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
The bony structures that allow your back and neck to easily move in different directions are called "facet joints." Facet joints provide about one-fifth of your lower back and neck's twisting stability. Facet joints are located in pairs at each vertebral level (except for the top vertebra) down your spinal cord.
The surfaces of facet joints are coated with slippery cartilage, allowing them to glide freely as you move. Each joint is encased in a capsule that generates lubricant for the joint while it moves.
When joints are injured in a traumatic event, or degenerate over time because of the aging process or disease, a wide variety of problemsand painoften result.
Facet joint syndrome develops when the cartilage in joints wears thin. Your body begins producing material (called bone spurs) to shore up the cartilage. This material can calcify, or harden, causing stiffness in the joint. In some cases, facet joint syndrome can contribute to joint inflammation, muscle spasms, and later osteoarthritis. Advanced cases of facet joint problems are sometimes referred to as degenerative spondylolisthesis, a condition in which joints slip forward.
Facet joint disorders in the lower back can cause stiffness, and make it difficult to stand straight or get out of a chair. Facet joint disorders in the cervical (neck) region can cause headaches and difficulty rotating the head.
A common joint disorder involves the sacroiliac joint, which links the bottom of the spine with the pelvic bone. This joint endures a lot of pressure and absorbs the shocks from the upper body. Although it is a very strong and mostly stationary joint, the sacroiliac joint can become damaged or impaired. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can mimic many of the symptoms of a herniated lumbar disc. People with sacroiliac joint dysfunction typically complain of pain on one side of their lower back or buttocks. The pain can sometimes shoot down one or leg or both, sometimes extending all the way down to the foot.