It is estimated that about 27 million Americans visit a doctors of chiropractic each year, and millions more receive chiropractic care throughout the rest of the world. Chiropractic is the third largest primary health care field (after medicine and dentistry).
Chiropractic is a branch of the healing arts which is based upon the understanding that good health depends, in part, upon a normally functioning nervous system (especially the spine, and the nerves extending from the spine to all parts of the body).
"Chiropractic" comes from the Greek word Chiropraktikos, meaning "effective treatment by hand." Chiropractic stresses the idea that the cause of many disease processes begins with the body's inability to adapt to its environment.
It looks to address these diseases not by the use of drugs and chemicals, but by locating and adjusting a musculoskeletal area of the body which is functioning improperly.
The conditions which doctors of chiropractic address are as varied and as vast as the nervous system itself.
We use a standard procedure of examination to diagnose a patient's condition and arrive at a course of treatment. Chiropractors use the same time-honored methods of consultation, case history, physical examination, laboratory analysis and x-ray examination as any other doctor. In addition, they provide a careful chiropractic structural examination, paying particular attention to the spine.
The examination of the spine to evaluate structure and function is what makes chiropractic different from other health care procedures. Your spinal column is a series of movable bones which begin at the base of your skull and end in the center of your hips. Thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves extend down the spine from the brain and exit through a series of openings. The nerves leave the spine and form a complicated network which influences every living tissue in your body.
Accidents, falls, stress, tension, overexertion, and countless other factors can result in a displacements or derangements of the spinal column, causing irritation to spinal nerve roots. These irritations are often what cause malfunctions in the human body. Chiropractic teaches that reducing or eliminating this irritation to spinal nerves can cause your body to operate more efficiently and more comfortably.
We also places an emphasis on nutritional and exercise programs, wellness and lifestyle modifications for promoting physical and mental health. While chiropractors make no use of drugs or surgery, Doctors of chiropractic do refer patients for medical care when those interventions are indicated. In fact, chiropractors, medical doctors, physical therapists and other health care professionals now work as partners in occupational health, sports medicine, and a wide variety of other rehabilitation
In general terms, arthritis is a gradual breakdown or deterioration of the joint spaces in your musculoskeletal system. According to some experts, 8 out of 10 Americans over the age of 55 suffer from one form of arthritis or another. In many cases, arthritis can become so painful and debilitating, simple tasks such as opening a jar or holding a pencil can be difficult. Arthritis affects everyone in different ways. In some, joints in the spine, fingers, wrists, shoulders, knees—even toes—lose their normal shape and large amounts of fluid and debris fill the joint space.
There are many causes of arthritis. A major cause is simply age. Injury or suppressed or weakened immune systems are others. Some people have no choiceit is simply hereditary.
In most people, the body responds to the onset of arthritis by making extra bone. Your body makes this material in an attempt to shore up the degenerating joint. This additional material, or overgrowth, is called a bone spur or osteophyte. Bone spurs are typically found in the joint or disc spaces, where cartilage has begun to break down or deteriorate. Bone spurs sometimes block the spaces where nerve roots leave the spinal canal.
There are many symptoms of arthritis, including:
- Joint pain
- Loss of muscle control
- Muscle spasms
- Stabbing pain in the extremities
Major types of arthritis include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The degenerative form of arthritis that mostly affects the elderly is called osteoarthritis. In some, osteoarthritis may affect the spine's facet joints, making it extremely painful to bend or twist. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage to break down and away from the joints.
Stripped of their protective material, the joints begin rubbing against each other, causing pain and impeding movement. This action further irritates the surrounding nerves. Advanced forms of spinal osteoarthritis lead to disc collapse and other problems. An equally painful and destructive form of arthritis is called rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation of the joint tissues, leading to pain, weakness, low red blood cell count (anemia), and loss of appetite.
Physical therapy has been shown to help people with arthritis.
Physical therapy can be used to reduce pain, restore mobility, function, strength, and flexibility, and prevent unnecessary disability.
Physical therapy can also help people suffering from arthritis to self-manage their pain, giving them a sense of confidence, empowerment, and hope.
Common exercises may include wall walking (which targets the shoulder joints) and the chair rise (which strengthens your legs and makes standing and sitting safer). Good examples of appropriate activities for those living with arthritis include aquatic exercises (such as swimming), walking, bicycling, golf, and cross-country skiing.