What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic Care is one of the healthiest things you can do for your Body. Most people wait until they have pain before seeking the help of a Chiropractic Doctor. But preventative health is the new craze in America. Preventive health care involves many factors — proper nutrition, sufficient rest, regular exercise, a positive mental attitude, good posture and more. One key ingredient is a healthy neuromuscular structure. Your spine plays an especially critical role. The spinal column houses the spinal cord, and from it nerves go out to all parts of the body. Chiropractic addresses itself to all the health care factors but gives special emphasis to care of the spine and the nervous system.
What is a Subluxation?
The term subluxation refers to a change in the position and/or motion of the spine and/or joints of the body, meaning that the spine or joints do not move in the normal way. When the spine is subluxated, the nerves in that area may behave abnormally. Nerves that send signals to the brain for muscle movement and pain sensation can be affected, changing what your brain perceives about the body and altering signals that the brain sends back. On the other hand, nerves that send signals to organs and tissues may be affected, with effects on those organs and tissues. The intent of a spinal adjustment is to restore normal motion, function and nerve impulse flow. Lets look at how subluxation leads to the four phases of spinal degeneration.
The Phase of Spinal Degeneration
Vertebrae are smooth and healthy with no subluxations present. This allows equal spacing of the discs and proper curvature of the spine. The openings allow the nerves to flow without interference. The spinal joints have a full range of motion. The Intervertebral discs are healthy and stable.
Untreated subluxations can cause calcium deposits and bone spurs (better known as arthirits). The surfaces of the subluxated vertebrae become rough and uneven, causing the discs to compress, lose fluids and the ability to support the spine. The nerve roots become get more inflammed, causing your symptoms to be chronic.
When the vertebraes get misaligned, spinal degeneration begins. When a vertebrae is subluxated it can’t move properly and causes undue stress to the surrounding discs and nerves. The spinal joints abnormal range of motion causes inflammation and scar tissue formation, further decreasing the range of motion.
The final degenerative process accelerates and causes a loss of bone mass. The discs start to collapse, Fusion of the Spinal segments begins. your Pain and symptoms will become more severe. When the bones start to fuse together the spinal joints lose thier mobility, compressing the spinal nerves causing more severe damage, even Paralysis.
What can Chiropractic do for Sciatica?
Sciatica is characterized by pain that originates in the low back or buttock that travels into one or both legs. Sciatica is generally caused by sciatic nerve compression. Disorders known to cause sciatic nerve pain include lumbar spine subluxations (misaligned vertebral body/ies), herniated or bulging discs (slipped discs), pregnancy and childbirth, tumors, and non-spinal disorders such as diabetes, constipation, or sitting on one’s back pocket wallet. One common cause of sciatica is Piriformis Syndrome. Piriformis Syndrome is a neuromuscular disorder that occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed by the piriformis muscle causing pain, tingling and numbness in the buttocks and along the path of the sciatic nerve descending the lower thigh and into the leg. The type of chiropractic therapy provided depends on the cause of the patient’s sciatica. A sciatica treatment plan may include several different treatments such as ice/heat therapies, ultrasound, TENS, vax-decompression, myofascial release, stretching, massage therapy and spinal manipulation referred to as “adjustments”.
Can Chiropractic Fix Herniated Discs?
The primary goal of treatment for each patient is to help relieve pain and other symptoms resulting from the herniated disc. To achieve this goal, each patient’s treatment plan should be individualized based on the source of the pain, the severity of pain and the specific symptoms that the patient exhibits, patients usually are advised to start with a course of conservative care (non-surgical) prior to considering spine surgery for a herniated disc. Whereas this is true in general, for some patients early surgical intervention is beneficial. For example, when a patient has progressive major weakness in the arms or legs due to nerve root pinching from a herniated disc, having surgery sooner can stop any neurological progression and create an optimal healing environment for the nerve to recover. In such cases, without surgical intervention, nerve loss can occur and the damage may be permanent.
For lumbar and cervical herniated discs, conservative (non-surgical) treatments can usually be applied for around four to six weeks to help reduce pain and discomfort. A process of trial and error is often necessary to find the right combination of treatments. Patients may try one treatment at a time or may find it helpful to use a combination of treatment options at once. For example, treatments focused on pain relief (such as medications) may help patients better tolerate other treatments (such as manipulation or physical therapy). In addition to helping with recovery, physical therapy is often used to educate patients on good body mechanics (such as proper lifting technique) which helps to prevent excessive wear and tear on the discs.