Chiropractic care focuses on correcting spinal misalignments, also known as subluxations. Subluxations most commonly occur from physical stress. Most people associate them with accidents and other injuries. While this is a common cause, years of repetitive stress or poor posture are major contributors as well. The muscles, tendons and ligaments in your spine may develop small tears. Even if there is no tearing of the tissues, they can become stretched or otherwise disrupted. The only way your body knows how to heal these injured tissues is to lay down scar tissue. While scar tissue is good for stabilizing these injuries, it begins to harden over time. As a result, the bones in your spine (vertebrae) that are affected by this begin to lose mobility. When the vertebrae are no longer moving properly, they are likely to become misaligned and irritate the delicate spinal nerves that they are designed to protect. This leads to pain and functional problems.
The most important thing that occurs in a chiropractic office is the chiropractic adjustment. The adjustment involves carefully determining which vertebra needs to be corrected and which direction it needs to be moved. Then a precise force is administered to that particular bone to help improve motion and position. The adjustment may be accomplished by several different methods. It may be performed manually, with a piece of equipment called a drop piece, or by using one of many different chiropractic adjusting instruments. Regardless of the technique utilized by the chiropractor, the result is improvement of motion and position of the vertebra.
While the chiropractic adjustment is the most unique and important thing that is utilized in your care, it is also important to address the structures that support your spine to optimize your results and make those changes more permanent. Your chiropractor may use different procedures to accomplish this objective. There may be specific stretches used to help with remodeling the damaged soft tissues. Therapeutic activities may be used to help reset your nervous system to better deal with the physical changes that are occurring within your body. These frequently focus on balance, coordination, and proprioception (which is your body’s awareness of itself in space). Once your spine is functioning better, it is important to strengthen the muscles that support your spine so that you continue to improve after you graduate from corrective care to maintenance care. It also helps to keep you from backsliding over time to the point you were at when you sought care to begin with.
When searching for a chiropractor, it is important to look for one who offers spinal rehabilitation as well as chiropractic adjustments. Our goal as chiropractors is to offer you a long-term solution to your problems and not merely provide a temporary patch for your pain.