How does adjusting my spine take away my symptoms and help prevent my problem from occurring again?
Chiropractic manipulation involves very specific stretching and mobilization of the spinal joints. It requires years of intense education, skill and dexterity on the part of the chiropractor to effectively and judiciously perform these adjustments to the spine. By evaluating your symptoms, posture, muscle tension, and the flexibility of your spine, your chiropractor determines precisely which joints are not moving as they should. Only then does your chiropractor apply a quick stretch to the affected area with the following results.
1. Increased flexibility and circulation - Scar tissue accumulates on your muscles in response to injury or repetitive strain. The chiropractic adjustment's focal stretch to the spine breaks apart scar tissue and the flexibility of that joint is increased. The goal of treatment is to restore as much as possible the natural movement the spine. Movement is essential to the health of your discs, cartilage, and all other structures that make up your spine. Blood and other fluids that nourish your body's tissues also rely on this movement to be effectively circulated.
2. Neurologic effects - Spinal joints relay information about their movements, via the nerves, to the brain. This communication allows you to co-ordinate your muscles to help you bend and balance in a variety of positions. Scar tissue and inflammation hinder this communication. This results in poor control and a loss of strength in the spinal muscles that are responsible for protecting your back against injury. A program of spinal adjustments and specific exercises is necessary to restore strength and coordination of these muscles to decrease the likelihood of re-injury or long-term loss of function.
3. Lifestyle effects - Tight, irritable muscles and scar tissue laden areas burn more energy, can do less work, and are more prone to injury. Using a combination of deep tissue release therapies and chiropractic adjustments your chiropractor can break up and remove this scar tissue. In doing this body becomes more efficient, heals faster and can accommodate more stress. The primary goal of treatment is to get you back doing the things you want to do and have to do. Even in cases of severe injury, significant increases in your body's functionality can be achieved. Energy levels increase, immune response increases, activity increases, positive affect changes; these are all changes frequently observed in patients.
What is the noise heard during an adjustment?
It's amazing how many people are afraid to seek chiropractic care because they are afraid of the sound that it can make. Rest assured, the sound is perfectly safe and normal. Joints have a lubricating fluid inside of them. When a joint is stretched, a gas is released from this fluid and a sound is made. Similar to when you remove the cap from a bottle of a carbonated drink. Adjustments are safe, not commonly painful, and almost always feel very relaxing.
What is maintenance care?
Once the initial symptoms have subsided, a patient has the option of under going maintenance care. This involves treatment sessions at agreed upon intervals to maintain the optimal performance of a health conscious patient whom due to work or other activities puts high demands on their body. This style of care allows the patient to control aches and pains through stressful or demanding times. Problems resulting from severe trauma such as motor vehicle accidents often require maintenance care to manage reoccurring symptoms, stimulate proper healing, and promote the best possible return to life's activities.
When can I expect results?
Over the course of treatment, your chiropractor will be interested in how you are responding to care. Improvement is based upon the decreasing intensity, frequency, and duration of your symptoms. No two human bodies are exactly alike and people respond differently to care. Most patients experience return to full activities and 80% to 100% resolution of their symptoms in 2-3 weeks. Pain that persists past the initial treatment period can be the result of aggravating postures or movements performed by the patient on a regular basis. These include stressful sleeping positions, poor ergonomics at your work place, improper lifting habits, repetitive movements and improper technique in sports and other activities. Emphasis on correcting these aggravating habits is strongly encouraged, as it tends to prolong resolution of your problem.
Adequate rest from activity is sometimes required to allow the body to repair damaged tissue. Inflammation and scar tissue in a muscle or joint make it more prone to further injury. Overuse of the injured area can increase the severity of your injury, function loss and prolong healing time.
Work related and emotional stress reduction should always be worked towards. There is a firmly established link between stress and declining health. Other factors such as, prior injuries, poor fitness level, inadequate water intake, and smoking all tend to extend symptom resolution time.
I have been performing my daily tasks for years and now they are getting increasingly hard to do. Why has my pain started now?
Symptoms such as decreased flexibility; fatigue, tension and irritation of the muscles are often the result of accumulated scar tissue on injured or repeatedly overstressed joints or muscles. This scar tissue decreases blood flow and restricts the movement and flexibility of the affected area. A muscle affected by scar tissue becomes congested with fluids that can no longer pass easily through the tissue. As the scar tissue accumulates, the increasing congestion causes the muscles to function inefficiently and they start to become irritated with normal daily activities. The muscles in this state cannot carry out their normal duties and optimal performance ceases.
Trauma, repetitive tasks and poor posture all damage the body in similar ways. Aches and pains cause you to use your body incorrectly increasing the wear and tear on your muscles and joints. For example; a limp, forward drawn head, rounded or raised shoulders, stiff lower back. These detrimental changes in the way you use your body can persist even after an initial injury has healed. Over time this can lead to muscle imbalances that increase the likelihood of future painful episodes and can result in premature joint degeneration.
Do I need X-rays?
It is a common misconception that X-rays are needed to determine where adjustments are needed in your spine. Traumatic injury that is severe enough to cause a fracture, a history of cancer, or a problem that is not responding as expected to treatment after an initial trial period of care, are examples of when X-rays are warranted. After a history and physical examination your chiropractor will assess your need for X-rays. Your chiropractor is interested in how well your body moves, this cannot be determined clinically, from what is essentially a still picture of you skeleton.
Will I be sore?
Patients sometimes experience short-term soreness after a treatment session. This commonly happens only in the initial stages of treatment and lasts for less than 24 hours. The process of restoring your body's natural flexibility and efficiency involves the removal of scar tissue from your joints and muscles and some inflammation may occur. Be sure to inform your chiropractor of any discomfort or changes in you condition. Clear communication is important to see that you are receiving the most appropriate and effective care possible.
Can I have Chiropractic treatments on my private medical insurance?
Most private health funds give benefits for Chiropractic treatment. Reimbursement will depend on the insurer and the plan you have chosen. Contact the helpline of your insurance company who will explain the actual benefits and methods of claim for your individual policy. If your Health Fund is a member of HICAPS we can reimburse your benefit at City Clinic.