Your Chiropractor and You: A Complete Guide to the Chiropractic Process
Chiropractic care has been around for centuries, a highly respected procedure all over the world for help with all manner of bodily ailments, dating back to ancient times. For a long time, it was looked upon in the West with suspicion, but it’s becoming more accepted and respected with every passing day.
Millions of people all over the world take advantage of this approach to help deal with the symptoms of everything from back pain to side effects from cancer treatments, with around 22 million people in the United States alone visiting a chiropractor on an annual basis. Those considering chiropractic care as an aid to their own ongoing health and wellness are naturally concerned about what they can expect, what the process is like and how long it will go on.
There are false claims that once you start going to a chiropractor, you will require chiropractic services to keep you healthy for the rest of your life. This just isn’t true. Certainly, ongoing visits to a chiropractor can be an important part of your health and wellness, but whether you keep on is up to you!
Let’s look at some detailed information about chiropractic care and discover a complete guide to the chiropractic process, so you’ll be ready and prepared to take your overall well-being, as well as your physical health, to the next level.
What Does a Chiropractor Do?
The first step in our guide to chiropractic is to understand what a chiropractor is. These medical professionals are focused on helping to address chronic pains and medical conditions whose roots are in subluxations, or misalignments of the spinal column. When the bones in your spine, called vertebrae, are shifted out of alignment, it can create not only ongoing chronic or acute pain in the back, but all manner of medical problems.
People with these issues experience headaches, pain and numbness in the extremities, and even medical conditions like hernias, TMJ, carpal tunnel, ear infections and diabetic-like symptoms. A chiropractor can play a vital part of discovering and addressing these problems, and the sessions you receive with them can become an important aspect of your regular wellness and preventative healthcare routine.
This is because every signal your brain sends out to your body runs through your spine, and the bones in your spine protect the nerve bundles that run through there. When one is out of order, it can put pressure on the nerves, causing direct pain or medical conditions because the brain-body communication isn’t as effective as it should be.
By putting the bones back where they belong, a chiropractor can help to restore proper communication between your brain and body and get everything working the way it should.
Understanding Your Nervous System
Your nervous system is the central key to every bodily function you have: thinking, walking, breathing and keeping your heart pumping. Every nerve in your body connects to bundles that run up through your spine, which in turn connect to your brain. Millions of tiny nerve fibers combine and twist in a complex structure that enable your brain to tell your body how to do the things it needs to do. If your brain is a supercomputer CPU, your spinal cord and nervous system are like the copper pathways on circuit boards that enable it to send signals to the rest of the wondrous machine that is your body.
To this end, just as when one of these pathways in a computer becomes corroded, twisted, or interrupted, and the computer malfunctions, your body can malfunction if anything remotely interferes with the nerves. Your skull and your spinal column are in place to protect your brain and nerves, to keep them from damage. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your spine remains in proper alignment, so it does its job of protecting your nerves, instead of doing the opposite and harming them.
Back Pain and Stress
Most people would associate stress and headaches, but what you may not realize is that stress can be a major cause of back pain as well and can be directly related to spinal subluxations. When you are stressed, your body doesn’t work as well as it should — the stress hormones it releases interfere with the brain’s ability to communicate effectively. This can lead to difficulty with focus and thinking, with depression and anxiety and even with back pain.
How does this apply to a chiropractor? When people are stressed, they tend to have poor posture. They hunch and are stiff and don’t do the exercise, stretching, straight-sitting and standing they need to maintain the proper curvature of their spine. This can lead to subluxations and muscle problems, which in turn cause back pain
Managing your stress is the first step in dealing with your pain. Go to the gym, get some exercise. Take a yoga class or martial arts class, or even just go for a run or walk. Get a half hour of exercise at minimum three times per week. Also, did you know that chiropractic wellness centers can also offer services that can help you deal with those aching muscles? A chiropractor is an excellent resource to help you manage stress and get your wellness under control.
Guide to Chiropractic Services
People visit chiropractors for a lot of reasons. These reasons can be pared down to three major categories of care. Even better, these three types of care can be viewed as stages of wellness in your relationship with your chiropractor. The first of these is relief care. This is the reason most people visit a chiropractor to begin with. You might have pain in your back, shoulders, neck, or extremities, or even headaches, and you don’t want invasive medical procedures or to keep popping pills
The next stage is corrective care. The Chiropractor will progress from addressing the symptoms of pain you’re feeling to determining the underlying cause of the pain and working to get it corrected. This is a permanent fix that will help to make sure you’re feeling better than ever, and can take anywhere from a couple weeks to a few months or longer, depending on the severity of your issues. Finally, there’s ongoing wellness care. Wellness care means working the chiropractor into your regular routine of health and wellness to be sure that your body keeps on performing at its peak level.
The Benefits of Chiropractic Care
A whole range of science-backed benefits to chiropractic care have been determined. Studies indicate that chiropractic care can reduce your overall health costs. It cuts the costs of back pain treatments by 28 percent, hospitalizations by 41 percent, surgery by 32 percent and medical imaging costs by 37 percent.
You can also get a number of significant benefits from regular care beyond these improved health costs. First, chiropractic care is outstanding for reducing pain in the musculoskeletal system. It offers improved range of motion in the joints and an overall enhanced quality of life.
Athletes all over the world rely upon chiropractic sports physicians to keep their body working at peak performance levels. Chiropractic can help to alleviate pain without the use of chemicals, can improve the efficiency of training, and can improve strength, flexibility
When your brain-body communication is at its best, your whole body works better. You’ll experience improved health and wellness because your immune system works better, and your entire body functions at a more efficient level. You’ll get more benefit from exercise, and you’ll have improved mental health due to better balance in the way your body communicates with itself. This means it can help to improve stress, depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders.
Is Chiropractic Safe?
The simple answer to this question is yes, chiropractic is very safe when performed by a licensed and certified chiropractor. In fact, chiropractic care is safe and offers benefits for the entire family. It will help to address pain and disease, improve strength and mobility and help everyone from children and teens to seniors in their retirement years to live a better, healthier life.
It’s important to note that when you first begin visiting the chiropractor, there may be some minor side effects as your spine gets readjusted. You could experience mild headaches, some fatigue and soreness after an adjustment. These side effects, however, are normal and will only last a short time. They are representative of your body getting well and readjusting to a normal configuration once again. They should subside in a few hours and cease after a few visits, and if they don’t, talk to your chiropractor!
It’s important to note that good, licensed chiropractors are trained medical professionals, who have full academic training and carry doctorate degrees. If you have any doubts as to whether you are a good candidate for chiropractic care, simply speak to a chiropractor! They can advise you of any risks and what you can expect to gain from adjustment sessions.
More than Spinal Adjustments
In fact, a good chiropractic wellness center will provide a great deal more than spinal adjustments. Chiropractors are whole-body, holistic healthcare professionals, which means they take an approach to wellness that centers on your body functioning as efficiently as possible. That means that as a trusted partner in your health and wellness routine, the chiropractor needs to provide a full range of wellness services.
These can include bio-nutrition services, which help to detox your body, discover the important nutrients in which you may be deficient and help to create a diet plan that will improve your health overall. They can also involve PEMF and Cold Laser sessions, which can help to repair damaged tissue, improve cell energy and hydration, bone density and muscle mass and give you greater function, flexibility and range of motion.
Detox foot baths can help to remove toxins in your body and restore its ion and electrolyte balance. Addressing ear reflex point issues can help to improve nerve communication throughout the body. These are just a few of the comprehensive wellness services a good clinic can offer.
The Difference Between Chiropractors, MDs, and DOs
Three major types of doctors who address pain and wellness are medical doctors (MDs), DOs (doctors of osteopathic medicine) and chiropractors. Each takes a different approach to your injuries. A DO or MD is a physician who can operate in any medical field, and either may function as your PCP. Most, however, will have some specialization or another, like dermatology, psychiatry, cardiology, etc. All can perform surgery and prescribe medication.
A DO is more likely to take a whole body approach to wellness as opposed to treating symptoms. They tend to be more holistic in their approach than MDs, though more MDs are adopting such an approach in today’s climate of awareness. Doctors of osteopathic medicine also train specifically in what is commonly called “sports medicine,” or the ailments of the musculoskeletal system.
They can use their hands to help manipulate the body and diagnose, treat and prevent illnesses in ways that MDs don’t. In this way they’re similar to chiropractors. Chiropractors, however, undergo different training than DOs. They don’t perform surgery or medicine (and in fact, eschew these things when they aren’t necessary), and they take different approaches to spinal manipulation. A good chiropractor will work alongside your DO or MD to ensure that you have the very best all-around health that is firmly rooted in medical science.
Preparing for Your First Visit: What to Expect
When you first visit a chiropractic office, the doctor’s initial goal will be to put you at ease. They will sit down and discuss your medical history, the symptoms you’re feeling and what you can expect to get out of the visits. They may do a gentle initial examination or even order medical imaging to see if you have subluxations and determine their severity.
The chiropractor will examine your posture and consider a variety of approaches to your individual ailment, which may include spinal adjustments, but may also include dietary approaches, detox treatments and more. They’ll discuss your goals for treatment and begin to work out a plan of action moving forward.
Likely there will be some paperwork you’ll need to complete, which you can often do at home before you even come into the office. This can include patient health history forms, HIPAA notices and various other forms which should be relatively easy to complete.
Following the initial plan and tests, the doctor will diagnose any issues you have and work out an approach for addressing pain, correcting the issue and, if necessary, ongoing treatment. When you visit for a chiropractic adjustment, the doctor will probably have you lie on a specially designed table and use their hands to apply pressure on specific areas of your back with controlled movements to adjust your spine.
It’s not uncommon to hear and feel a cracking or popping sound and sensation when your spine is adjusted. That’s why colloquially, people call these adjustments, “having your back cracked.” Understand that this sensation and sound is common, expected, and a sign that your spine is getting back in shape. It’s nothing to worry about.
How Many Visits Will I Need?
Chiropractic services to address your health issues will last until you are better. It’s impossible to say how many sessions it will take because every person is completely different. Some people feel immediate improvement after one visit. Others can take several months or even longer to experience relief.
Your chiropractor will discuss your course of adjustments with you and will be able to estimate how many you might need, based on your individual needs. In the end, however, it all depends on you. The point of chiropractic is to develop a holistic, whole-body approach to well-being and health that is tailored to your specific and individualized needs.
Do I Have to Go Forever?
This is one major concern that a lot of people express — they’re worried that once you start going to a chiropractor, you’ll never be able to stop. Understand first that this is a myth, and you’re not necessarily going to end up back where you started if you move on after feeling better. Still, most chiropractors do recommend ongoing regular visits as part of your preventative wellness routine.
Understand, too, that chiropractic maintenance isn’t just to stop your spine from going out of alignment again. It’s preventative care, just like your regular checkups with your PCP. These visits will provide you ongoing healing, improved immune system response, can prevent the recurrence of injuries and can help you to avoid future pain and illness. In short, regular chiropractic visits can save you money on healthcare costs and help you to live your best life overall.
Chiropractic Services at ACT Wellness Center
ACT Wellness Center is a comprehensive holistic chiropractic and wellness clinic located in Woodbridge, Virginia. For nearly a decade we have been consistently voted the best in the region. Our patients can express our successful approach to whole body wellness better than we can. Led by Dr. Carmelo F. Caratozzolo, C.C.E.P., C.C.S.P., a leader with over 20 years of experience in chiropractic care, we offer the very best, most current and advanced technologies available to help alleviate your pain and get you healthy again.
We offer complete health and wellness services that involve completely non-invasive methods and zero chemicals in your body. We’ll get you healthy through a range of approaches from bio nutrition to laser therapy, detox foot baths and, of course, chiropractic spinal adjustments. Every one of our patients is given individualized attention and a plan of action that’s tailored to your specific needs.
Feel free to explore our website and learn more about chiropractic and wellness services, or even tour our office and meet our team. We want only one thing, and that’s to get you feeling healthy again, while keeping you comfortable and confident every step of the way.
We hope this guide to chiropractic services has been helpful. If you’d like more information, or you’re experiencing pain or other symptoms of illness that you want to address in a holistic way, get in touch with us online or give us a call to schedule a consultation today!
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