Is It Time for an "Adjustment" in Your Life?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Have you been experiencing pain in your lower back, neck, or shoulder? Maybe all you need is an “adjustment.” Sometimes our bodies—just like a car—can malfunction, causing pain, discomfort, and difficulty sleeping.

Many medical disorders of nerves, muscles, or joints may be caused by loss of function or alignment in the spine. Chiropractic is a system of diagnosis and treatment based on the concept that the nervous system is important in coordinating all of the body’s functions.

Chiropractors specialize in hands-on therapy that involves adjusting joints using pressure, stretching, or a quickly applied force that moves a joint slightly more than you can with exercise. Chiropractors manipulate the spine with their hands to restore normal joint motion, realign a joint, and relieve the pressure on the nerves. Chiropractic treatment is effective for muscle spasms of the back and neck, tension headaches, and some types of leg pain.

Chiropractic therapy is an integral part of the care offered at Columbia St. Mary’s Spine Center. The Spine Center brings together a team of professionals who specialize in disorders of the back and neck, offering a streamlined approach to evaluating and treating spine-related problems. Team members also include neuro- and orthopaedic spine surgeons, physiatrists (a physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation), physical therapists, massage therapists, and an acupuncturist.

The theory behind chiropractic treatment is to help the body heal itself by correcting dysfunction and misalignment of the joints, particularly the bones of the spine (vertebrae). To evaluate a problem, I conduct tests to determine the specific tissues involved, such as muscles, disks, or joints. This includes evaluating the motion of the joints in the affected area, movement patterns, posture, spinal curvatures, and specific muscles for weakness or tightness.

If a joint or muscle problem is found, a trial four to six treatments are done, and response to care is evaulated. After two to three weeks, most patients will notice significant improvements; in fact, many notice improvement after the first treatment, enjoy a good night’s sleep, and are on the road back to good health..

The goal of an adjustment is to better align the joints and improve motion and functioning. An adjustment may involve:

  • Imparting force by applying pressure and quickly moving the joint with the hands.
  • Applying a stretching force using a special decompression device to allievate pressure on a disk.
  • Muscle strengthening or stretching.

Pressure point therapies are often applied prior to the adjustment to relax muscles or, in some cases, may be used instead of the adjustment.

At the Spine Center, some patients may be referred for chiropractic evaluation after first meeting with a physiatrist. Other patients directly schedule an appointment with the chiropractor. If a more serious problem is discovered during the chiropractic evaluation, the patient will be referred to other appropriate team members for care. For more information, call the Spine Center at (414) 961-5005.

 

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