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
Since most of us spend at least a third of our lives lying down, a good quality mattress goes a long way in avoiding a whole host of musculoskeletal problems later in life. In addition, a quality mattress will help you get a good night's sleep, which most health practitioners agree is essential to a well-balanced, healthy life-physically and emotionally.
A quality mattress allows you to maintain the same natural spinal alignment that you have while standing. It can be an innerspring, foam, flotation (waterbed), or air mattress. The most important thing is choosing a mattress that offers you the most support and comfort.
- Comfort - Before buying a mattress, "test drive" it by laying down on it in several positions you normally sleep in. It will pay dividends down the road and help ensure that your spine's natural curve is supported. "Orthopedic" mattresses are generally a marketing gimmick and nothing more.
- Durability - This criterion applies both to the "guts" of the mattress as well as its covering. Ensure that the manufacturer guarantees the mattress at least 8 to 10 years.
- Firmness - Softness and firmness are generally a matter of personal preference and have little to do with a good night's sleep or avoiding back problems. Overly firm mattresses don't support the body evenly, while overly soft mattresses tend to sag, preventing your spine from maintaining its proper alignment.
- Foundation - The foundation, or box spring, absorbs the brunt of the stress and weight of your mattress and helps extend the useful life of your mattress. It is advisable to buy a new box spring when you replace your old mattress, and ensure that the box spring, or foundation, is suited for the type of mattress you are buying.
Replace your bed if:
- The mattress is worn a frayed, or the box spring creaks.
- The mattress sags, is out of shape or doesn't return to its shape after you lie down on it.
- You are constantly waking up sore or irritable, which could be a sign that your body isn't getting the support it needs during sleep.
Best sleep positions
Believe it or not, the position in which you sleep can make a big difference in your waking disposition, and help you avoid skeletal, muscular, or nerve problems down the road.
Here's why: One of the best positions is on your side, with knees slightly bent and a pillow between your knees. Place a pillow under your knees if you are a back sleeper; this helps maintain the curve in your lower back. If you are a stomach sleeper and sleep with your head on an oversized pillow, it sometimes forces your lower back to curve excessively, putting pressure on your diaphragm and lungs.