For people who are unfamiliar with chiropractic or may have yet to experience a treatment for the first time, there are a lot of questions that can arise. Let’s look at some of these common questions and dispel a few chiropractic myths along the way.
1. What do chiropractors do? Chiropractic care centers around restoring proper function to the spine. In addition to the spine, we are trained to work on any joint in the body. Because our posture, muscle tone, and movement patterns directly affect our joints, many chiropractors address these components in the care they provide. At Live Well Chiropractic and Pilates Center, we use a whole body approach that includes pilates, massage, and acupuncture to help address the needs of our patients.
2. What does it mean to be adjusted? This term refers to a variety of ways chiropractors restore movement to a joint. Most often this involves the chiropractor using his or her hands to bring a joint to tension and then applying a force to move it slightly beyond that tension. Some use instruments such as in the Activator technique to make the adjustment. Some use other special tables that move with the adjustment to allow for less force to be applied while still achieving the desired correction. Often you will find practitioners who combine techniques to accommodate the needs and conditions of the patient.
3. What happens when I get adjusted? By restoring proper motion to the joint, lots of things happen in your body. When a joint loses its best functioning, our body increases chemical inflammation in the area, muscles can become more rigid and guarded, even pain receptors become more sensitive to pain. Adjustments can directly impact these negative affects by allowing muscles to relax, inflammation to decrease, and by decreasing pain.
4. What’s that noise? The crack…new patients are often unprepared for the resulting noise they hear/feel during an adjustment. The noise is called cavitation. It occurs when the gases that are found in the fluid of the joint release as it opens up during the adjustment. It is not, as some people initially think, bones moving against each other. Additionally, you may not always hear the cavitation, but that doesn’t mean that motion has not been restored. In fact some chiropractic techniques rarely if ever have a cavitation.
5. Do all chiropractors make you come back for lots of visits? As a profession we’ve gotten the reputation for wanting patients to sign up for numerous visits. While the number of visits required to address a condition or injury is up to the experience of the doctor, here’s one way to look at it. Often, even in the case of injuries, there are long-standing patterns that have created the real cause of the problem. These patterns cannot normally be fixed with one quick adjustment even though patients often report feeling significant improvement. Our bodies have to adapt and change. This takes time and repetition. Think of it this way, when you have an infection, you don’t normally take one dose of antibiotics. Instead you are prescribed a course of medication to support your body in its own healing. Addressing, for example, your long-standing low back pain through chiropractic care is no different.
6. Should I wait until I’m in pain to see my chiropractor for care? No. Simply put, pain is your body’s last resort. Long before you feel pain, your body may be having structural changes from things like poor posture or prolonged sitting positions at work. Your body is always seeking to adapt to its environment, even when that forces it to run less than optimally. Don’t wait for your body to say “I’ve had enough” to get adjusted. Keep a regular regimen of chiropractic care. Keep both your nervous system and your musculoskeletal system working at its highest level.