As a formal approach to health, chiropractic began in the late 1800's about the same time as Röntgen introduced the first x-ray equipment. In fact, chiropractors were one of the first professions to make use of x-ray. At the time, this burgeoning technology did not have the sophistication that modern x-ray has. The science of patient positioning and the state of technology at the time did not allow for the consistency, clarity and reproducibility that today’s modern x-ray equipment affords.
As chiropractors began using this new tool they were able to see the pathological changes in the spine and began noticing a relationship to these changes and symptoms there patients were displaying. In the case of degeneration (osteoarthritis and damage from physical injuries and repetitive stress), they would notice deviations in vertebral alignment relating to degeneration of the discs which lie between adjacent vertebrae. They interpreted this as a vertebra or bone out of place. And they began to believe that this "bone out of place" was the cause of the patient's symptoms. This interpretation was the result of re-x-raying a patient after a series of chiropractic adjustments and noticing a decrease or elimination of symptoms and then many times finding on the re-x-ray that the vertebra appeared in better alignment. Many times this appearance of better alignment of one vertebra on another was simply the result of taking the x-ray from a slightly different angle and other factors related to the technology of the time. That being the case, what has science actually discovered about what a chiropractor actually does with that adjustment or manipulation.
There's usually an element of truth in everything, in this case the early chiropractors were seeing some change in vertebral alignment, however, not in the sense of moving a bone back into place (although to a small degree this is possible). The majority of change they were observing related to restoring specific joint motion and thereby indirectly having some effect on spinal alignment. Every spinal joint and most other joints making up your skeletal system have what are called joint play movements. These movements are the springy movement or the give that occurs in different directions depending upon which joint you are talking about. If these springy movements are not present than your joints can not move when your muscles contract. That creates compensation, lack of range of motion and pressure. And yes your nerves can be affected by direct or indirect pressure. And since your nervous system controls everything, it is pretty important that we do everything possible to keep it functioning at its maximum by ensuring your musculoskeletal system is functioning at its maximum with joints having their joint play movement along with balanced soft tissue structures (your muscles, ligaments, etc.).
Since chiropractic adjustments are one of the most specific ways to maintain joint play movement, I highly encourage regular chiropractic maintenance. In fact, one of the biggest benefits you receive when getting adjusted regularly is interrupting patterns of joint fixations (loss of that joint play springy movement) which if left undisturbed will result in the process of joint degeneration - not to mention the effects on your nervous system. And most of the time (70-80% of the time) a low force technique can accomplish this, however, there are occasions when a traditional manual manipulation will be more effective. This is especially true if the joint capsule has locked down the joint. In this situation, a manual adjustment is highly effective at stretching out the joint capsule.
In my office, every session is directed towards diagnosing joint fixations and addressing them with specific techniques in order to restore joint motion. In addition, the appropriate physical therapy, fitness recommendations and any nutritional concerns are addressed. The level at which all these factors are addressed depends on patient need and patient objectives.
If you are seeking an appointment at one of our offices for chiropractic
care, please call us on the numbers provided in the "about us"
section of this website.