Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why does my spine keep “going out”?
A: Spines do not go “in and out”, and chiropractors don’t put bones “in”. Otherwise your doctor would be able to take an x-ray of your spine after the adjustment and show you its fixed. The fact is, adjustments decompress joint pressure, signal nerve receptors to override pain, and change the nerve muscle memory on how muscles contract and relax. The feeling of “going out” is based on the joint pressure, disc or nerve compression that occurs when muscles are pulling harder on one side than another due to the habits of nerve muscle memory. Once nerve muscle memory is changed, the spine stabilizes and doesn’t feel like it’s “going out”.
Q: If I’m fixed why do I still need adjustments?
A: Everyone has “postural listings” or “habits”. Even though spinal alignment may be corrected, periodic adjustments must be done to maintain the spinal alignment throughout a lifetime. Computers, prolonged sitting, driving, injuries and poor ergonomics all contribute to recurrent subluxations from the body’s adaptation to these habits. Moving parts require maintenance. If you maintain your car, your teeth and your lawnmower, you should maintain your spinal alignment for life.
Q: How does your spine “hold” once its fixed?
A: There has been a change in nerve muscle memory in a corrected spine. Just like body building, learning gymnastics, or playing piano once a level is achieved maintenance is all that is needed.
Q: Why should I fix my spine if I have no symptoms?
A: Spinal subluxations cause nerve interference to whatever part of the body the nerve supplies ( heart, lungs, digestive system, muscles, joints ect.) Like most health problems subluxations are usually silent for a long time. After enough damage occurs to the disc, joint or body part the nerve supplies a symptom occurs. Correction and prevention of spinal subluxations should be a part of everyones health care before symptoms arise.
Q: Should my kids get their spines checked?
A: Most problems start in childhood, especially postural problems. Past postural habits, falls, and hereditary postures can effect a child’s spine. Correcting spinal alignment is usually easy, cost effective, and will save your child a world of problems and pain in the future. Many childhood problems like bedwetting, headaches, colic, learning disabilities, asthma, allergies, scoliosis and digestive problems are helped with chiropractic. In addition, kids don’t only look like parents from the outside they have their nose, hair color, heart problems, allergies, and spinal misalignment.
Q: Why do you need to get adjusted so often?
A: It takes time to correct imbalance just like it takes time to straighten teeth, lose weight, or build muscle from weight training. All require repetition and consistency. Repetition causes the body to adapt. When the spine is subluxated, muscles become imbalanced and begin to memorize the abnormal position. With repetitive spinal adjustments, and exercises, the nerve muscle memory is changed to restore the spine and posture to its normal alignment.
Q: Why can’t I just do exercises to correct my spine?
A: There are two types of nerve receptors that trigger nerves to fire to control posture, fast and slow. Spinal exercises trigger the slow ones and adjustments trigger the fast ones. Both must be stimulated for optimum spinal correction.
Q: What are the best types of exercises for spinal correction?
A: Isometric. Postural muscles respond differently than phasic muscles. When injured phasic muscles go flaccid where postural muscles spasm. In turn phasic muscles strengthen with isotonic exercises. This is why you can see a body builder with symmetrical phasic muscles, but be grossly misaligned in their spine.
Q: What kind of problems can subluxations (spinal misalignments) cause?
A: Most people adhere to vitalistic views of holistic health care. However, when it comes to the spine and posture they get trapped in the mechanistic belief that their structure only has to do with physical aches and pains in muscles and joints. The truth is research shows that your structure governs your function. If the spine is subluxated nerve interference occurs. Nerves carry messages from the brain to control everything! If nerve interference occurs to any part of the body due to spinal subluxation (misalignment) that part won’t function optimally. Patients with subluxations can get allergies, digestive problems, heart trouble, breathing disorders, and many more conditions we typically associate with medical problems. Wherever there is nerve interference there is a problem.
Q: How can I tell if I’m subluxated?
A: Subluxations and postural distortions are silent and don’t cause immediate symptoms. The first indicators are postural imbalances. Check yourself and your kids for unlevaling of the skull, shoulders and hips. Look for a high ear, shoulder or belt position. Next, check for FHP (Forward Head Posture), rounded shoulders, and slumping posture. The best thing to do is to get a spinal check or a screening by a chiropractor. Even though postural problems are indicators, subluxations can be silent and insidious needing a chiropractic expert to detect them.
Q: Are some people more susceptible to subluxations than others?
A: Although anyone can get subluxated, as in all health problems, people who don’t practice good health habits will be more susceptible to subluxation. Eating right, regular exercise, relaxing emotions, and maintaining proper posture and spinal alignment with regular chiropractic adjustments will insure your most optimum potential for health.
Q: Can subluxations cause cancer?
A: Although the exact cause of cancer is unknown, numerous things have been linked to cancer. Unnatural, processed foods, preservatives, food dyes, pollution, chemicals, negative emotions and even chronic pain syndromes have been linked to cancer. Removing any interference to the body including nerve interference from subluxation allows it to function at optimum health potential. Studies have shown spinal adjustments improves nerve function so chiropractic should be part of every patients health care team.
Q: What will happen if I don’t fix my subluxations?
A: Like a wheel out of alignment in a car, studies show there will be progressive wear and tear to the disc, joints and nerves which results in loss of function to the body.
Q: Can animals get subluxated?
A: Yes. Humans are more susceptible to subluxations and postural imbalance because we are two legged. However, four legged animals, even though they are more equally balanced with gravity, can get subluxated too. Subluxations in animals are usually do to trauma. Many chiropractors work on animals, including horses. In fact, several major universities have chiropractic in their veterinary programs. Subluxations have the same bad effect in animals ads they do in humans. They disrupt optimum function.
Q: At what age should you start getting adjusted?
A: As soon as subluxation is detected. Although infants do not have the spinal patterns of adults they can get subluxated in the birth process, and according to a German medical study, even in utero. The most common subluxation in infants and small children are in the upper cervical and pelvis area.
Q: Are adjustments safe?
A: Yes. In most cases adjustments are very safe. However, like any other health care procedure, unforeseen complications can occur but are rare. The most common side effects are mild soreness like starting a new exercise. Even this only occurs in a small percentage of people. The key to maximizing safety in any health care procedure is a through exam performed by a licensed chiropractor. Caution should be exercised if the chiropractor rushes into adjustive procedures without through examinations. Make sure your chiropractor has a system of patient education, does a good history examination, necessary tests, and reviews the findings with you in an understandable way. There should be a course of action and a monitoring system laid out to you, and if any contradictions or potential risks exist they should be explained. This will help insure the safety of your adjustment program.
Q: Do adjustments hurt?
A: Generally no. There may be mild discomfort at the beginning due to the initial movement, stretching of tissue are brief and adhesions. It is similar to starting a new exercise. Most people feel much better right away. If you do feel pain from your adjustment, discuss this with your chiropractor immediately.
Q: Can MD’s adjust your spine?
A: No. Adjusting your spine is an art and needs to be left in the hands of trained and qualified doctors of chiropractic. MD’s are not trained or qualified to adjust you or give opinions and chiropractic adjustments.
Q: What is the difference between a DC a PT and a DO?
A: PT’s are trained for joint and muscular rehabilitation they employ stretching and strengthening but cannot do adjustments .DO’s are similar to MD’s but can do some manipulations. These manipulations are primarily done for joint mobilization and reducing pain not for corrective posture and spinal adjustment. Although DO’s are aware of the great benefit of spinal manipulations for overall health and wellness and have done a significant body of research on it, less than 1% of DO’s do manipulations at all . DC’S correct spinal adjustments to reduce nerve which replaces pain and improves function and health.
Q: What is the popping sound?
A: It is a release of air by 10% breaking the joints vacuum, similar to opening a can of soda pop.
Q: Does adjusting your spine or knuckles cause arthritis?
A: No, This is an old wives tale in fact the opposite is true. Adjusting the joints increases mobilization and promotes health in the case of the spine adjustments are done to restore spinal alignment to working of the disk, joints and nerves. It is when joints are out of alignment that they wear out, similar to a misaligned car wheel. In fact studies have shown that spinal adjustments and stretching can actually promote disc restoration in some cases. This is because discs have no blood supply and require movement to get rid of waste products and imbibe fluid and nutrients. It is trauma and misalignment that causes discs to break down and joints to develop degeneration and arthritis.
Q: Can I still exercise during my adjusting program?
A: In most cases yes. However, depending on the extent of your subluxations and posture misalignment the doctor may have you abstain from certain high input activities that may adversely affect your spine.
Q: Why can’t a chiropractor just put me in place with one adjustment?
A: Adjustments don’t put bones in place or set bones, like setting a fracture. Spinal misalignment (subluxations) occur an imbalance of nerve muscle control.
When trauma or repetitive posturing occurs recharging receptors. (nerve receptors that control posture) are triggered to signal muscles to pull a certain direction. Over time the posture receptors develop memory. Once the chiropractor identifies the abnormal posture patterns and spinal misalignments, adjustments and exercises can be done to trigger the muscles to realign the spine and posture. Repetition and consistency are necessary to make spine and posture corrections just like working out in the gym. The more consistent inputs the better the body can adapt.
Q: Can chiropractic help a herniated disc?
A: Absolutely, a herniated disc usually refers to a bulge in the annulus or the fibrous lining of the disc. The worst cases occur in chronic subluxations misalignment of the spine repetitive stress irritation vibration and trauma. When the spine is out of alignment there is undo pressure and the disc which causes this inner jelly like fluid to push to one side. This stresses the disc fibers over time until the pressure of the inner jelly like fluid causes a bulge, similar to bubbles in a weak tire. This bulge puts pressure on the nerve or spinal cord causing pain causing pain, numbness, weakness and dysfunction. Chiropractic gets excellent results reducing the bulge and restoring alignment of the vertebrae to establish future disc and spinal stability. In most cases chiropractic saves people from having surgery. However in some cases the muscles puncture or tare causing their inner jelly like fluid to leak or part of the muscles could fragment causing free floating tissue. In these cases surgery would be recommended. However chiropractic adjustments would still be needed to restore spinal alignment post surgically to minimize the problem from returning.
Q: When will the pain go away?
A: Pain is a perception that comes from the damaged tissue hitting a threshold. As your spinal alignment is restored tissues repair, and function returns. Pain relief is not directly related to the amount of spinal misalignment but the amount of tissue repair that has occurred. This is why it is hard to predict when pain will come or go. Pain could stay away with just a few adjustments, but a lot of work needs to be done to restore the spine to its normal alignment. On the other hand, spinal alignment could be close to optimum yet pain may still be present. Unfortunately a misaligned spine will eventually cause pain or dysfunction to the body.
Q: Can I tell if I have spinal problems by looking at my posture? Does poor posture reflect spinal misalignment?
A: Most definitely. In most causes your posture reflects your spinal alignment. Tilts of the skull, shoulders, hips, forward head posture, rounded shoulders, even knock knees and foot imbalance all indicate possible spinal misalignment. However, although posture may appear normal subluxations could be present so a chiropractor should be on everyone’s health care team to check for spinal imbalance.