What is a chiropractor?
A chiropractor is a type of doctor who has a focus on diagnosing and managing pain and injuries that affect the joints, muscles, and nerves. The process involves taking a full medical history and performing a physical examination to find the cause of the problem, then treating both the cause and the symptoms or, in select cases, referring to a more appropriate healthcare specialist.
What is a fixation?
When your spine is put under stress – which can be intense and sudden or minor but prolonged – the joints, muscles, and nerves respond by tightening up and becoming more sensitive. This is what chiropractors call a ‘fixation’. This can happen at one segment or multiple and can build up for a while before you notice it. The problem comes in when the area becomes so overloaded that the muscles spasm up, inflammation sets in, and the surrounding nerves start firing off – now you have pain, loss of movement, and even decreased nerve function affecting all sorts of things. Chiropractors reduce areas of fixation by using a technique called ‘manipulation’.
A Common Site of Joint Stress
What is ‘manipulation’?
A manipulation (also called an ‘adjustment’) is a manoeuvre performed by a chiropractor to relieve a fixation in the spine (although it can be done in any joint in the body). It is a small, fast impulse transmitted into the fixated joint by a well-trained hand (and no – it doesn’t usually hurt). The impulse causes a reflexive release of the tension around the area and aids the release of any muscle spasm. This relief can be felt straight away, but the complete effects can take hours to days to fully develop.
This Is Where The Magic Happens
Often you may hear or feel a ‘pop’ or ‘click’ during the manipulation – this is nothing breaking, but a simple gas release inside the joint fluid. It is a sign that the joint has gone through its full normal range of motion and should now have more space to move. [Aside: Although great relief is often associated with the ‘pop’, research shows that patients will get better whether a ‘pop’ is heard or not so do not worry if you didn’t.]
What else do chiropractors do?
Posture & Ergonomics Are Important
Your chiropractor may use other pain relieving techniques such as dry needling (a type of acupuncture), trigger-point therapy, massage techniques, ice spray, joint or muscle taping, etc. We may also prescribe you certain stretches or exercises, recommend certain pain-management techniques, and /or give you advice on posture and ergonomics. A chiropractor is also qualified to assess your diet, give you an exercise program, and teach you techniques to manage mental and emotional stress.
And this what we do here at The Chiropractic Health Centre. If you’d like to learn more, read about what to expect during and after treatment [link: http://www.chiropractor.co.za/services/first-visit/], simply give us a call, or even just pop in to say hello.
Thank you for reading.