Chiropractic Care Procedures
Any care you receive from a Doctor of Chiropractic might be considered to be “chiropractic care”. However, we’ll focus on those procedures specifically delivered by a DC (Doctor of Chiropractic).
Most notably, a DC provides treatment for pain and restricted movement of the joints, such as spinal joints and joints of the shoulders, hands, wrists, knees, hips, ankles, etc. All joints (joint complex) have in common basic components such as cartilage, nerve endings, muscle attachments (tendon), ligaments, and blood supply (vessels). Therefore, all joints can be subject to common problems when injury or just “wear and tear” occurs.
A chiropractor is trained to evaluate and treat the pain and dysfunction of joints that almost all people will experience in their lifetime. One treatment method used is the chiropractic adjustment, another is called mobilization which is a general therapeutic pressure or movement of joints to “loosen up” tight and restricted areas. When areas of the body are not moving in a smooth and coordinated way there is a stress reaction in joints, muscles, and nerves which alert us with pain to a need for rest, and possibly stretching, cooling down and sometimes expertly delivered joint alignment by a chiropractor.
For more information on the other services available at our clinic see our web page Chiropractic Services.
Joint Alignment Techniques
Joint alignment (adjusting) can be done using a variety of specific techniques which have been developed by pioneering chiropractors over the last 100 plus years. Although some DCs might use only one technique as their specialty, most DCs employ a variety of techniques to fit a variety of patient preferences, ages, sizes, and conditions. You would never use the same technique to help a big pro -athlete as you would to help a small baby or even an elderly person. At least not exactly the same technique and the same amount of pressure. The aim of the adjustment is to normalize proper joint movement, break up restrictions, and calm irritated nerves. Almost all the time, the adjustment feels really good and often brings a smile to the face of the patient.
Safe and Effective Care
Due to the importance of protecting the parts of a joint complex, providing both safe and effective care, the doctor has undergone rigorous study and practice of anatomy and adjusting technique. It is well known that some people (non-chiropractors) will “crack” their own joints and even feel better after doing this, at least temporarily. I am not writing about knuckles, but spinal joints. We strongly recommend against doing this because “self-manipulation” can lead to torn components of the joint complex, eg. cartilage, nerves, and even blood vessels. Also, non-professional joint manipulation can cause a joint to become over-stressed and unstable over time. The joint may gradually loosen, losing its ability to stay in place. The body may then attempt to stabilize it by spasming muscles and creating calcium deposits within the joint. A well-trained Doctor of Chiropractic is the perfect choice to enroll in helping you prevent joint injury, premature degeneration, and the effects of improperly or untreated joint conditions. For more discussion of self-manipulation see our blog post, “Is It OK to “Crack” My Own Joints?”
A Little Joint Physiology
Did you know that the cartilage of a joint requires proper movement in order to regenerate the cells which make it up? That’s right! Joint movement assures a constant movement of joint fluid past the cartilage. This constant bath of fresh, nutrient-rich joint fluid supplies cartilage cells the means to rebuild itself in the ongoing loss of old and damaged cells. An improperly moving (stuck) or misaligned joint will slowly lose its healthy supply of new cartilage cells and become degenerated.
Here is a picture of chicken cartilage. Do you see how white the end cap of cartilage is? That means it has a poor blood supply and needs to get its nutrients through the joint fluid passing by its cells. Keeping your joints healthy through good nutrition, plenty of water, exercise, and chiropractic care will help ensure your joints will serve you well for a lifetime and not degenerate early.