FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND OTHER SKEPTICISMS DEMYSTIFIED
Why should I go to a chiropractor?
Perhaps you already feel good. Maybe you have just overcome a health challenge or are experiencing a problem now and are looking to see what chiropractic can do. Here are some points to consider. Daily every day stresses (emotional, chemical, and physical) that we are all exposed to can cause spinal bones to misalign creating nerve interference; a condition called a Vertebral Subluxation. This is a bad thing because when your spine has subluxations the resulting nerve interference causes a disruption in the proper nerve messages between the brain and body that in turn upsets the delicate balance in body chemistry, affecting every level of your performance and every aspect of your life. The scary part of subluxations is that you rarely ever feel them. When we locate, analyze, and adjust (correct) these subluxations, we are helping to make sure that you are reaching your fullest potential in life by helping to maintain a good nerve supply to all cells, tissues, organs, and glands of your body.
How Does Chiropractic Work?
Chiropractic works because you are a self-healing, self-regulating organism controlled by your nerve system. Millions of instructions flow from your brain, down the spinal cord and out to every organ and tissue. Signals sent back to the brain confirm if your body is working right.
Improper motion or position of the moving bones of the spine can interfere with the vital exchange by irritating nerves and compromising the function of affected organs and tissues. This is called a vertebral subluxation. Specific spinal adjustments can help improve mind/body communications. Health often returns with improved nerve system control of the body.
What Is Innate Intelligence?
The answer to this question could fill up a book, but for our purpose here we'll try to keep it short. Innate intelligence is the inborn wisdom/intelligence of our body (and all living things) that allows us to adapt to our environment in order to survive. It has nothing to do with how smart a person is, their education, or ability to learn. It is our body's ability to regulate itself. It is what is responsible for all the proper functioning and coordination of all the trillions of cells of the body so that you can breathe, digest food, beat your heart, heal injuries, ... all the things needed for you to be alive. Innate intelligence uses our nerve system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) as the communication system for its messages. A vertebral subluxation interferes with the expression of innate intelligence and consequently our body cannot function or adapt to their optimum capabilities. Our whole body is affected by a subluxation.
What Is A Vertebral Subluxation?
In its simplest explanation, a subluxation (a.k.a. Vertebral Subluxation) is when one or more of the bones of your spine (vertebrae) move out of their proper position and create pressure on, or irritate spinal nerves causing those nerves to malfunction and interfere with the signals traveling over those nerves. How does this affect you? Innate intelligence uses your nerve system to control and coordinates all the functions of your body. If you interfere with the signals traveling over nerves, parts of your body will not get the proper nerve messages and will not be able to function at 100% of their innate abilities. Your body chemistry is altered, your immune system is weakened, negative, abnormal changes take place throughout you body, in other words, your body will not be working properly.
It is the responsibility of the Chiropractor to locate subluxations, and reduce or correct them. This is done through a series of chiropractic adjustments specifically designed to correct the vertebral subluxations in your spine.
Chiropractors are the only professionals who undergo years of training to be the experts at correcting subluxations.
How is Chiropractic Practiced Differently in This Office?
Our approach to chiropractic is unique. For this reason it is sometimes referred to as straight chiropractic or objective straight chiropractic. We have a singular objective and do not infringe upon other fields of health or disease treatment: ours is a philosophy and practice which seeks to keep the bones of the spine (vertebrae) in their proper relationships with each other, in order to allow the body to more fully express its maximum potential.
What Do You Mean By Maximum Potential?
Each individual human being has his or her own unique blend of potentials preprogrammed by genetic heritage long before birth. These include such factors as the capacity to see and to hear, the capacity for eye-hand coordination in work and play, the capacity to think clearly, to remember, to reason, to organize thoughts, to solve problems, the capacity to resist disease and to recover from injury, the capacity for balanced emotional response, for humor, for love. These are but a few examples of the many potentials and capacities inherent within the individual. While nobody can know the outermost limits of these potentials, it is easy to see how failure to express them fully would make us less than we could be.
What Do Chiropractic and The Bones of The Spine Have To Do With Expressing Potential?
The bones of the spine house and protect the spinal cord, which is the brain's control pathway to organs, glands and other body parts. It has been shown that a loss of normal relationship between spinal bones, called a vertebral subluxation, interferes with normal nerve impulses to and from the brain, and thereby disrupts the harmonious interaction of body parts. Because all of the glands and organs manufacture body chemicals, this interference disturbs the delicate balance of body chemistry. This disturbance in the balance of body chemistry affects every physical, mental and emotional aspect of life, thus interfering with the ability of your body to completely express its full potential in all areas of life.
Are You Saying That Internal Changes In Body Chemistry, Caused By Vertebral Subluxation, Can Affect Such Mental Factors As Mood, Memory, Or Creative Ability?
Yes. We have only to think of the physical, emotional and mental changes that can result from alcohol, drugs, medicines and life changes such as menopause, to realize how important body chemistry is to ALL functions. When body chemistry is disturbed either by adding chemicals from the outside, or by changing what the body manufactures from the inside, the result always affects every aspect of life.
Will an adjustment hurt? Is this safe for my newborn or my grandparents?
This is one of the most common questions I receive. The simple answer is No. There are specific modifications and numerous different adjusting techniques that allow me to care for newborns to the frailest of the elderly. They can even be tailored to adjust the tight muscles of a construction worker or athlete that may need a little "extra". No two people have the same body, and no two people are adjusted exactly the same. One thing is for sure; a full understanding of your concerns will be listened to and addressed before we proceed with care. That said, the vast majority of people love receiving adjustments because not only is it good for you but it feels wonderful and something they look forward to experiencing every week. An occasional rare individual may experience a split second of discomfort. If that were to occur I would change to a different adjusting technique.
Do I Have A Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve is rare. It is more likely that an adjacent spinal bone irritates, stretches, rubs, chokes, or chafes the spinal cord or a nerve when you have a subluxation. These subluxations distort the nerve messages sent between the brain and the body. This can produce unhealthy alterations to the organs and tissues connected by the affected nerves.
Do I Have A Slipped Disc?
The disc is a soft pulpy "shock absorber." It has a fibrous outer ring, which holds in a jelly-like material. A "slipped disc" is a common way to refer to a wide variety of disc problems. However, a disc can't slip because of the way it is attached to the spinal bones above and below it. A disc can bulge, tear, herniated, thin, dry out, or collapse. But it cannot slip. However, in order to do any of these things the vertebrae must have subluxated first. While some disc problems require immediate surgery, most can be greatly helped by chiropractic care.
How Do You Get Subluxations?
There are three basic causes/stresses of subluxations, physical, chemical, and emotional stresses. Examples of physical stresses include slips and falls, accidents, the birth process, repetitive motions, and improper lifting. This type of stress is the most commonly associated with chiropractic, but in reality is the least common cause of subluxations. Examples of emotional stresses include worry, grief, anger, and fear. These are by far, the most common causes of subluxations. Some examples of chemical stresses include alcohol, drugs, pollution, smoking, and poor diet. These are the second most common cause of subluxations. Usually it is a combination of all three stresses that cause subluxations. As you can see, the list is endless and these causes occur throughout life.
How Do I Know If I Have A Subluxation?
Unfortunately, most of the time you don't. It is true that some vertebral subluxations may be accompanied by pain and/or muscle spasms, but in most cases, subluxations are present without any obvious symptoms. The only way to be absolutely sure is to have your spine checked by the trained hands of a chiropractor. Like early stages of cancer, heart disease, and tooth decay, subluxations can be present before any warning signs. Only a thorough spinal analysis can show the location and severity of any subluxations you may have.
How Do You Identify These Vertebral Subluxations?
In our office identification and correction of vertebral subluxation is done by hand on every visit. It is based upon the fact that the body always uses its spinal muscles to try to correct any and all vertebral subluxations. After much training and sensitizing of our fingertips, we identify exactly what the body is trying to do with any spinal bone. If the body is trying unsuccessfully to move a bone, we implicitly trust the body's innate wisdom to know what it is doing, and we offer a little extra thrust for the body to complete the job. When the balance of spinal muscles indicates that the body is content with the position of all spinal bones, we are also satisfied, and nothing further is done.
Can Subluxations Clear Up On Their Own?
Sometimes. Today's hectic lifestyles are a constant source of subluxations. Fortunately, our bodies have the ability to self-correct some of these problems as we bend and stretch, or when we sleep at night. The only problem is that we do not always know when we have subluxations nor can we predict if they will be corrected. For this reason, periodic spinal check-ups are necessary.
How Does A Chiropractor Correct These Vertebral Subluxations?
To be absolutely accurate, we must point out that the chiropractor does not really correct the vertebral subluxations. The body has its own spinal muscles to do that. Where there are muscle fibers working to correct a vertebral subluxation, we apply a very gentle and specific force in the direction indicated so that your body may adapt accordingly. If after this application of force your body is no longer working for change, our job is completed. Some methods use the doctor's hands, an instrument, a special table, or the force of gravity. There are many ways to adjust the spine.
Will I need a ton of unnecessary and expensive procedures?
Of course not, this isn't one of those offices that will overanalyze things to run up a big bill. Many people are apprehensive about starting care because of the cost of x-rays or other imaging or tests. My method of analyzing your spine does not require those things. In fact, the vast majority of our practice members do not need any x-rays or other type of imaging. However, if something in your consultation or examination would suggest that you would need further testing you would be informed and YOU could make the necessary arrangements with whomever you wanted to go to for further tests.
Will care be too expensive?
Absolutely not! Our first visit fee is $30. We also have a set fee for an adjustment, however almost no one pays that fee. Our office utilizes the Honor Fee System, a unique fee system that allows YOU to set your own fees.
Will you be able to treat/cure my (symptom/disease)?
As offered in this clinic, chiropractic is NOT a treatment for any condition, or an attempt to cure any disease. No doctor can cure anything; only the body can cure itself. Sick and diseased cells must die and be replaced by healthy cells in order for you to heal and "be cured". That can only be done by your body. One of the potentials reduced by vertebral subluxation is the body's potential for health and healing. A body that has vertebral subluxations could never be as healthy as it could under the same circumstances, but without the subluxations. Chiropractic care helps your body to function to its greatest potential and in many cases will help in the production of healthy cells, thereby allowing your body to better heal itself. As an analogy we'll use darkness (disease) and light (health/life). Darkness (disease) is really just an absence of light (health/life). Trying to remove darkness out of a room would not give you satisfactory results. The approach we use is to add more light (health/life) to your body. Bottom line: Through our interactions, my intent and hope for you is that you understand what it takes to be healthy so you can have control of your health and life.
Will I have to keep on going for the rest of my life?
Once again, of course not, not if you don't want to. Truthfully, this is a Yes and No answer. There are people who use my services for pain relief or like a band-aid. They deny their awareness of how to take better control of their health and life so unfortunately; their situations and conditions keep recurring. However, those that do learn about chiropractic and optimum health come to appreciate their health and well-being. My job is to explain your options and offer the very best care; your job is to decide how much of it you want. You can benefit from chiropractic as much as you want, however most people choose to come regularly for the rest of their life because they realize that anything that is of benefit to their health and life like: exercise, proper nutrition, proper rest, brushing your teeth, proper hygiene, etc. must be done regularly to obtain the proper benefit. You must look at chiropractic care as part of a healthy lifestyle, not a temporary treatment for something. I correct nerve interference caused by subluxations in your spine, which occur throughout your life. Having a nerve system free of interference is not something you want only occasionally, but something you should want from birth until death. Most people decide to continue getting checked weekly because it is healthy to do so and it improves their life.
Will there be long waiting times and long visit times?
My gosh no! I hate waiting in doctors' offices as well. The doctor is not the only busy person in the world. I realize that you are all busy and can't and don't want to devote large amounts of time for care. The methods of analyzing your spine and the adjusting techniques I use can have you checked, adjusted, and on your way in just a few minutes. Because this is so quick you rarely have to wait more than a few minutes (if at all) to be seen.
Can The Bones Move Too Much?
Highly unlikely. A chiropractic adjustment is special. It has the right amount of energy, delivered to an exact spot, at a precise angle, at just right time. The intent is to get a "stuck" spinal joint moving again, helping reduced nerve interference. Years of training, practice and experience make chiropractic adjustments specific and safe.
Will Adjustments Make My Spine Too Loose?
No. Only the spinal joints that are "locked up" receive adjustments. This allows weakened muscles, tendons, and ligaments to stabilize and heal.
What Makes A Sound During The Adjustment?
Lubricating fluids separate the bones of each spinal joint. Some adjusting methods can produce a sound when the gas and fluids in the joints shift. It's much like opening a bottle of champagne or removing a suction cup. The sound is interesting, but it isn't a guide to the quality or value of the adjustment. In other words, you can be adjusted without producing the sound or you can produce the sound without being properly adjusted.
Are All Patients Adjusted The Same Way?
No. Each patient's spine and care plan is unique. At times it may look that way. But, with 24 moving bones in the spine, most of which can be subluxated in 9 possible directions (with the exception of the atlas, the 1st vertebrae in your neck, which can subluxate in 20 different directions), we see wide variety of spinal patterns. Each patient's care is custom tailored for his or her age, condition and health goals.
Can I Adjust Myself?
No. Some people can make their joint "pop", but that's not an adjustment! In many instances they are moving hypermobile joints (joints that move too much to make up for the "stuck" joints). By doing so, they give the stuck joints no incentive to become unstuck. Worse, damage can occur by mobilizing a joint with weakened muscles and ligaments. Adjustments are specific and take years to master. Even your chiropractor must consult a colleague to benefit from chiropractic care.
Why Do Newborns and Children Need Adjustments?
Even under the best circumstances today's natural childbirth methods can be very traumatic to an infant's spine. Use of forceps, vacuum extraction, and C-sections are even more traumatic. Preliminary studies suggest that colic, unusual crying, poor appetite, ear infections or erratic sleeping habits can be signs of spinal stress. Learning to crawl, walk, run, and all the new physical activities associated with childhood are constant sources of subluxations. A tremendous amount of physical, emotional, and chemical changes occur in our first years of life. Each a potential cause of subluxation. In fact, children need chiropractic care more than adults. Pediatric adjustments are gentle and incredibly safe. Knowing exactly where to adjust, the doctor applies no more pressure than you used to test the ripeness of a tomato.
Can I Have Chiropractic Care After Back Surgery?
Yes. Rest assured that your chiropractor would avoid the surgically modified areas of your spine. Surgery often causes instability above or below the involved levels. Many times these areas will be the focus of your chiropractic care.
Can Patients With Osteoporosis Get Chiropractic Care?
Of course. When developing a care plan, your chiropractor considers the unique circumstances of each patient. They are many ways to adjust the spine. The methods selected will be best suited to your age, size and condition.
How Long Until I'll "Feel Better"?
It is important to remember that how you feel is not the focus of our practice. Symptoms are a very poor judge of health. Many times they are usually the last part of a diseases process to appear and they disappear before a problem has even begun to be corrected under chiropractic care. In many cases they may even be beneficial. They serve no purpose in determining if or where you need to be adjusted. Only the presence of subluxations will determine if you need care. Many patients do come to the office with symptoms. Some patients experience almost instant relief. Others discover it can take many weeks or months to "feel better". Many factors can affect the healing process. How long have you had your problem? Are you keeping to your adjustment schedule? Are you getting the proper rest, exercise, and nutrition? Do you smoke or do other things that rob your health? Are you in otherwise good condition? We all want to feel good, but your progress and care do not revolve around symptoms. There is also no way to predict if, when, or how you will get better. We can only adjust subluxations when we find them, thereby allowing your body to do its job of healing itself.
What Diseases And Conditions Can A Chiropractor Cure?
Chiropractors do not cure anything. No doctor can cure anything. As offered at this clinic, chiropractic is NOT a treatment for any condition, or an attempt to cure any disease. Sick and diseased cells must die and be replaced by healthy cells in order for you to heal and "be cured". That can only be done by your body. If the sick and diseased cells that die are replaced by more sick and diseased cells the health condition remains or gets worse. It is true, of course, that one of the potentials which could be reduced by vertebral subluxation is the body's potential for health. A body which has vertebral subluxations could never be as healthy as it could under the same circumstances, but without the subluxations. Whatever potential one has for resisting disease or recovering from disease will be better expressed without vertebral subluxations. Chiropractic care helps your body to function to its greatest potential and in many cases will help in the production of healthy cells, thereby allowing your body to heal itself. There has not been a disease that a properly functioning body has not been able to overcome. What is important to realize is that ALL people are better off without vertebral subluxations under ALL circumstances, without regard to whether they are sick or well. However, if you have passed the limitation of matter (gone beyond you bodies ability to heal itself), other forms of care may be needed to relieve suffering or keep a person alive. If you want to know the best "treatment" for any disease condition, ask your medical doctor, not a straight chiropractor. If you want to stay free of subluxations just because that's the best way to be all that you could be, see your chiropractor regularly.
Will Regular Visits To The Chiropractor Help Prevent Certain Illnesses?
Its hard to say, because there are so many factors that can cause an illness. Genetics, diet, exercise, rest, lifestyle choices, exposure to toxins, etc. are just some factors that can play a part in whether or not you become ill. Chiropractic helps you to express your potential in all areas of life, including health. Logically, getting adjusted will give you a huge help in preventing illness and disease. In some studies it has been shown that chiropractic can boost your immune system 200-400%. That has to be a big plus in promoting health. But, other health promoting activities, such as exercise, getting proper nutrition, proper rest, need to be done as well. By giving you a healthy nervous system, chiropractic ties those health-promoting activities together and helps you get the most out of them.
How Long Will I Need Chiropractic Care?
Let me turn that around and ask the same question about doing other things that are healthy. Once I start exercising, do I have to do that forever? Or, once I start eating healthy foods, do I have to do that forever? Do I have to brush my teeth forever? You must look at chiropractic care as part of a healthy lifestyle, not a temporary treatment for something. In reality we do not treat anything. We correct nerve interference caused by subluxations in your spine, which occur throughout your life. Therefore, having a nerve system free of interference is not something you want only occasionally. After practice members get the relief they want and undergo spinal correction, most choose to continue with some type of periodic/wellness care. They show up for their visits feeling great. These visits can help support the final stages of healing and help detect and resolve new problems before they become serious. The answer is no, you do not have to keep going. Our job is to explain your options and offer the very best care; your job is to decide how much of it you want. Most people decide to continue because it is healthy to do so.
Why Doesn't A Subluxation Stay Corrected After An Adjustment?
Before answering this question I would like you to review the question titled "How do you get subluxations?" Realize that many subluxations have been present for years or decades before many people come to a chiropractor. Bone, ligament, muscle, tendon, and disc shapes have been altered. Your body perceives this 'bad' position as normal. It takes months of regular care to properly retrain and reshape these structures. In fact, ligaments may take a year or longer to heal correctly. Also, the reason why subluxations do not stay corrected is because the causes of subluxations exist throughout your life. They may vary from time to time; as will your subluxations, but the stresses that cause subluxations exist from birth to death.
Does My Mattress Or How I Sleep Have Anything To Do With How Long I Hold My Adjustment?
Everyone has slept on a bad mattress, couch, or chair and awoken stiff and sore. Logically a good mattress should help support your spine and help you hold your adjustments longer. Sleeping on your stomach jams your spinal joints together and in many people will cause or aggravate pain. Many people report that sleeping on their side or on their back helps them when they are feeling discomfort. Ideally you want to keep your spine in a straight line when on your side. You do not want pillows that are too high or too flat. Experiment and see what works best for you.
Why Do Some People Need More Frequent Adjustments Than Others?
Everyone is under different stresses and everyone's ability to handle stress is different. Our bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, etc. are different and respond differently to stresses. We all have different genetic predispositions to subluxations, which we have inherited from our parents and grandparents. We do different things to promote or damage our health. Taking all that into consideration it is easy to see how some may need more frequent care than others. As you progress with care, your chiropractor and you will both determine what frequency of care is best for you based on your subluxation patterns.
What Can I Do To Strengthen My Spine?
First and foremost, you need to stick to your adjustment schedule. That will be the best thing you can do for your spine. Getting the proper nutrition, rest, exercise, and having a positive mental attitude are a few things that can help promote overall health. You can also try to avoid things that damage health. Unfortunately, there are no specific exercises that can be done to strengthen the tiny muscles surrounding the bones of your spine.
Will I have to buy vitamins, pillows, orthotics, or other things to supplement my care?
I'm certainly not critiquing those things. However, with that said, I do not participate in any of those things. This office is chiropractic only. Since I practice what is called Objective Straight Chiropractic, I do nothing besides locate, analyze, and assist in the correction of vertebral subluxations. There are other professions that deal with nutrition, therapy, etc. My suggestion to you would be to look into them if you wanted those services. In some instances I may be able to steer you in the right direction for obtaining the information that you seek.
Will I have to undergo any physical therapy modalities (ultrasound, muscle stimulation, heat, ice, etc.)?
This one always makes me wonder, why anyone would go to a chiropractor for physical therapy? Better yet, why would a chiropractor want to do physical therapy? Why not just go to a physical therapist? Again, there is nothing offered at this office except chiropractic adjustments. If you are looking for any physical therapy you will have to look elsewhere.
Will I have to pre-pay for a year or a hundred visits?
These types of practices are not for me. I don't want to force you to be locked into care that you may not need or want. Besides as it was answered above, we utilize the Honor Fee System here. Through our interaction you and I will work together to find the schedule that you need and that works for you.
Do You Do Talks About Chiropractic To Other Clubs and Organizations?
Absolutely. I love any opportunity to lecture about chiropractic and health. If you belong to any group or organization that hosts lectures please let me know. I would love to do a talk for your group.
Why Do Different Chiropractors Seem To Be Doing Different Things?
There are countless ways to adjust the spine. Numerous techniques are taught at different schools. All are good and effective. Every chiropractor will develop his/her own adjusting style that will help them serve their practice members. Techniques may also be modified to adjust practice members with special needs. As long as the technique removes subluxations you cannot go wrong.
Do You Get Adjusted?
Personally, I get checked by my chiropractor at least twice per week. I am adjusted as needed (usually every visit). Now mind you, I have been under regular chiropractic care since 1994, and still need to be adjusted weekly due to the stresses in my life that cause me to be subluxated that often. I check my wife and children daily. Realistically, for most people that is not an option, but I recommend at least weekly, check-ups for most people unless they consistently show that they do not need such frequent care.
How Often Should I Get Adjusted If I Feel Fine?
To answer this you must remember that the purpose for getting adjusted is to correct subluxations. The problem is that subluxations, (like dental cavities), usually don't cause pain. By the time you feel any pain or discomfort, your subluxations have been there for a while. So, how often should you get checked to see if you need to be adjusted? A number of my practice members who "feel fine" get checked weekly. The question you have to ask yourself is, "How much nervous system interference/malfunction from subluxations is acceptable?" For me - NONE!
So What's Next?
That is really up to you. If you are really serious about being the best that you can be physically, mentally and emotionally, then you need to add chiropractic to your life. A chiropractic spinal exam is easy and painless. If you have a vertebral subluxation, the correction of it is also easy, and takes just a few minutes.
If you aren't satisfied with your current level of performance or if you think you see room for improvement in your life, then you owe it to yourself to have your spine checked and see what life is really like when you're running on all cylinders!
Potential is something we've all been blessed with. Whether or not you fully express it is entirely up to you!