About Chiropractic

    What is Chiropractic?

    Chiropractic means “done by hand”. D.D Palmer, the founder of chiropractic, made the first recorded chiropractic adjustment in the United States in 1895.

    Chiropractic is a branch of health care concerned with the diagnosis and care of problems that occur with the joints of the spine and body, as well as the supporting muscles, soft tissue and nerves that enable these joints to function effectively. Joint dysfunction can happen for a variety of different reasons such as trauma and injury, repetitive activities or postural imbalances.

    How can spinal manipulation help and is it safe?

    The World Health Organisation states..

    “Chiropractic care is safe and effective for the prevention and management of a number of health problems when employed skillfully and appropriately.”

    The guidelines from NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) are that chiropractic is a suitable treatment for most types of low back pain. They recommend GPs should be able to refer their patients for spinal manipulation, acupuncture and rehabilitation.

    Chiropractic, or any effective spinal manipulation is a non-invasive (non-surgical / pharmaceutical) means to treat problems with the spine, joint and muscles. In many cases, manipulation combined with appropriate life style and rehabilitation advice, it is more effective than conventional medical interventions for musculo-skeletal complaints.

    In the United States, the majority of patients seeking musculo-skeletal care will seek consult from a chiropractor or osteopath as they are specialists in this area.

    So, why look after your spine?

    Chiropractors are typically labelled as people who deal with bad backs. However, chiropractors deal with the whole body from head to toe. The reason for this is that problems in any part of the body can have an association with the spine. For example, if you have a knee problem, it may be because your spine is rotated and pelvis tilted which will cause the knee to twist also in compensation. If a joint is not functioning correctly, this swill often cause abnormal movement and inflammation in the joint. Chiropractors call these ‘subluxations‘. Over time, if these subluxations are left unchecked, joint degeneration can occur whereby cartilage or discs become damaged.

    As well as dealing with structural issues, chiropractors look to optimise the function of the nervous system by making adjustments to the spine that clear interference of nerve output. Sciatica is a common example of this.

    About your spine

    The spine has 24 movable vertebrae of the neck, mid back and lower back. The base of the spine known as the sacrum is made up of 5 fused vertebrae. The sacrum is where the spine joins the lower body at the pelvis.

    Between each of the movable vertebrae we have an intervertebral disc. These discs act as shock absorbers to help distribute force through the spine and allow space for the spinal nerves to exit from the spinal cord.

    The spinal cord is the connection between our brain and every cell, organ and tissue of the body.

    Our nervous system controls all of our body’s functions and movements, with the spinal cord acting as the super highway for this information. The spinal column protects the spinal cord and so allows the free flow of information, therefore it is essential to keep the spine healthy and moving well, allowing the nervous system to function optimally.


    Why do things go wrong?

    Subluxations can happen at any time during life even when we are very young.

    There are many activities that can cause joints of the spine to become subluxated; you may have been involved in a trauma, or your subluxations may have been caused by normal activities such as a repetitive action you do at work or at home or perhaps through a sporting activity.

    Poor posture is a common cause of subluxations and holding a static posture for long periods; for example sitting at a desk or driving for several hours at a time.

    Often what we find as chiropractors is a person’s problem is a combination of these possible causes. Eventually the body cannot compensate for the subluxations in the spine and we notice symptoms such as pain and movement restriction.

    Our job as chiropractors is to identify the subluxations, realign the vertebrae to take the pressure off the nervous tissue and restore movement to the affected area, allowing muscles to relax and the body to heal itself.

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