this myth about chiropractic care being risky. Educate your friends and family. Spread the word and save a life!
At what age should a person have a chiropractic check-up?
Chiropractic care has fantastic benefits for all ages and ideally a person should have their first check-up shortly after birth.
I know what you may be thinking, “Infant check-up!!?” Why would a brand new baby need chiropractic care? Stop for a minute and just think about what a baby goes though coming into this world. Even during a normal natural delivery there are tremendous pressures on the baby’s neck, back and pelvis of up to 90 pounds per square inch.
With modern medicine turning childbirth into a medical procedure instead of a natural process, infant trauma and injuries are sky rocketing. You see when you drug the mother, her ability to feel and push the baby out is impaired which forces the doctor to have to pull and twist the baby out from the birth canal. Babies are not designed to be pulled and stretched during delivery which is unnatural and causes injury, they are designed to be compressed and pushed out of the birth canal which is natural and much safer. This is the same reason c-section deliveries have a much higher rate of spinal injury compared to natural childbirth.
It takes just a split second for a spinal injury to occur during birth. An unexpected push from the mother, a pull at the wrong angle from the doctor, too much force from the doctor, the use of forceps or vacuum and you have a sprain or even worse injury to the baby’s spine. This injury, called a vertebral subluxation, if undetected and left untreated can plague the baby for the rest of their life, limiting them from reaching their full potential. “As the twig is bent so grows the tree!”
OK, chiropractic is safe and good for babies but what about senior citizens? I have heard the most ignorant statement repeatedly from seniors: “I know, at my age, I have arthritis so there is no point in trying to fix my spine” WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!
ALL ages can benefit from chiropractic care. Even a single chiropractic adjustment in the right circumstances has resulted in unbelievable improvement in the quality-of-life of many patients. Until you are dead, your body has an incredible ability to heal and improve. Never give up on improving your health! If your doctor ever tells you “You’ll just have to learn to live with it” he/she is actually telling you it is time to find a new doctor, one that will help keep you improving and maintaining your health and well-being for life.
Does treatment hurt?
For most people the chiropractic treatments, called spinal adjustments, are not only comfortable but are actually an enjoyable experience. All treatment is geared to each individual’s comfort level and the old “No Pain No Gain” approach is never used. It is heartwarming to see children who are so small they can’t even get up on the adjusting table by themselves, fighting with their siblings to be the FIRST one adjusted. Pediatricians would be green with envy to see how even the smallest kids are happy to be in the chiropractic office and how they love to get adjusted.
Does my insurance cover Chiropractic?
Although most insurance policies have some coverage, the reality is that in most cases it is very limited and so highly managed that, like most other health services, it pays for only a portion of needed care.
There is currently a prevalent form of craziness that I call “Insurance Insanity”. It has 2 main parts: Firstly many people have this notion that if they can just somehow obtain really great health insurance (which by the way no longer exists) that this in some way protects them and makes them healthy. Secondly, they think that if a service is not covered by their insurance that they really don’t need it. CRAZY! A prime example is a patient who needed about $1,200 worth of chiropractic care, who had the money but refused the necessary treatment because he felt it was too expensive. When asked if it was more cost-effective to let his spine continue degenerate to the point where he will need a $200,000 surgery which would leave him disabled for life? His straight-faced answer was “Well, my insurance will cover the cost of the surgery.” Now that my friend is just plain crazy.
When it comes to care, if you need it, you need it! Regardless of if it is covered, regardless of if you can “afford” it and regardless of if you want it! If you need it, you need it.
A much better question to ask is “What is the best value for my healthcare dollar?”. Investing your money is all about value not amount. For example, I believe that a dollar wasted is too much but spending a half of a million dollars to buy a one million dollar house is an extraordinary deal.
The truth that any patient with a severely degenerated spine would gladly sign over the deed to their million dollar house, to the doctor, if he could restore their health. The sad fact is that once damaged, there is no cure. There are no spine and nervous system replacements and it is very unlikely there ever will be. What is absolutely tragic is that this type of degeneration is almost 100% preventable with regular check-ups and proper chiropractic maintenance.
Chiropractic is an exceptional value for your healthcare dollar. If you need it, the benefits you receive from chiropractic are incalculable compared to the amount of money spent! In fact they are priceless.
How much time does a chiropractic visit take?
For your first visit, allow 45 minutes to 1 hour. On this visit you will need to complete some obligatory health forms, you will have a chance to sit down and consult with the doctor to review your symptoms, history, lifestyle and your health goals.
The next step is a chiropractic physical examination, some very high-tech nervous system scans, possibly an x-ray study and finally, if you are in pain, some first aid care and home instructions.
Typically on the second visit allow 30 to 45 minutes. On this visit you will receive your doctor’s report of findings where he will let you know if he can help you, he will show you what is wrong and why, how long care will take, how much care will cost and finally he will let you know of your options for care. You will then receive your first full chiropractic adjustment (treatment).
On subsequent visits allow 10 to 20 minutes door to door. The actual treatments may only take a few minutes once your work-up is complete and you have set up your treatment plan and goals.
Once I start care do I have to go forever?
In a great practice the doctor should support all clients at the level and frequency that they choose. There should never be any pressure to do anything you are not 100% behind. You may take advantage of all the phenomenal health and wellness benefits for as long and as often as you choose. Great doctors should always respect and support the wishes of their clients.
Does my body become dependent on chiropractic care?
This question always make me smile. There is absolutely nothing about chiropractic care that makes you dependent on care. There is however something that is highly addicting about feeling really good. It is funny but once people start feeling great they tend to want to stay feeling great. Chiropractic care helps your body to function at a much higher level which feels fantastic. Chiropractic care is similar to exercise but without all the sweating. If you consistently work out, the benefit is you become physically fit which feels much better that being unfit and out of shape. Most people who are in great shape continue to work out because they like the feeling of being in shape. What happens if they stop exercising? They continue to feel good for a time but all too quickly lose their conditioning and lose the benefits of feeling great. Now I ask you is exercise addicting? Does your body become dependent on exercise? Of course not and there is also nothing about chiropractic care that makes you dependent either.
Conclusion: Safe conservative chiropractic care is an essential part of a natural wellness lifestyle. Not only will you enjoy less pain and an enhanced quality of life but you will avoid permanent damage and degeneration to your body.