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
There are hundreds of ways (some subtle and some readily apparent) that we can injure ourselves working or relaxing in and around the home. By not following basic safety precautions and just simple common sense, we put our health at risk doing even the simplest of tasks.
Following are some simple tips to follow.
- Avoid cradling the phone between your neck and shoulder. This can lock up the spinal joints in the neck and upper back. Consider a speakerphone or wireless headset.
- If you need to turn to carry what you've picked up, step in the direction of the turn to avoid twisting your body and straining your spine. Raise one foot slightly when standing doing ironing, or rest one foot on a small step stool or box.
- Standing for long periods of time, during dishwashing, for example, can put a great deal of strain on your neck, back, knees, and feet. When standing at the sink, rest one foot on the inside cabinet below the sink and bend the knee on that leg. This will take some of the pressure off.
- Use pillows or some other firm support when sitting in a chair or couch watching television. Don't use the arm of the chair or couch for a headrest. This strains your neck.
- When lifting, don't bend from the waist. Squat down by bending both knees, keeping your back straight. This way, you are using your arms and shouldersâ€”not your backâ€”to do the lifting.
- When vacuuming, use the "fencer's stance" by putting all of your weight on one foot while stepping back and forward with your other. Use the back foot as a pivot when you need to turn
- Make sure your body is properly conditioned when doing outside work. Warmed-up muscles will be less likely to tighten up or snap when under the strains of bending, pulling, pushing, reaching, or stooping. You can warm up by taking a brisk walk or doing simple stretching exercises, such as knee-to-chest pulls, trunk rotations, and side bends with hands above your head and fingers locked.
- Always carry objects close to your body, near your center of gravity. This minimizes the strain to your lower back and neck.
- Change positions if you're involved in doing a task such as kneeling or sitting. This will improve your circulation and mobility. Don't overdo it. Alternate between several tasks to keep yourself alert, and take regular rest breaks.
- Let your arms, legs and thighs (not your back) do the work when lifting heavy items, such as bags of mulch or dirt. Bend and straighten at the knees instead of your back and hips. Never pick up a load that causes you to grunt â€“ this is your body telling you that you're overdoing it.
- The longer the handle on your garden tools, the greater leverage you have and the less force and twisting motions you need to perform routine tasks. Imagine having to rake leaves with a six-inch handle. The longer the handle, the less work and strain. This is especially true for chores involving raking, digging, pushing, and mowing. When doing ground-level chores, such as weeding or planting, do not repeatedly bend over. Rather, get close to the ground by either kneeling or sitting (foam pads or small benches are made especially for these kinds of chores). When doing prolonged tasks, such as raking, hoeing, or digging, frequently switch hands. This helps to maximize the amount of energy reserves you use in muscles on both sides of your body.
- Repetitive motion on one side of your body can lead to serious problems, such as muscle spasms in the neck, shoulder, and lower back. When you stand up after crouching or kneeling for a long period of time, do so slowly and gently to avoid muscle pulls or even joint dislocations. Straighten your legs at the knees, and do not lift your torso at the waist.
- If you have asthma or allergies, wear a mask
- Stand as straight as possible, and keep your head up as you rake or mow.
- Try to mow during the early morning and early evening hours, when the sun is not so hot.
- Drink plenty of liquids to keep your muscles hydrated.
- Protect yourself by wearing a hat, shoes, earplugs, and protective glasses.
- Use as much as your body weight as possible to move your mower (unless it is self-propelled). This will minimize excessive strain to your arms and back.
- When picking up piles of leaves or grass from the grass catcher, bend at your knees, not at your waist.
- When raking leaves, use a "scissors" stance. This entails keeping your right foot forward and left foot back for a few minutes. Occasionally switch by putting your left foot forward and right foot back. Always bend at your knees, not the waist, as you pick up leaves. Make piles small to minimize the possibility of straining your back.