Chiropractic, by aligning the spine, removes blockages from the nervous system and helps restore health. Adjustments restore nervous communication.
Most people only worry about the health of the spine when they first have back pain. It is then when they usually discover chiropractic, a type of treatment that consists of using manual techniques and adjustments to prevent and treat alterations of the musculoskeletal system but also helps to resolve disorders that may cause the function of the nervous system and health. .
If you are thinking of going to a chiropractor, this article will help you solve your doubts:
WHAT TRAINING DOES A CHIROPRACTOR HAVE?
Despite being recognized as a health profession by the WHO, in Spain chiropractic is not yet officially regulated. However, Madrid and Barcelona already offer five-year higher studies. Given that vital nerves pass through the spine, the Spanish Chiropractic Association insists on the importance of always putting yourself in the hands of qualified professionals.
Only those pursuing internationally recognized chiropractic studies are awarded the title of “Doctors of Chiropractic.” One of them is Aaron Morris, graduated in California but with his practice at the Punt Vital Quiropràctic center, in Barcelona.
“The body is made to be healthy,” Morris explains. ”When there is no interference in the nervous system , the body’s innate intelligence, the force that regulates unconscious functions and keeps us alive, can express itself optimally. This generates vitality and allows us to live to the fullest of our potential.”
When a subluxation occurs, the communication between the brain and the body stops being fluid and problems can appear: from headaches or back pain to digestive discomfort or asthma.
“The column works like a hose – he clarifies -. If we open the tap in the brain and the water flows without obstacles, the garden plants will be watered, but if the tap is left half closed or a knot forms in the hose, the water it will not get where it has to go: organs, glands and tissues will not receive the information they need from the brain to function normally. ”
HOW DOES THE CHIROPRACTOR HELP MY BACK AND HEALTH?
The spine fulfills a function as important or more than that of supporting the body and connecting its lower and upper halves with the help of the muscles of the trunk. Through it circulates all the information that the brain needs to send and receive so that the body can function properly.
From the heartbeat to breathing, walking or digesting: any vital function, any chemical reaction and any conscious or unconscious movement , however minimal, require the nerve impulses that travel through the spinal cord , lodged in the spine.
Keeping it healthy and flexible helps, of course, to avoid back pain. But also, and above all, it can promote the balance of the nervous system and enhance health.
The nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and billions of nerves that act as an electrical network for the human body. Its task is to transmit vital information from the brain to all cells, muscles and organs.
That information travels down the spinal cord to the spinal nerves, which then branch out. There are 31 pairs of spinal nerves, which originate from the medulla, at the height of each vertebra.
When a vertebra moves and pinches those nerves, it causes subluxation. It can also affect the intervertebral discs and, over time, if left uncorrected, lead to herniated discs or other wear problems.
The work of chiropractic, developed in the late 19th century by Daniel David Palmer, a Canadian therapist, is based on this crucial role of the spine.
Palmer began to study the influence of vertebrae on health after verifying that the deafness of his assistant, who had not heard for 17 years, was due to a displaced cervical vertebra. Pressing on the bulge at the back of his neck, he instantly returned her hearing.
He continued to investigate and concluded that a large number of health problems could be due to this type of displacement, which he called “subluxations” and that a well-trained hand could correct with gentle and precise pressure.
Unlike other manual therapies, chiropractic does not massage the tissues to relieve tension. It focuses on correcting the position of the vertebrae so that the nervous system can undertake its work without interference.
WHEN TO GO TO THE CHIROPRACTOR?
Chiropractors advise not to wait for discomfort to check the spine, since subluxations do not usually give symptoms at first and, the more time that passes, the more difficult it is to correct them.
The frequency with which adjustments are received afterwards depends on each case and, if you want, you can continue to do it for a lifetime as preventive care, like someone who goes swimming or practices meditation.
The average price per session is between 30 and 40 euros. In the sessions, only the necessary adjustments are made so that the changes are gradually integrated, and between one session and another, many days are not allowed to pass, especially at the beginning, to consolidate progress.
“Corrections require time to establish themselves and also repetitions, because if the subluxation is old or due to habits that have not changed, the vertebra tends to return to its displaced position,” explains Morris.
Chiropractic has very good results for headaches, low back pain, and herniated discs. However, although there are many other ailments that it is useful for, the adjustments are not aimed at treating specific diseases or pain but only at correcting subluxations so that the body does the rest.
“If someone comes to the consultation with a herniated disc, most of the time they improve and even avoid surgery, but the herniated disc is not treated directly. The care is global and the benefits are broader. Quality of life is gained. And many times problems are solved that were not expected to be fixed, “says Morris.
WHAT DOES A CHIROPRACTOR DO?
At the first visit, before any adjustments are made, the chiropractor subjects the patient to a series of tests.
- After collecting his history, he palpates the spine vertebra by vertebra to check the condition of the tissues and identify subluxations.
- He also performs balance and posture tests, see if he puts more weight to one side or the other, if the body leans forward or backward, or if his shoulders and hips are aligned.
- A surface electromyography, performed by placing electrodes on both sides of the spine at different heights, allows you to measure muscle tension and pinpoint the degree of imbalance.
With the results in hand, he prepares a report and recommends a program that can include one or more sessions per week, depending on the case. Every certain number of sessions, a review is done to see the progress.
In the first sessions, the highest area of the spine is usually worked and then it is lowered. The work focuses on the spine because that way it has a greater impact on the nervous system, although some chiropractors can also correct musculoskeletal disorders that occur in the extremities.
If the spine and pelvis are misaligned, one leg may be slightly lengthened, giving the impression that one leg is shorter than the other. If this imbalance is maintained, we will load more weight on one side of the body when standing or walking, which can wear out the joints more quickly.
The chiropractor checks the length of the legs to see the level of balance between the pelvis and the spine. If there is an imbalance it may be due to subluxations in any of the vertebrae.
WHAT IS THE CHIROPRACTIC ACTIVATOR?
The pressures that are applied to correct subluxation are called “adjustments.” They are usually executed with the hands but sometimes instruments such as wedges, stretchers of moving parts or a hammer called an “activator” are used that exerts a single, fast and precise pressure.
The activator is an instrument that delivers a precise and painless impulse on the misaligned vertebra. It is therefore used with the same intention as the hands: to correct a subluxation.
There are chiropractors who use it frequently, although there are others who use it preferably in very young children and older people. It can be used in any area of the spine, from the neck to the tailbone.
The trigger is like a trigger; the person may hear a popping sound at the time of adjustment.
CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENT: WHAT IS IT AND WHAT IS IT FOR?
There are different techniques for making adjustments, which each chiropractor chooses based on their personal preferences and the needs of the patient. The technique with which the adjustment is carried out may vary, for example, if it is carried out in children, the elderly or pregnant women.
The adjustments are painless and sometimes cause immediate effects – emotional reactions, pain relief or a feeling of rest – although the effects are usually noticeable as the days and sessions go by.
If you hear a clicking noise when adjusting, no need to worry. They are gases dissolved in the synovial fluid that make noise when the pressure between the vertebrae changes.
1. CERVICAL ADJUSTMENT
The cervical area is the most important due to its proximity to the brain. The adjustment is made by manipulating the head, at the base of the skull and the neck, with the person sitting up straight. The chiropractor can also work the area with the person lying on their back on the table.
By aligning the cervical vertebrae, the effect is very powerful because the “tap” is opened through which the information generated by the brain will flow freely to all parts of the body , restoring balance to the nervous system and helping to restore health usually.
2. FIT ON THE ATLAS
The atlas is the first cervical vertebra. Due to its location, just below the skull, the technique is usually modified to access this area, the most delicate of the spine; the most appropriate posture may be with the person lying on their side, rather than on their back.
The chiropractor uses a smooth and precise push with the hands to align the atlas, the control center for all vital functions; all the information that controls respiration, digestive organs or cardiovascular function, among others, passes through it.
An atlas subluxation can give symptoms such as headache, insomnia, poor concentration, anxiety, tiredness, or dizziness.
3. BACK ADJUSTMENT
A subluxation in this area can affect vital organs, such as the heart, lungs and digestive system, among others.
For adjustment, a very slight force is applied with a short lever on the back of the patient, lying face down; this allows the adjustment to be very specific and painless.
On other occasions, the chiropractor uses the patient’s own weight to adjust the dorsal area, directing him from the sitting position to the prone position. Meanwhile, the hand on the back guides the vertebra to be adjusted.
4. PELVIC ADJUSTMENT
This adjustment may require taking advantage of the functions of the stretcher, in which moving parts are raised to provide greater momentum.
Thus, the pelvis is raised and the adjustment can be made on this area in a specific way: something especially beneficial for pregnant women. An aligned spine and pelvis are essential for an optimal pregnancy and healthy delivery.
5. ADJUSTMENTS ON THE LUMBAR AREA AND SACRUM
A subluxation in this area can affect the functioning of the intestines, the reproductive system, the bladder, the prostate, the muscles of the lower back, the hips, the thighs and the knees, and even the ankles and feet.
Constipation or diarrhea, painful periods, lumbago, sciatica, cold feet and some sexual dysfunctions are some of the health problems that can appear if there are subluxations in the lumbar area or the sacrum.
When making this adjustment, the patient has to be very relaxed so that the chiropractor can place it in the ideal position and without spinal rotation. In this way, a further correction of the problem is achieved.
Another way to correct subluxations of the sacrum and pelvis is by means of wedges that are embedded under this area. The chiropractor places the wedges in a very specific position and direction, depending on the distortion that the patient presents and leaves them there for a certain time.
This technique takes advantage of body weight and the force of gravity to achieve a smooth and effective correction.