What is Chiropractic?
Along with medicine and osteopathy, chiropractic is one of the western world’s three major healing professions. Chiropractors specialize in the biomechanical causes of disease including vertebral subluxations, misalignments, derangements and fixations of the human frame – especially of the spine.
The following are the three fundamental principles of chiropractic.
- Importance of the nervous system: Chiropractic doctors recognize the overriding importance of a properly functioning nervous system in the body’s maintenance of its own health.
- Spinal subluxations (misalignments): Chiropractic doctors recognize that pinched or otherwise irritated spinal nerves due to vertebral subluxations, misalignments or other structural impairments alter normal nerve impulses and thereby cause pain and disease conditions – not only in the back – but elsewhere in the body.
- Chiropractic adjustments: Chiropractic doctors recognize that when spinal nerve irritations are cleared by means of chiropractic adjustments and other chiropractic care, the nervous system’s normal flow of impulses can resume and direct the bodies own efforts in recuperation from pain and disease and help in the continuing maintenance of the body’s health.
What Will Happen On My First Visit?
In order to determine the cause of your symptoms, the doctor will conduct a thorough exam including spinal, physical, orthopedic and neurological examinations as well as listening to your case history. X-rays may also be taken as they can reveal fractures, spinal misalignments, joint and bone disease, congenital anomalies and other aspects of your health.
The goal of this visit is to determine your primary concern, and whether or not you could benefit from chiropractic care.
On the second visit the doctor will explain the report of findings and tell you if he can accept your case. If you are accepted as a patient the doctor will discuss your diagnosis, treatment plan and likely outcomes.
Can You Help With Conditions Like Chronic Pain or Fibromyalgia?
*According to the American Pain Foundation, chronic pain afflicts an estimated 70 million Americans resulting in 515 million lost workdays each year and $100 billion in costs. In addition to the direct costs, chronic pain diminishes the quality of life for many patients.
Using chiropractic adjustments and modalities, we work with the patient to help provide symptomatic relief from chronic intractable pain.
*As reported by dynatronics.com
What Causes Misalignments or Subluxations?
Almost everyone gets misalignments of the spine or subluxations from time to time. Some subluxations are caused by accidents and injuries, but there are many causes. Here are some of them:
|Birth Injuries||Weak Ligaments|
|Childhood Injuries||Muscle Spasms|
|Home Injuries||Unequal Leg Lengths|
|Sports Injuries||Spinal Imbalance|
|Workplace Injuries||Emotional Tension|
|Auto Injuries||Mental Strain|
What is a Chiropractic Adjustment?
Chiropractic adjustment is the art of introducing a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a vertebra that is subluxated or out of place. The Chiropractor identifies the location of the subluxation, determines the exact direction and the best way to correct the positioning. The adjustment itself is a movement of the spine that is done either by hand or with a computerized instrument in a very quick movement. The adjustment assists the vertebra back into the normal alignment which restores proper motion to a joint and relieves nerve pressure. There are approximately 40 different ways to analyze and adjust the spine, so the actual adjustment will vary from Chiropractor to Chiropractor.
At Health Star Clinic we provide our patients manual adjustments as well as using computerized adjustment tools and therapies that relax and support muscles and ligaments, complementing and re-enforcing the adjustment.
What Is That “Cracking” Noise?
Your joints contain fluid that helps keep them healthy and lubricated (like oil in a car). This “synovial fluid” contains gas (like carbonation in soft drinks). When an adjustment is made you may hear a noise. This is know as an “audible release” and is simply the release of gas in the joint much like when you open a can of soda.
Can I Correct a Misalignment or Subluxation Myself?
It is virtually impossible to adjust yourself since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force applied in a specific direction to a specific spinal joint. One method some people use to try to correct a misalignment is to “pop” their spine themselves by twisting or turning. Although this movement may cause the bones to move and often “pop”, it is not specific enough to solve a problem, and is often counterproductive because it makes the unstable areas of the spine more mobile and therefore less stable. Adjusting the spine is not for amateurs and can cause further discomfort and spinal damage if done incorrectly.
Some subluxations correct themselves. One of the great benefits of going to bed at night is that it takes the weight off the spine. This allows subluxations that developed during the course of the day to correct themselves. This occurs naturally due to the elasticity of the supporting muscles and ligaments.
Unfortunately, not all subluxations are self-correcting. Here’s why:
Weak Ligaments – Ligaments are supposed to hold the vertebrae in place, however, even mild or moderate sprains can result in lax ligaments. This ligament weakness allows subluxations to recur and may require chiropractic treatment from time to time.
Muscle Spasms – Muscle spasms frequently cause subluxations which become chronic if not treated early. It usually takes a series of treatments to get chronic subluxations corrected.
Congenital Defects – Congenital defects (i.e. extra spinal vertebrae, fusion, malformations) or weakness in the spine affect about one out of every twenty people.
Unequal Leg Length – Studies have shown that more than 10% of the population have significant differences in leg length.
Spinal Imbalance – Normally, the body weight is divided equally when standing, but istortion or imbalance puts a strain on supporting muscles. Many people are substantially out of balance and need chiropractic treatment to become rebalanced.
Emotional Tension – Mental strain and fatigue predispose patients to persistent or recurring subluxations.
Who Gets Subluxations?
Almost everyone develops spinal subluxations. Fortunately, most of these subluxations correct themselves when one relaxes or lies down to sleep. When spinal subluxations are severe or persistent they require chiropractic diagnosis and treatment.
The four major causes of vertebral subluxations are:
1. Congenital Instability
About one out of three people are born with some kind of congenital malformation, defect, or anomaly of the spine which, if severe enough, produces a basic instability in the spine and predisposes that person to frequent or repetitive vertebral subluxations.
An injury need not be severe to produce a vertebral subluxation. The spine can be injured in many ways: during the birthing process, as a result of sports injuries, overuse, auto accidents, etc. Children at play frequently stumble, tumble and fall, which automatically puts them at high risk of injury and vertebral subluxations.
As fatigue sets in, muscle coordination dwindles and awkward uncoordinated movements can cause injury and vertebral subluxations.
4. Reflex Reactions
Just as a person automatically blinks when something comes near the eye, a startling or awkward movement can cause one to jerk the head, neck, or back and produce a vertebral subluxation.
Why Do Children Need Chiropractic Care?
Chiropractors treat the condition of life. Chiropractors check the spine for vertebral subluxations, nerve pressure caused by misaligned vertebrae, which cause interference in the flow of information from the brain to the various systems of the body. This nerve interference left uncorrected insidiously and negatively effects good health. Getting adjusted regularly helps each and every function of your body, promoting lasting good health.
Subluxations may occur at any time in our lives. For example, during the birthing process, difficult vaginal or obstetrical intervention (forceps, vacuum extraction or cesarean), can cause subluxations. Such procedures often disrupt the integrity of the delicate infants’ spinal column, altering the function of the nerves emanating from the upper neck area. This can lead to upper neck problems and increased susceptibility to ear, nose and throat infection.
Many times children have accidents and parents may believe that they are fine because there is no external evidence of damage. Spinal subluxations sometimes don’t signal an obvious symptom. The earlier children’s spines are checked, the earlier problems can be detected, preventing health problems from occurring and becoming serious. We recommend all children be checked regularly for nerve interference, even without symptoms present. Prevention is the best medicine.
If you know a child who is not under chiropractic care and suffers from any of the following problems, please urge the child’s parent to consider chiropractic. Remember, vertebral subluxations lead to pressure on spinal nerves which leads to dysfunction.
|Poor Posture||One leg shorter|
|Ear infection||Learning disorder|
|Neck/back pain||Sinus problems|
|Leg/hip/foot pain||Eye problems|
Attention deficit disorder
Parents who are aware of the importance of a properly functioning nerve system automatically want their children checked by a chiropractor.
What are the Effects of Subluxations on the Body?
Spinal subluxations alter normal nerve impulses and thereby cause pain and disease conditions, not only in the back, but elsewhere in the body. The nerve impulses travel along the nerves and exit the spine heading toward all of the internal organs to help control their function and different parts of the musculoskeletal system.
The following is a partial listing of conditions or symptoms which frequently result from subluxations and often respond positively to chiropractic treatment:
What Levels of Care Can I Choose From?
Depending on your condition, health care goals (feel better, get better, or stay better), finances and schedule, you may choose from different levels of care.
Acute/Relief Care – This initial treatment is intended to decrease inflammation, reduce spasms, and alleviate pain. The number of treatments necessary to accomplish this depends on your age, underlying spinal condition, condition duration and other lifestyle choices.
Corrective/Rehabilitative Care – During this level of care, we are primarily concerned with the strengthening of the soft tissue around the joint. This structural approach is designed to help prevent a relapse back into acute/relief care, and to aid in “holding” the correction in place and possibly creating structural improvements.
Maintenance or Wellness Care – Maintenance care prevents lapses of previous conditions and addresses new conditions before symptoms appear.
Will My Insurance Cover Chiropractic Care?
Many insurance plans cover Chiropractic care; however, it is difficult to break down all the insurance plans individually on this site. We currently have a great number of patients who have insurance coverage through PPOs, Medicare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Health, Aetna, etc. which covers part or all of their care.
We are happy to call and check your insurance coverage for Chiropractic care. In the event that there is no Chiropractic coverage, we can set-up a payment plan to meet your financial and treatment needs.
Can I Afford It?
We strongly believe that the cost of living with pain is much greater than the cost of chiropractic care.
Often the cost of surgery, drugs and other treatments for the symptoms alone far exceed the cost of correcting the problem using chiropractic methods. Our office offers flexible payment plans that will meet your budget. We believe that everyone should have access to Chiropractic care and have structured our fees to make it affordable for you. Ask our Office Manager for details.
Are Chiropractic Treatments Safe?
Chiropractic is a natural approach to better health and has an excellent safety record. For this reason, the insurance premiums for Chiropractic malpractice are very low. Before starting any kind of treatment, the Chiropractor explains the procedures and reveals any potential risks involved in taking treatment, delaying treatment or not taking treatment at all.
What are the Education Requirements to Become a Chiropractor?
Generally, a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree (DC) requires a minimum of eight years of study. The student is required to complete a four-year undergraduate degree which includes two years of pre-professional studies emphasizing chemistry, physics, biology, etc.
Upon acceptance to an accredited Chiropractic College or University, the student completes studies emphasizing anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pediatrics, dermatology, genetics and other subjects related to health and disease. During the final year of Chiropractic school, the emphasis is on the treatment of neuro-musculo-skeletal problems, spinal misalignments or subluxations, biomechanical problems, differential diagnosis and x-ray diagnosis. A one-year clinical internship must be completed prior to graduation in order to attain the Doctor of Chiropractic degree. After graduation, the Doctor must pass four demanding national board examinations and state examinations in the states in which they choose to practice.
What type of doctor will I see?
In Birmingham you’ll see a chiropractic physician.