Frequently Asked Questions About Chiropractic

What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a hands-on, holistic, alternative health care approach to better health and increased livelihood through diet, exercise and (of course) gentle movement of the spine and extremities. We are considered to be the neuromusculoskeletal (nerve-muscle-skeleton) professionals.

How can Chiropractic help me?
Chiropractic can help you by working with you by maintaining your spine in proper alignment. Every organ in the body is under some sort of neurological (nerve) control, so doesn’t it make sense that if nerve impulses do not get to the organ its function will be compromised!

Not all nerve impulses have a stimulatory effect on organs; some nerve impulses inhibit the organs they influence. For example, the Vagus Nerve has an inhibitory effect on the heart causing the heart to slow its rate when it receives these signals. The same Vagus Nerve, however, on the stomach and digestive tract stimulates these organs into increasing their activity. Through gentle adjustments of the spine, the Chiropractor helps place the spine in proper alignment to prevent a malfunction of nerve impulses to other organs and tissues.

What is an adjustment?
The adjustment is a high velocity, low amplitude thrust given into a specific joint in order to provide a therapeutic result. This is not to say, however, that all adjustments are the same. Just as Chiropractors are different individually, so are our many techniques. A particular technique that I might use and feel comfortable with may feel odd or uncomfortable to another Chiropractor and vice versa.

Does the adjustment hurt?
The adjustment can sometimes cause some minor discomfort in the area that is irritated or misaligned, but it shouldn’t ever be a painful experience.  Most of this discomfort will go away after the adjustment is performed several times. That is why several adjustments may be necessary before total relief is seen. Lets face the truth, you wouldn’t expect to take just one of the twenty pills of any prescription to get relief, you shouldn’t expect only one adjustment to do the same. Just as you were given twenty pills to relieve the symptoms of your illness, you may have to have four, five or even more adjustments to do the same!

The discomfort that you may feel is very often related to how long you waited before you sought treatment for your pain or illness. The sooner we can start the adjustments after onset, the less discomfort you will feel and the fewer treatments you will need for your continued good health.

How does chiropractic adjustment work?
This is a very complicated question to answer from the physiological view. To keep things as simple as possible, we Chiropractors explain the principle as a garden hose. Consider the hose to be a nerve and the water flowing through the hose as nerve impulses. When the hose is laid out straight without any kinks, water is allowed to flow freely and uninhibited through the hose. If on the other hand we kink or park a car on the hose, water flow is reduced or even stops flowing through the hose. If this condition persists long enough, eventually, the hose will become damaged (pain).  By performing the adjustment early on, we remove the kink, allow for free water flow and begin to make plans to save the hose from further damage. This in turn allows us many more years of valuable use to others and ourselves.

What will the adjustment be like?

We use a revolutionary technique in our office called the Koren Specific Technique, or KST. This is probably very different than what you may have experienced in the past. KST is very gentle, but very powerful. There is no cracking, popping, or twisting. In fact, most adjustments are done standing, instead of laying on the table.

How do you know what to adjust?

Muscle testing, similar to Applied Kinesiology, is used to determine what we need to adjust. While you are standing, you will feel the Doctor tap or swipe an area on your back or head, and then you will feel their thumbs slide down the back of your head. They are feeling for one side of your occiput (the base of your skull) to drop a bit after they have tapped or swiped in a specific area. This natural neurological response from your body will determine not only what the Doctor should adjust, but also in what order areas of your body should be adjusted.

Is A Chiropractic adjustment dangerous?
No.  I will ask you this question, is medicine dangerous? There are fewer documented cases of injuries each year from adjustment per year than from mis-prescribed drugs, drug overdose, bad drug combinations and treatments in the medical profession. Sure we sometimes see (and all too often) a newspaper article in which a person was injured by a chiropractic-like manipulation. If you read further into the story you will probably see that it was a friend of the individual or the individual that delivered the injury and not a trained Chiropractor. We as Chiropractic students practice and perform hundreds to thousands of adjustments before we ever deliver them to a patient in need. We practice and critique each other while in school in order to ensure we are more than capable of performing them on you, the patient.

The most often notable symptom of the adjustment is a cavitation (a pop or click sound) which is often heard and or felt by the patient as a result of the adjustment. This cavitation is the result of rapid release of air bubbles within the joint that have been under pressure, much like the opening of a carbonated soda can. The cavitation occurs more often than not, but it does not have to occur for the adjustment to be effective.  It is NOT the cracking of bones.

Do you mean that Chiropractors do not prescribe any pills?
No. We do, at times, recommend our patients to take pills. The pills we recommend, however, are high quality vitamins, minerals and other supplements that our body needs in order to maintain proper health. At times we may prescribe herbs such as Echinacea, feverfew, garlic, milk thistle, bromelain and others to aid the body in its attempt to cure and heal itself. We do not condemn the use of all pills, we just prefer to go to the primary source of all medicines – Mother Nature – for our help.

I heard that Chiropractic was a correspondence course, is this true?
I have heard the same comment also and it is totally NOT TRUE. Just like medical school, Chiropractic College requires certain prerequisites to enter, and once accepted, have a 5 year program usually completed in 3 1/2 years that is very intensive.  In college we studied  right beside many individuals who entered Medical, Osteopathic, Optometry and Dental school while I entered Chiropractic College. We as Chiropractors have taken the same prerequisite courses as the other health care professionals in our pursuit to help you achieve better health. The only difference is once we enter Chiropractic our goal is different. We still take many of the classes that other health care professionals in Chiropractic College, but we also spend time in the specialized study of Chiropractic.  Chiropractors actually have more hours in Neurology than medical doctors do, because that is our specialty!

The decision to study Chiropractic, for most students, is determined by the fact that they want to be more involved in the holistic approach with their patients than other health care professionals. Let’s face the facts, how often do you go to see the M.D. and he places his or her hands on you or palpates joints for pain or tenderness or checks for joint motion? How often does he ask a few questions and then prescribes a magic pill to cure your illness? Are you satisfied with that treatment?

If the answers to the above questions are seldom, always, and no (in order), then give Chiropractic a try! You may find you are more satisfied with your decision to see the Chiropractor first next time you need professional help.

 What is the tool you use?

We adjust using a tool called the Arthrostim, which gently taps the bone into place, versus manually adjusting. It resonates at a frequency that activates the mechanoreceptors (which allow your joint to move) but not the nociceptors (which sense pain in the joint). The Arthrostim allows us to easily and comfortably adjust any joint that we need to, including your cranial bones.

 What can I expect after my adjustment?

Throughout the day, your body will be processing your adjustment. Most patients feel very relaxed initially and may even need to take a nap; some feel a surge of energy, and others don’t feel an immediate change. Some patients experience some soreness after their adjustment, and may feel a little worse before they feel better. Make sure to drink plenty of water to help your body flush out the toxins being released by your body. This will help to facilitate the recovery process.

 What is “Retracing”?

Retracing is a healing process that occurs when old injuries “come to the surface” after an adjustment. This is a phenomena that does occur occasionally with other chiropractic techniques, but is very prevalent with KST. Because of retracing, you may notice sensations in other areas of your body after an adjustment, or notice new symptoms that you weren’t experiencing before. You may even experience cleansing-like symptoms. Some examples are acne, headaches, change in bowel movements, vivid dreams and deeper sleep.  This is normal and expected. Be assured that these symptoms will pass, and that if you experience them it is a sign that your body is returning to optimal health.

 What care should I take after my adjustment?

You may feel slightly sore, but no more so than when you are trying a new exercise. Normal water intake should be half of your body weight in ounces, per day. To help the healing process, we recommend that you drink more waterthan usual. You may also apply a thin layer of Biofreeze (found in your Welcome Bag) to the affected area. We recommend that you not apply heat to sore areas after an adjustment, but rather apply ice for approximately 20 minutes per hour to provide additional relief if necessary.

 When will I see results?

Every individual heals at a different rate. The problem that brought you in developed over a period of time, and healing will also take time. How quickly you feel better depends on how severe your issue is and how long it has been in place,as well as your overall state of health. The first two weeks can be likened to a roller coaster ride, sometimes you’ll feel better and sometimes you’ll feel worse. Typically, we do see noticeable improvement within the first 2-4 weeks of care.

 When do I have to come back?

Typically, we do like to see you more often within the first few weeks of care. We have found that more frequent visits at the start of treatment is the most effective way to change the pattern your body has developed. As your muscles, ligaments and tendons heal, the bones tend to stay in proper position and we will need to see you less. We will continually modify your progress and adjust your visit frequency accordingly.