What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a main-stream healthcare profession in New Zealand, concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on the function of both the nervous system and general health. There is an emphasis on manual treatment including spinal adjustment and other joint and soft tissue manipulations. Chiropractic also places an emphasis on nutrition, exercise, wellness and healthy lifestyle modifications.
How Chiropractic works:
Chiropractic is based on the scientific fact that our nervous system controls the function of virtually every cell, tissue, organ and system of the body. Messages travel from around the body, up the spinal cord and into the brain. The brain processes the message and sends replies back down the spinal cord to tell the body how to respond.
While the brain is protected by the skull, the spinal cord is protected by the spine. the spine is like a set of armour made of segments so that it can bend and move naturally with the body. A spinal segment consists of two vertebra and the joints that connect them. There is a disc in between each vertebra that acts as a cushion.
Sometimes wear and tear from everyday life can impact the spine and cause the spinal segments to move in a way that is different to normal, in a dysfunctional way. The wear and tear can happen gradually, such as from poor posture or repetitive movements, or it can happen suddenly, which is common in sports injuries. Because of the close relationship between the spine and the nervous system, everyday sprains can impact the flow of information and communication between the brain and the body. Messages may not be delivered to the brain or they may be inaccurate. When the miscommunication occurs due to abnormal movements of the spine chiropractors call this a vertebral subluxation or a chiropractic subluxation.
Chiropractic is the science of locating these areas of spinal dysfunction and the art of correcting them to allow the body to heal itself.
By making fast, gentle adjustments to the spine, Chiropractors restore the natural movement,
What does a session involve?
Our experienced chiropractor takes an all round approach to your health and well-being, and plays a major role in relieving discomfort arising from accidents, stress, poor posture and everyday wear and tear that happens to us all as we grow older. There is an emphasis on manual treatment which includes spinal manipulation and, by restoring normal function via spinal adjustments to the nervous system and musculo-skeletal system, chiropractors can play a major part in relieving disorders and any accompanying pain or discomfort arising from accidents, stress, lack of exercise, poor posture, illness and the everyday wear and tear that happens to us all as we grow older and particularly to those who have had a long sporting life.
Soon after the discovery of the X-ray, chiropractors began using this tool in the examination and care of the spine.
Besides revealing the presence or absence of proper spinal curves, side views of the spine can more easily show the long-term effects of neglected spinal trauma. We call the body’s adaptation process spinal decay.
Why Spinal Decay?
This process in the spine has similarities to tooth decay in that it shows up usually because of neglect. Also, just like tooth decay, it can happen to anyone, regardless of age.
Because it is often seen in older people, many believe it’s merely the normal ageing process. It is not. This progressively worsening, degenerative condition is the result of uncorrected spinal misalignment. Spinal decay is how your body deals with the stress of gravity.
It just so happens that most people have spinal problems that they have ignored for years.
Three Phase Process
Spinal decay is a process. Whether you take three snapshots of the process or twenty-three snapshots, it’s a process. We use the three-phase model based on the book Managing Low Back Pain, by W. H. Kirkaldly-Willis and Thomas Bernard, Jr. We find that it makes the difference between each phase great enough so our patients can appreciate what they’re seeing.
Text Book Normal
This would be considered a textbook “normal” side view of the neck.
While this process can occur anywhere in the spine, it’s easiest to see in the cervical (neck) spine. This is what the side view of the neck should look like. From the side, the neck should have a graceful forward curve. The edges of each bone are well defined. There should be equal disc spacing between each bone and the openings for nerve roots should be clear and unobstructed.
Phase One Spinal Decay
The first thing you notice is a loss of the normal cervical curve.
In Phase One there is a loss of curve and a reduced ability to turn and bend. In some cases, the disc space between adjacent vertebrae may be reduced. Or, discs can become wedge-shaped, risking more serious soft tissue damage. Depending upon your body’s adaptive capacity, pain or other obvious symptoms may not be present. Even the resulting reduced range of motion may be too subtle for some to notice.
Phase Two Spinal Decay
Adjacent joint surfaces become rough and uneven.
If neglected, in Phase Two, joint surfaces lose their clearly defined edges as the early signs of bone spurs become visible on X-ray views. Some believe that the body senses the accompanying inflammation as the sign of a broken bone. It begins the process of depositing calcium salts. Without being in a cast to prevent movement, the fusion doesn’t occur. Yet.
Phase Three Spinal Decay
The affected bones have lost their individuality and ability to move.
If still left uncorrected, the problem worsens in Phase Three. Amazingly, pain or other obvious symptoms may not yet show up. But finally, the body successfully “mends the broken bone.” This process can take years.