Do you see an Irvine Chiropractor and ever wonder if you’re getting the maximum benefit? Let’s discuss some questions you should ask your Chiropractor to ensure you are getting the most out of your chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic adjustment has many positive effects on health and is known for treating pain. So, what are you seeing your Chiropractor for? What outcome are you hoping for? If you have a specific issue, why are you seeing a Chiropractor rather than a Physical Therapist? How about how often you should see your chiropractor? Here are the questions you need to ask and why you should ask them!
Is Chiropractic For Pain Only?
I hear this question often and the answer will always be, absolutely not! Pain is typically what drives patients to start seeing a chiropractor but what keeps them coming back after their pain is long gone? It’s because they now value and understand the impact chiropractic care has on their health.
A chiropractic adjustment brings the spine back into alignment while stimulating your Central Nervous System (CNS), thus improving overall body function. You might be thinking “Well, how is that?”, right? Your central nervous system consists of your brain and spinal cord, which controls every function in your body. The spine, which chiropractors adjust, encases the spinal cord and is where nerves stem from. So if chiropractic adjustment stimulates and improves the function of that very system, it’s safe to say we are doing much more than just addressing your back pain.
A chiropractic adjustment is just as essential to your health as going to the dentist. Ask your chiropractor why that is or read the blog, “Chiropractic and Health Benefits”, to learn more.
How Is Chiropractic Different Than Physical Therapy?
Chiropractors and Physical Therapists are both associated with injury or pain. Physical Therapists and Chiropractors provide rehab for a wide variety of musculoskeletal injuries. When you are trying to find the chiropractor or physical therapist that best suits you to question to ask yourself is if one is a better choice than the other.
The biggest difference between the two is that Physical Therapists do not adjust the spine. But what does an adjustment do that is so unique? Simply put, adjustment of the spine stimulates the nervous system. This was best explained in a randomized clinical trail of non-specific lower back pain patients where the effects of spinal manipulation on brain neuro-metabolites was studied. This blog explains the difference between PT and Chiropractic in detail. Modalities such as Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) and Ultrasound, are commonly used in both practices. Both provide treatment to improve movement, but the rehab treatment can vary depending on the specialty of the Doctor or physical therapist. For example, I specialize in Brain-Based Neurology and Posture and utilize Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization, Functional Movement, to correct posture and improve functionality. This is not something that too many chiropractors do but a treatment choice that I certainly have chosen to utilize in my practice and with my patients.
Unfortunately, many patients allow their insurance plan dictate the type of care they receive. While most insurance plans has an easier access to physical therapy, not all make it easy to seek chiropractic care.
Now, should you see a Chiropractor or a Physical Therapist? The answer is completely based on your preference. Do your research, ask around, call the offices you have narrowed your choices down to and get a good feel of what they are all- and trust your instincts!
How Do I Get The Most Out Of My Adjustment?
This question is extremely important and I love the answer! The second you get up from the table after being adjusted, the spine can become misaligned or fixated if the joint is very unstable or the muscular imbalance has been ‘there’ for a while. That is why chiropractic adjustment is not the be-all, end-all. What comes after the adjustment is very important.
A chiropractic adjustment is like a spark needed to make that fire to keep you warm and cozy. Just because you have the spark, doesn’t mean you have a fire. There are steps to get the spark to flame and flame to fire. Adjustment stimulates the nervous system to be alerted- what comes next points to the direction of health and balance or NOT!! You see, adjustment is like a teacher that walks in to the classroom and announces to have something important to say! The kids sit up to find out what that is. Now if the teacher has nothing else to say, the students will go back to being bored again. What comes AFTER an adjustment is very important and what makes some chiropractic offices rock it and certainly differentiate a chiropractic office from a physical therapy office.
This is why rehabilitation in my office consists of adjustment followed by Postural Neurology and Functional movement exercises, like in the videos below.
Ask your chiropractor what you can do to get the most out of your adjustment and visit our Youtube Channel for more exercises you can do on your own!
How Is Chiropractic Going To Help My Problem?
As stated above, a chiropractic adjustment is not the be-all, end-all. Chiropractic adjustment alone will address your pain, whenever it may be. By stimulating the Central Nervous System, you increase a better chance of your very system that controls all functions of your body, your nervous system, to do the very thing it was designed to do.
Acute treatment is typically accompanied by modalities such as EMS, Ultrasound and/or Cold Laser. In my office, the sub-acute stage of treatment, when the injury is not so fresh, almost always consists of some form of Active Release Technique (ART). This helps us address the soft tissue restrictions to initiate the normal movement restoration. Now you are out of pain, you’re moving better, but the CAUSE of your problem has not been addressed.
Say you cut down a tree and the next year you see a new shoot growing out. Did you get rid of the tree? No, just like you didn’t get rid of your problem, because it came back. In an extensive exam, mapping the parts of the brain in regards to posture, Brain based Neurology and Posture maps the parts of your brain- with regards to posture- that are not up to par. Through positive neuroplasticity- positively exercising those weaker brain parts that are involved in your posture, you will regain the ability to restore proper posture and balance. That is not enough however! You see, the time during which those brain parts were weak and your posture was impacted as a result, the movement process was compromised to. Identifying what part of the brain is weak and correcting it means the ‘conductor’ now has the right musical notes in front of it. The musicians playing TOGETHER and learning when to chime in is what makes the concert- the movement- right. In our office, the primary method of movement restoration is through Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization or DNS.
Talk with your chiropractor to make sure that you are addressing the root cause of your problem and not just your pain. It is important to be out of pain, but you are assured to be pain free when the CAUSE of your pain is addressed.
What Is Happening To My Spine When I Get An Adjustment?
The spine is made up of 24 vertebrae each connected by facet joints. These joints are constantly weight-bearing and allow movement of the spine like bending forward. Through injury, overuse, and lifestyle, the joint can become restricted and eventually painful. An adjustment is only needed when the facet joints that connect each vertebra to the one above and below it become restricted or fixated.
In adjustment, the joint that is fixated is manipulated through movement outside of the Physiological Zone. The body’s natural response to this is to release its own tranquilizers, which is the good feeling you get after being adjusted. This the same zone of movement you enter when you injure yourself, which is why the pain may sometimes seem delayed.
But what is the popping noise? This is the most common question asked. Some may find this noise threatening while some love it, but I can assure you that no damage is being done when the adjustment is performed by a licensed chiropractor. Please note that an adjustment can occur with or without the sound effects.
Our joints are surrounded by connective tissue that forms a capsule around the joint which is filled with a liquid-like substance called synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is responsible for lubricating joints and reducing friction allowing bones to glide, pivot, slide, and rotate against another bone. Like every other part of the body, synovial fluid also contains dissolved gasses such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and oxygen. The “cracking” or “popping” sound you may hear during an adjustment is called cavitation. Cavitation is simply the release of the compressed gases from within the synovial fluid. There you have it! It’s not your bones popping into place or any of the crazy stuff you may have thought.
Understanding your body, how it functions and how to care for it are all important factors to living a healthy lifestyle. At the end of the day, you should take the time to better understand the ‘machine’ that you call your body. The better you understand it, the better you will take care of it, the longer it lasts and the happier you will be while owning it!