What is Chiropractic?

Why does Chiropractic care help so many people move and feel better?

Chiropractic is defined as a form of conservative health care which is focused on the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system. The most common area of focus for chiropractors is the spine, which includes the neck, but at Conrad Spine and Sport we will treat full body if it is needed (upper and lower extremities).

As a Doctor of Chiropractic, we are trained to locate and treat joint fixations and restore more normal movement. This procedure is called an adjustment within the chiropractic field, but is also commonly referred to spinal manipulation, joint manipulation, or chiropractic manipulative therapy. 

The adjustment is often times accompanied by a "pop" sound. This sound can shock people a little bit at first, but the sensation is usually relieving and not painful at all. There are also many cases that there is not a "pop" accompanied. This in no way means that the adjustment did not work. It just simply did not create a sound. The pop sound is not due to any joints being dislocated or "put back into place", but simply a gas bubble formation within the joint as a result of stretching the joint. It's much like cracking your knuckles (and, no, it doesn't lead to arthritis).

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Five Factors That Can Lead to Joint Dysfunction

Yes, this is a lot to read.... But stick with me it will be worth it!

Bone Component

This happens when the joint is restricted due to bone degeneration over time. This can lead to a narrowing of the spaces between the bones. The space that is narrowing is actually where the nerve for that segment passes through. Narrowing of this space often results in irritation or impingement of the nerve itself.

Nervous Component

The narrowing of joint space discussed above can occasionally cause disruption of the normal electrical flow along the nerve fibers. This can cause the messages traveling along the nerves to become diminished or even lost. This results in the muscles that are fed by those nerves to receive decreased signals from the brain. A decrease in signal will ultimately lead to the muscles affected not being able to function properly. To compensate, other muscles which are controlled by other nerves can end up doing more of the work, which can cause soft tissue damage, pain, and can create a muscular imbalance on one side over the other.

Muscular Component

Muscles can often times have contracted bundles of muscle fibers within a relaxed muscle. Those bundles of contracted fibers are called “trigger points.” Trigger points can either cause dysfunctional movement of joints, pain, or both. If muscles are in dysfunction, and the affected muscles control joints, then joints can end up moving in ways that are less than optimal. This can cause an array of issues, and can eventually lead to atrophy of muscles if not properly taken care of. 

Soft Tissue Component

Abnormal joint movement will also affect the surrounding tendons, ligaments, and blood supplies found in the joints.  Over time, the soft tissues can become stretched out or scarred, leaving the spine with either a permanent instability or restriction.

Chemical Component

The change in the chemistry of the body can sometimes be due to a restricted joint. Most often, the chemical changes, such as the release of a class of chemicals called “-kinins”. These are pro-inflammatory agents, meaning they increase inflammation (pain, redness, swelling, and/or heat) in the affected area. Inflammation is the body’s way of healing threats within the body or damage. It is also a way to tell us if something is wrong and needs to be addressed.

These changes can get progressively worse over time if they are not treated correctly. This can lead to chronic pain, inflammation, arthritis, muscle trigger points, the formation of bone spurs, and loss of movement, as well as muscle weakness and spasms.

Chiropractic Care is Part of a Bigger Picture, Not the Whole Picture

In order to have the best possible outcome of each adjustment, recommendations will be given. Some of these services and recommendations might include massage, physical rehabilitaion dietary changes, supplementation, stretching exercises, strengthening exercises, or medical consultation. At our office, we believe that prevention of a potential problem is more important and less expensive than treating the problem when it arises.

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