Chiropractic treatment works because your body keeps itself healthy and regulates itself under the control of the nervous system. Millions of instructions flow from your brain down the spinal cord to reach all the organs and tissue. The signs that come back to the brain confirm that your body is functioning correctly. The movement or incorrect position of the bones of the spine, called subluxation, interferes with this vital exchange because the nerves become irritated and can compromise the working of the affected organs and tissue. Specific spinal adjustments can help to improve the communication between the brain and the body. This communication is absolutely necessary to stay healthy.
What is a chiropractic adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment consist of applying a light and precise force in a specific direction to one or more of the bones of the spine that has lost its correct movement or position. There are different ways to adjust the spine, usually involving the doctor’s hands or using instruments and/or specifically designed beds. All adjustments are adapted to the age and size of the patient and have the same objective: to correct vertebral subluxations.
Who should consult a doctor of chiropractic medicine?
Anyone from adults to new-born babies, including children, older people, mothers-to-be, sportsmen and women…..having a healthy spine is common sense. If you’re ill, you should go to reactivate the natural healing capacity, and if you feel well, you should have the spine examined periodically to ensure you haven’t developed any vertebral subluxation that might irritate the spinal nerves. Often like dental cavities, vertebral subluxations can act silently for many years until pain appears. Chiropractic medicine not only diagnoses and treats symptoms when they occur, but is also based on preventative care and maintenance.
How long do the effects of a chiropractic treatment last?
The length of the treatment, as well as the frequency, depends on various factors: the state of the spine, physical condition, age, symptoms, over what period the problem has developed and the interest the patient has in their treatment. If one is seeking immediate relief from the symptoms being experienced, in a few sessions these will almost certainly disappear. But if one is looking to resolve the problem permanently, this will take more time.
Why haven't I heard about chiropractic medicine before?
Today, chiropractic is the second most important profession in the area of health in countries such as the USA, Canada, some European countries, Australia and New Zealand. However, in Spain the speciality is still not widespread. Currently, approximately 180 doctors practicing chiropractic belong to the Spanish Chiropractic Association, founded in 1986 and legalised in the same year by the Interior Ministry with the approval of the Ministry of Health.
How quickly can you see results?
The main function of the chiropractic doctor is not to make pains disappear temporarily, but to repair the natural workings of the body. The body will always fix first whatever is the highest priority from the point of view of survival. What is the priority for you (like the pain) is not always the priority for the body. Every case and every patient is different/unique and it is impossible to generalise: remember that pain is only an alarm which will subside in line with how the body regulates whatever is the priority.
Let’s imagine that you are suffering from a pinching between the (dorsal) vertebrae D1 or D2; the nerves that leave from here feed your shoulders but also feed energy to your heart and lungs. From the point of view of survival, it is more important for the body to correct a heart that is working badly than to fix a muscular pain.
What is the sound I hear when I am being adjusted?
All the body’s joints contain a fluid that helps to keep them lubricated and healthy. This ‘sinovial fluid’ contains gas (like fizzy drinks). Some methods of adjustment can produce a sound that occurs when the gas in this fluid is freed, as happens when a can of drink is opened. The sound is interesting but it is not a guide to the quality or value of the adjustment.
Does the instrument that the doctor uses do the same as a pair of hands?
The ‘activator’ and the integrator’ are the two instruments that the doctor might us during your chiropractic treatment. These produce the same effect as a manual adjustment. The important thing is to connect the vertebral subluxations so the nervous system is free from interference and you reach a state of optimum health.
Can I adjust myself?
Some people can get their joints to make a noise or a crack but this is not an adjustment. It can even be counterproductive as it can damage these joints, causing an unstable part of the spine to become even more unstable. Adjustments are very specific and can only be carried out by your chiropractor.
Indeed your doctor also has to receive chiropractic treatment from another colleague to help restore and maintain appropriate spinal function.
Why don't chiropractors prescribe medicines?
Chiropractic doctors don’t prescribe medicines because they base their treatments on a natural methodology. Instead of prescribing, chiropractors can give you recommendations to help you, such as the use of ice or heat, a detoxifying diet, herbs or supplements. These can all help control symptoms without side effects.
Are all patients adjusted in the same way?
No. The doctor evaluates each patient and their problem individually. The adjustments complement and reinforce each other. For example, the adjustment that you received today will complement the one you received yesterday. The recommendations made will be based on years of learning and experience. The care received by each patient may be extraordinarily different from the next. The treatment is individualised.
Does chiropractic work for all types of health problems?
No. However, chiropractic care produces results with a wide variety of health problems that are not necessarily considered ‘back’ problems, due to an improved working of the nervous system. A normal nervous system optimises the body’s natural healing capacity and this can very often improve a variety of health problems.
Why are new-born babies adjusted?
Even in normal natural births, the spine of the new-born baby can be affected. Due to the horizontal position of the mother, the force of up to 20kg is applied to the neck to get the head out. This is even more likely with more serious interventions (induction, caesarean, forceps, ventouse), as well as the rotations that a foetus experiences in order to release the shoulders. Preliminary studies suggest that colic, persistent crying, lack of appetite, ear infections and erratic sleeping patterns can be signs of vertebral subluxations. If appropriate, paediatric adjustments are more subtle than for adults.
From what age can a child be taken to a chiropractic doctor?
There is no minimum age to see a chiropractic doctor. Damage to the nerves of the spine, also known as subluxations, can have many causes. Some damage can occur during birth due to obstetric procedures. For example, forceps and/or ventouse can damage the spine of the new-born baby particularly when they are used to turn or pull the head and neck. New-born babies can therefore need chiropractic treatment for this. Childhood is a very active period for our bodies. Falls, accidents, jumps and races can cause misalignments of the spine and damage to the nerves.
Recent studies have shown a strong connection between the nervous and immune systems. If your children have never visited a chiropractor and are now older, the sooner they visit, the better.
How is a child's subluxation treated?
Your chiropractic doctor will achieve this through a series of light adjustments to your child’s spine that will be carried out either with their hands or with a small activator. If spinal sublaxations are corrected during infancy, children benefit from an optimal development of their systems and reach maturity in the best of conditions.
I am pregnant and my back hurts, can I consult a chiropractor?
During pregnancy, there are two things that affect the spine: a gradual separation of the sacro-iliac joints (between the pelvis and sacrum) to facilitate the birth and an increase in weight. When bodyweight increases, more tension is placed on the joints of the pelvis. If the pelvis is well balanced, everything is fine. But if there is an imbalance, this becomes intensified and causes a subluxation that can lead to pain. In addition, this type of subluxation generally causes problems during the birth increasing the pain involved.
Consequently, it is highly recommended that all pregnant mothers have their spine examined even if they have no pain, and that they receive chiropractic care at least once a month.
Can I receive chiropractic care even though I have back surgery?
Yes ,when the back has been operated, it is common to have instability above and below the level involved. These areas will be the focus of chiropractic care.
What happens when I have an irritated nerve?
The same as happens when a hose is blocked. Water stops flowing and your garden suffers. In the case of the nerve, the place where the nerve reaches will only receive a part of the energy required and this organ will stop working well, the level of health will fall and finally symptoms will appear.
Can I get a pinched nerve?
It is rare for a nerve to become pinched. It is more common for the spinal bones to irritate, stretch or rub against a nerve. These subluxations distort the nerve messages that travel between the brain and the body. This can produce unhealthy changes to the organs and tissue connected to the affected nerves.
Can chiropractic medicine help disabled people?
Of course. Chiropractic medicine does not cure a physical disability, but if the nervous system functions correctly thanks to chiropractic adjustments this will help people to become more self sufficient and to undertake activities that they were unable to do previously.
Is it true that doctors and chiropractors are in conflict with each other?
This is changing. After years of prejudice, lines of communication and collaboration are opening up. Attitudes change slowly but as the public is looking for an alternative solution to drugs and surgery, more and more doctors recommend chiropractic care.
What is the difference between chiropractic and ostheopathy?
The difference is in the academic training and the techniques used. In the USA, osteopaths study a 7-year degree but, unlike chiropractic doctors, use drugs and/or surgery like medical doctors and do not really use manual techniques. Osteopathic techniques range from subtle palpations that cause the movement of bodily fluids (blood, lymph, cerebrospinal) to more complex manipulations that move the muscles, joints and the connective tissue. The objective of both professions is to optimise the body’s self-healing power.
In Europe, there are few universities that offer degrees to be a Doctor of osteopathy. In Spain, the majority of osteopaths are not doctors but physiotherapists who have followed a post-graduate course. For this reason, there is a much greater number of osteopaths than chiropractors.
What is the difference between chiropractic and chiromassage?
People who practice chiromassage do not need a higher level of academic training. For this reason, they are limited to the practice of massage. Given that the spine is of key importance because it protects a large part of the central nervous system, it should not be manipulated by people with insufficient anatomical, neurophysical and biochemical knowledge to avoid the possibility of harm and to rule out possible side effects (advanced osteoporosis), fracture, other bone conditions)
What training does a chiropractic doctor undergo?
A minimum of 7 years of university education is needed to obtain the title of Doctor of Chiropractic in the USA, through a structured programme both in the basic sciences and clinical science.
In this way, a chiropractor is a professional who is highly qualified and trained to identify the cause of, and provide an appropriate treatment for, spinal problems. A chiropractor’s education however, never finishes. The majority of doctors regularly follow post-graduate programmes to stay up to date with the latest research and adjustment techniques.
Do university studies related with chiropractic exist in Spain?
The Real Centro Universitario ‘Escorial Maria Cristina’ – a centre attached to the Universidad Complutense in Madrid – has been offering the ‘Titulo Superior Universitario en Quiropractica’ in collaboration with the Spanish Chiropractic Association (AEQ) since 2007.
On completion of the 5-year course, the (private) qualification is awarded. In September 2009, the Barcelona College of Chiropractic began its training cycle.
How do subluxations occur?
There are 3 basic causes of subluxations:
Physical causes including slips and falls, bad postural habits, strain in domestic work, tension in the office workplace, repetitive movements, incorrect lifting technique, sleeping face down and/or sleeping on the sofa etc
Emotional causes like resentment, anger and fear
Chemical causes include the consumption of alcohol, tobacco or drugs, contamination or an unbalanced diet.
What are the symptoms of a subluxation?
The most common symptoms tend to be headaches, backache, a stiff neck, pain in the shoulders, arms or legs, numbness of the hands, fatigue and nervousness. As with dental cavities, most people have a subluxation long before they start to feel the symptoms.
Can I tell if I have a subluxation?
Not always. This is why periodic checks of the spine are so important. Although its possible you may know you have a subluxation, especially if there is a symptom, it would be difficult to be sure you didn’t have one. Regular chiropractic care checks are very advisable.
Chiropractic vs Osteopathy
There are significant differences in the academic preparation and the therapeutic methods of these two disciplines.
Click on the link for more info: Chiropractic VS Osteopathy.