Common Chiropractic Questions and Answers
This article was provided by Dr. Dustin Weir DC, a chiropractor at Weir Family Chiropractic in Carrollton, TX. If you’d like to learn more please visit https://www.carrolltonchiro.net/
1. What are subluxations?
I will preface this by saying that obviously I like using the term subluxation. Some people may find the word complicated. I know many of my colleagues would rather use terms like misalignments, fixations, or just may say “bone out of place.” However, I think it is a very important term and really encompasses what we treat the best. The science of a subluxation shows that it really is a complexity of things. It involves joint misalignment, improper spinal biomechanics, improper soft tissue fiber re-arrangement, altered nervous system function, and in most cases, inflammatory properties. I keep it as simple as saying exactly what it is, a bone out of place putting pressure on your nervous system. Subluxations are treated by a chiropractor with an adjustment.
2. How do you get subluxations?
You get subluxations simply through living life. SO, what do I mean by that? For the person with a desk job, who sits 6-7 hours per day, they get head forward posture. Their shoulders start to round forward. They are constantly compressing the joints, discs, and nerves in their low back. For others it may be some repetitive activity that they do every day that slowly causes their spine to compensate and begin to twist or rotate in some way. For the athlete it could be the hit they take on the football field or the fall taken on a soccer field. For some it might be bad posture or the way they sleep at night. If you sleep well, then you spend around one third of your day in a fixed position. If you don’t change positions or even worse sleep on your stomach, you will over time create subluxations to your spine. So, this is what I meant by living life. These are just a few examples. It is also possible to get subluxations through the unhealthy food we eat, the bad air we breathe or even through the constant stress or negatives thoughts we have. This has to do with chemical or stress hormones released within the body which start to affect our cells, muscles and joints.
3. What is the treatment that chiropractors do, called an adjustment?
An adjustment is a type of treatment done by a chiropractor; typically using either their hands or an instrument. Their hands or instrument are placed on a subluxated vertebra. Then by using a specific force and angle, a gentle thrust is applied in order to re-align and restore proper biomechanics to the joint.
4. Isn’t chiropractic about getting pain relief?
Yes, chiropractic is an awesome natural way to get relief from back pain, neck pain, headaches and other joint and muscle pain. In fact most people first come to a chiropractor because of this. The first stage of treatment is the relief stage. However, if you only focus on getting relief, you will not correct the subluxations and will not achieve your full health potential.
5. How should I feel after my first chiropractic adjustment?
This is a very important question and one that needs to be severely addressed. There is a quote that I always like to use when seeing my patients for the first time. Chiropractic is not always designed to instantly make you feel better, but it is designed to instantly allow your body to heal better. Don’t get me wrong, I do have many patients who get up off from the table and tell me “Doc, I feel so much better.” There are also patients who get up sore and don’t instantly have relief from their symptoms. Lack of instant relief is not because the chiropractic adjustment didn’t work; it is usually because the patient has had their symptoms for quite some time. In cases of acute injury such as a sport injury, auto accident or even a slip or fall, the body will still have possible sprain/strains to the muscles and ligaments. They will definitely have areas of inflammation to go along with that.
The relief and progress a patient may or may not feel is why is it so important that you follow a proper treatment plan and get advice to what you can do at home when you are not being seen in the office. Chiropractic has the ability to really make powerful changes in people lives; but in many cases these changes take time.
6. So Doc, why do I actually need to see you this many times and be on a treatment plan to get better?
First of all, not all of my patients need to be on a treatment plan or have to be seen very often. I treat babies, infants and many young children, most of which do not require long treatment plans or many visits to resolve issues. For the average patient who comes to me and has had back pain, headaches or whatever it might be for many years, I try to explain it like this. “Your spine has been in really bad shape for a long time. You have multiple subluxations throughout your spine that have been created over many years due to accidents/injuries, bad posture, sitting at your job, repetitive trauma, etc. Since it took a long time to develop these problems, it takes time to correct them. You also have muscles, ligaments, and tendons that surround these joints that have, in a sense, re-arranged themselves improperly. By restoring proper alignment and correct bio-mechanical movement to these joints, over time we can change muscle memory and allow these soft tissue elements to re-arrange properly. This can take months and in some cases up to a year to restore. You will also need to be consistent with the exercises that I give to reach your best possible outcome. One thing that I can’t stress enough is that once these corrections have been made to the spine, you need to maintain these corrections. This typically involves coming in to the office for an occasional adjustment which I tend to call a “tune up.”
By Dr. Dustin Weir