Frequently Asked Questions

Here you may find some of the many questions that prospective chiropractic patients may want to ask before seeking chiropractic health care. This is not meant to be an all inclusive list, and if you have other questions, please feel free to contact the office.

  • What is a subluxation complex?
  • Why don't chiropractors prescribe/recommend drug therapy?
  • What's the difference between chiropractors and medical doctors?
  • What to do if you are in an accident.
  • What if I have a slipped disk?
  • Why does someone who doesn't hurt need an adjustment?
  • What other things do chiropractors do?
  • Who Should Visit A Chiropractor?

What is a subluxation complex?

A subluxation complex is the dis-relationship of two or more spinal vertebrae causing one or more of the following :

  • Nerve irritation
  • Nerve encroachment (putting pressure where the nerve exits the spine)
  • Swelling of the joint spaces between the vertebrae
  • Muscle tightness or spasm of the surrounding area
  • Abnormal pressure or pulling on muscles, tendons and ligaments
  • Twisting, tilting or tearing of the intervertebral disc
  • Tearing of the supportive ligaments causing too much motion
  • Compression of the joint space allowing too little motion

Sometimes this complex can be very severe (such as after an injury) and sometimes it can be long term (such as in arthritic conditions). In most instances, a subluxation complex will cause pain.

Why don't chiropractors prescribe/recommend drug therapy?

Chiropractic was designed from the outset to be drugless, as an alternative to allopathic medicine. Drug therapy can be useful, but it can also be harmful when it masks the symptoms instead of taking care of the problem that is causing the patient discomfort or disease. There are times when limited access to pain killers would be beneficial to alleviate a patient's "unbearable" pain, however, I find that I just work harder to get the patient past that "unbearable" stage.

What's the difference between chiropractors and medical doctors?

Medical physicians treat the body as parts (a "liver problem" or a "stomach case" etc.) without much respect for what other factors caused the individual organ to dysfunction. Chiropractic doctors will discuss with the patient all known items that may (or may not) have had some effect on their problem. A person may have mid thoracic pain from coughing, but the patient's smoking habits would need to be discussed, as well as a possible connection to head/neck pain. What the patient does in his/her work may cause some of the problem. How and where they live may also contribute to the problem. This is treating the whole person.

What to do if you are in an accident?

If you are involved in an automobile accident or other type of accident that causes immediate pain or immobility, see a physician immediately. Many persons come to a chiropractic office for care long after an accident, making the symptoms more difficult to treat, and a correction and proper healing much more difficult to accomplish. Injuries are best treated within the first 5-7 days with chiropractic care. If the only care you getting is painkillers, hot packs and massage, you are missing an important part of getting well. Correcting the spine is just as important as any other thing you may do to get well.

What if I have a slipped disk?

There is actually no such thing as a "slipped" disc. The spinal discs are a cushioning piece of tissue that lie between each bone of the spine. There are two parts to the disk, the annulus (the tough part, like gristle) and the nucleus (a soft center, about the consistency of peanut butter). If the spinal vertebra tilt and create a wedge, the nucleus can bulge toward the open end of the wedge area. This can cause undue pressure on the spinal nerve roots or on the spinal cord. If the annulus becomes torn (partially or fully) the nucleus can migrate into the tear, putting even more pressure on spinal nerves or on the cord. The correct terminology for this is "herniated" disc. Chiropractors can (gently) treat a herniated disk, within all but the most severe tears.

Why does someone who doesn't hurt need an adjustment?

An adjustment (spinal manipulation) can only be performed when there is something to correct. Many "healthy" people have small problems (that have not yet developed into pain expressions) that may or may not turn into larger problems. Treating these small (painless) problems when they are not serious is beneficial to the patient, by eliminating a possible cause of future problems. those that choose to participate in this type of care are proactively working on keeping their health at its optimal level (wellness care) vs. waiting until symptoms appear and basing their health care on those symptoms (sickness care).

What other things do chiropractors do?

Besides providing chiropractic adjustments and good health habits, chiropractic doctors provide pre-employment, prenatal and athletic physicals. Many chiropractic doctors are team physicians for local high schools and organized sports. Some treat professional athletes such as runners, body builders, Olympic athletes and swimmers. A group of doctors in Pasadena fly to a remote area of Mexico to provide health care where most people have NEVER seen a doctor.

Who Should Visit A Chiropractor?

Researchers tell us that over 80% of the general population will suffer from one of the great variety of vertebrogenic disorders for certain periods of their life. Vertebrogenic disorders mean disorders of the body that are caused in whole or in part by spinal faults.

In addition to pain and discomfort in the neck and back, these disorders include tension headaches, migraine headaches, dizziness, neuralgia, pain in the shoulders and arms, certain types of pain in the chest and abdomen, pain in the hips, knees and legs (sciatica), disc disorders, certain digestive disorders and problems with menstrual cycles. The connection between these seemingly unrelated conditions and the spine is that the nerves, which serve all areas of the body, can be irritated directly or indirectly by spinal disorders.

Frequently spinal problems start in childhood, years before clinical symptoms appear. Identified early, most of these disorders are reversible, and it is for this reason that spinal examinations for children are imperative.

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