What Is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is based on the scientific fact that your body is a self-regulating, self- healing organism. These important functions are controlled by the brain. spinal cord, and all the nerves of the body.
When your nervous system is working properly all of the tissues and organs of your body are designed to resist disease and ill-health.
A common interference to the nervous system is the 24 moving, weight bearing bones of the spinal column. A loss of normal position or motion of these bones can irritate the nerves, tissues, and muscles surrounding these bones resulting in impaired nervous system function. This can result in pain or other abnormal bodily functions.
The goal for us at Cedar Park Chiropractic is to detect these bones and joints that are not functioning properly, adjust the specific areas, and recommend stretches, exercises or other conservative methods so that you and your nervous system can adapt and operate at its best.
My chiropractor prescribed a series of visits for me, why does it take more than one treatment?
Chiropractic care is like “orthodontics” for the spine. Clinically, repeated chiropractic adjustments re-train the vertebrae, muscles, and ligaments to their proper alignment and range of mobility. Just as the time required for braces to achieve correction depends on the condition of an individual’s teeth and mouth structure, the time required for proper spinal alignment to occur depends on the condition of the individual patient’s spine, their job duties, their hobbies, their posture, and many other lifestyle factors.
Does your M.D. ever prescribe you just one pill? Does a physical therapist expect stretch and strengthen your muscles in one visit? Of course not.
Chiropractic adjustments are the same. You cannot expect to receive long lasting results with a quick fix. In order to obtain the best long term results, a series of treatments are typically recommended. Throughout your treatment plan, Dr. Swanson will perform periodic re-evaluations and outcome assessments to measure your progress.
Chiropractic results may vary. Some patients enjoy immediate results while others find that their recovery takes several months or longer. Some problems may have been around for a long time and only recently may have become symptomatic. These long-standing problems are often associated with muscle weakness, soft tissue damage, and degenerative changes to the spine. It takes time and dedication to make changes to our bodies. “Health is a process, not an event!”
How Does Chiropractic Work?
Chiropractic works by restoring your own inborn ability to be healthy. When under the proper control of your nervous system, all the cells, tissues and organs of your body are designed to resist disease and ill health. The chiropractic approach to better health is to locate and help remove interferences to your natural state of being healthy.
A common interference to the musculo-skeletal system is the 24 moving bones of the spinal column. A loss of normal motion or position of these can irritate or impair the function of the nervous system. This can disrupt the transmission of controlling nerve impulses.
With improved spinal function there is often improved nervous system function. Your chiropractic doctor can help remove interferences that may be impairing normal health.
Since the primary focus of your care is improved function of the musculo-skeletal system chiropractic can have a positive effect on many health conditions not normally thought of as “Back” problems.
What is the “popping” noise sometimes heard during an adjustment?
The “popping” or “cracking” noise is simply the release of gas from a joint when bones move, much like when you “pop” the cork out of a bottle of champagne or when you remove a suction cup from a window
What Do Chiropractic Doctors Do?
Helping to restore proper spinal biomechanics and improved nervous system function begins with a case history. This gives the doctor a background about your health, such as surgeries, accidents, the onset of your condition. and other details affecting your current health.
After reviewing your history and discussing your specific problem, a thorough orthopedic, neurological and chiropractic examination is performed. X rays may be taken to uncover structural and functional problems associated with the spinal column. These examinations help identify areas of spinal malfunction and resulting nervous system deficit.
The findings of these examinations are explained and a plan of chiropractic adjustments may be recommended. Progress is monitored with periodic examinations and follow-up reports.
Since the word “doctor” comes from the Latin word meaning teacher, regardless of your doctor’s unique clinical approach, he or she has a strong commitment to patient education.
What Type Of Education Do Chiropractic Doctors Get?
Today’s Doctor of Chiropractic is well educated.
The science of chiropractic requires a special emphasis on anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, biomechanics, X-ray, spinal adjusting techniques, and related subjects. This demanding curriculum prepares chiropractic doctors to locate the Vertebral Subluxation Complex and help correct the resulting nervous system dysfunction.
To graduate with a Doctor of Chiropractic degree, each candidate passes the demanding National Board Examination. Then, doctors apply to a governmental or professional licensing board and pass a still more difficult test before being granted the privilege to practice.
A chiropractic education never ends. Doctors complete yearly postgraduate instruction for license renewal and to stay current on the latest scientific research.
Do You Have A Pinched Nerve?
Many patients consult a chiropractic doctor because they think they have a pinched nerve. A “pinched nerve” diagnosis is a simple way to state a very complicated condition.
Because of the way your spine is designed, abnormal spinal function caused from physical trauma, emotional tensions, or chemical toxins can affect the delicate tissues of the spinal cord and nerve roots. Nerves are irritated (facilitative lesion). This is caused when nerve tissue is rubbed, scraped, stretched by a loss of spinal curve, or irritated by malfunctioning spinal joints.
Do I Have A Slipped Disc?
Technically, a disc can’t “slip.”
The intervertebral disc is a pad of cartilage type material situated between spinal bones. Each disc serves as a connector, spacer. and shock absorber for the spine. A soft, jellylike center is contained by outer layers of fibrous tissue. Healthy discs help allow normal turning and bending.
Because of the way each disc is attached to the vertebrae above and below, a disc cannot “slip.” However, trauma or injury to the spine can cause discs to tear, bulge, herniate, or worse, rupture. This can be quite painful, as the soft center of the disc leaks, putting pressure on the adjacent nerve roots and spinal cord.
While results cannot be guaranteed, many patients have avoided needless surgery or a dependency on pain pills, by choosing chiropractic care for their disc related health problem.
What Is An Adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a joint that is subluxated/misaligned or not moving properly.
This adjustment adds motion to the joint, helping the bones gradually return to a more normal position and motion. The adjustment also activates certain position and motion sensing nerves called “proprioceptors” and “mechanoreceptors” which are found in abundance in your spinal joints, your knees, and your feet and ankles. These nerves are very powerful and important to your survival. Without them you would have a hard time knowing which way was up or down and whether or not your hand was moving towards a hot stove or not!
When these powerful nerves are activated by a chiropractic adjustment they can shut down or “reset” the nerves that are causing pain or muscle spasm. This is one reason why some patients experience immediate relief for certain conditions. The overall purpose for the safe and natural procedure is improved spinal function, improved nervous system function, and improved health.
There are many ways to adjust the spine.
Usually the doctor’s hands or a specially designed instrument delivers a gentle brief and highly-accurate thrust. Some adjusting methods are quick, whereas others require a slow and constant pressure.
After years of training and clinical experience, each chiropractic doctor becomes highly skilled in the delivery of a variety of adjusting approaches, making chiropractic care safe and effective for the whole family.
Are All Patients Adjusted The Same Way?
The doctor evaluates each patient’s unique spinal problem and develops an individual course of care. The resulting recommendations are based upon years of training and experience.
Some patients who complain of headaches, may actually have a lower back problem that is causing a compensation reaction at the base of the skull. Other patients may be experiencing numbness and tingling in their fingers, when the actual problem is in the neck. Every patient presents a uniquely different spinal pattern.
Patients notice that their chiropractic care is delivered with confidence and precision. Each visit builds on the one before. And while visits may seem similar, each patient’s care is uniquely different from every other patient.
Can I Adjust Myself?
Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force, applied in a specific direction, to a specific spinal joint, it is virtually impossible to adjust oneself.
It is possible to turn or bend or twist in certain ways to create a “popping” sound, like the sound that some times accompanies a chiropractic adjustment. Unfortunately, this type of joint manipulation is usually counterproductive, often making an already unstable area of the spine even more unsteady. Adjusting the spine is not for amateurs!
The best way to enjoy the healthful benefits of chiropractic is to receive adjustments from a Doctor of Chiropractic. Even your doctor must seek out the services of another colleague to help restore and maintain proper spinal function.
Is Chiropractic Care Safe?
In the words of the New Zealand governments inquiry, chiropractic care is “remarkably safe.”
Chiropractic has an excellent safety record. It is the result of a conservative approach to health that avoids invasive procedures or addictive drugs.
A thorough case history and examination help reveal areas of the spine that may he causing nervous system malfunction. This information will be used to determine the best course of care for each patient.
Chiropractic care is a natural approach to better health that is proven safe and effective.
Our office provides needle-less acupuncture, as well as, traditional needle acupuncture.
Q. What is acupuncture?
A. Acupuncture is a 5,000 year old Chinese system of natural healing (no drugs, no surgery.) Which is concerned with restoring proper energy flow to the various organs, glands and tissues of the body on the premise that most diseases are the result of malfunction due to disrupted energies.
Explanation: The Chinese definition of Health is “All parts of the body functioning normally,” all 400 trillion parts. If there is an interruption in the transmission of energy flow or life force (called ch’i in Chinese), then organ malfunction, disease, pain and suffering are inevitable.
Q. Where does the interruption of energy flow occur?
A. In either or both locations: 1). In the channels of energy flow, which are located throughout the body, just beneath the skin surface; 2). In the spinal column where vertebrae may become misaligned, thereby compressing vital nerve trunks.
Q. Are there other causes of disease besides those associated with the interference of the transmission of energy flow?
A. Yes, of course. Psychosomatic states, hereditary factors, poisons, adverse environmental conditions, injury, germs, malnutrition, etc…, all are disease producing.
Q. How do you detect the disturbance in energy flow within a patient?
A. By many methods. Including certain signs, symptoms, pain spots, organ reflex points, and electrical instrumental findings.
Q. Assuming I’m going to take acupuncture treatments, how are they performed?
A. First, the related skin points are determined. Then they are appropriately treated by one method of stimulation. Some of which are: 1) long needle insertion, 2) short needle insertion; 3) non-piercing needles; 4) finger tip pressure 5) metallic balls taped to the points and 6) electrical stimulation. Dr. Swanson primarily uses needle-less electrical stimulation.
Q. What are some of the conditions commonly treated by acupuncture?
A. Common conditions usually responding to acupuncture health care may include: headaches, sports related injuries, spasms, musculoskeletal conditions, tennis elbow, osteoarthritis, lumbago and plantar fasciitis.
Q. Out of ten patients accepted for acupuncture health care, how many usually respond favorable?
A. On the average, eight. Two out of ten fail to respond favorably for a variety of reasons. Advanced age, severity of condition, irreversible tissue damage, etc., are deterrents to recovery.
Q. Are chiropractic spinal adjusting treatments necessary with acupuncture?
A. They are not an absolute necessity, but it will enhance the effectiveness of treatment. Spinal adjustments are part of the acupuncture health care. World authorities, including Feliz Mann, M.D. of England; Paul Nogier, M.D. of France; and Kunzo Nagayama, M.D. of Japan are very emphatic on this aspect of “getting well.”
FAQ’s for Medical Practitioners
Numerous interviews conducted by the New England Spine Institute with medical practitioners have identified reasons why there is such separation between chiropractors and medical professionals. The most common reasons to be:
- There is a great variation among chiropractors and no way to predict what treatments will be provided to medical practitioners’ patients.
- Most medical practitioners are unfamiliar with the scope of chiropractic practice.
- Most medical practitioners have never spoken with a chiropractor.
Swanson Chiropractic is committed to building integrated relationship with area medical practitioners. Dr. Swanson meets often with these professionals to educate them on what we do and how we ARE a service to their patients. Our goal is to build this bridge so that patient care is heightened and health care costs are diminished. We accomplish this with:
- One-on-one discussions
- Educational lectures
- Patient referrals
If you are a medical practitioner, please send us your questions/comments or set up a time to meet.
Which patients should I consider for referral to Swanson Chiropractic Clinics?
- Outcomes for chiropractic treatment are optimal for mechanical/myofascial cervical, thoracic
and lumbosacral spinal pain.
- Patients with disc herniations commonly respond favorably to chiropractic management. Our clinic
uses a combination of traction (axial, flexion-distraction), extension therapy, and spinal stability
rehabilitation instruction, and posture correction aimed to unload discal stress.
- Patients with repetitive strain conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome and thoracic outlet respond
extremely well to our treatment protocols and have positive outcomes.
Check out our conditions we treat and services pages for more information
With so many variations of chiropractors, how does a medical practitioner identify a qualified chiropractor?
The Journal of Family Practice published the following guidelines to consider when selecting a chiropractor:
- Willing to be clinically observed
– We welcome observation and discussion.
- Does not radiograph every patient
– We radiograph only AFTER a complete exam and with clinical indications to radiograph.
- Treats mainly musculoskeletal disorders
– We specialize in these disorders.
- Solicits positive feedback from patients
– We give our patients satisfaction surveys so that we can improve every day.
- Communicates with the referring physician
– We send narrative reports, exam findings, treatment plans and progress reports to every physician.
- Administers reasonable treatment programs
– Our goal is to have the patient at maximum medical improvement (MMI) as quickly as possible.
How many chiropractic treatments are necessary for patients to improve?
- The acute, uncomplicated spinal pain patients usually have significant relief in two-four weeks, plus they have added function and stability preventing future problems. The chronic or complicated acute patients typically require four-six weeks of treatment to gain a system wide response of healing and relief of symptoms. Again, in these patients scar tissue, dysfunctional movement patterns and muscle imbalances must be addressed AND corrected which may prolong recovery times. Many of our patients notice such vast improvement in quality of life the choose to continue chiropractic care on a maintenance or wellness plan.
- Patients with some chronic and/or permanent conditions will be treated under a different model. Once the patients have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), we typically will provide chiropractic care and home exercise instructions on a maintenance basis to maintain their health and functional improvement. We promote patient independence.
Is chiropractic manipulation a safe treatment for patients?
We use the correct manipulative procedures for the various types of patients. When this occurs, manipulation is extremely safe. We do assess contraindications our patients may have prior to treatment.
- Patients may experience soreness in the area of the manipulation. This is a welcomed response.
- The most concerning potential complication is Vertebral Artery Dissection (VAD). Currently this is estimated to have an incidence of 1:3,000,000 to 1:10,000,000; however, the studies include manipulation performed by untrained practitioners, athletic coaches and tribal medicine men.
- A recent systematic review done at Dept. of Neurosurgery Penn State revealed no evidence for causation between stroke and chiropractic adjustments.
- History of spinal surgery, osteoporosis, arthropathies, disc herniations without significant neurological deficits, scoliosis, degenerative changes and joint instabilities ARE NOT absolute contraindications; however, they do require that treatments be altered to be as safe as possible.
- Absolute contraindications are severe/progressive neurological deficits, infections, malignancies, acute fractures/dislocations and acute arthropathies.