Beginners guide to chiropractic
If you're watching this video, you are probably curious about chiropractic care and how it can help you and your family. So let's explore what chiropractic is all about and how it works. A chiropractor is a healthcare professional who specializes in the health and function of the spine and nervous system because of this focus on.
Many people think chiropractors can only help with problems such as back pain, neck pain, and headaches. And it is true that chiropractors can often help with these things, but there is so much more to chiropractic than just pain. Chiropractic care is really about total health and wellbeing. It's about helping people to feel great and get the most out of life by functioning at their optimal potential.
The spine is there to protect the spinal cord. Which is part of the central nervous system. The spine is like a set of armor made up of segments so that it can bend and move naturally with the body. A spinal segment consists of two vertebra and the joints that connect them, there is a disc between each vertebra that acts as a cushion underneath that armor a whole lot is happening.
Messages travel from around the body, up the spinal cord and into the. The brain processes, those messages and sends replies back down the spinal cord to tell the body how to respond. The central nervous system is one big information highway and it carries vital messages to every part of your body.
Sometimes the wear and tear of everyday life can impact the spine and cause spinal segments to move in a way that is different to normal in a dysfunctional way. That wear and tear can happen gradually, such as from bad posture or it can happen suddenly, which is common with sports injuries and because of the close relationship between the spine and the nervous system, everyday strains can actually impact the flow of information and communication between the brain and the body messages may not be delivered to the brain, or they may be inaccurate.
When that miscommunication occurs due to abnormal movements of the spine, chiropractic coolest a vertebral subluxation or a chiropractic subluxation. You might hear it again from your chiropractor. So now, you know what it means by making fast gentle adjustments to the spine chiropractors restore its natural move.
If the central nervous system is like the engine of your body, a chiropractor acts like a mechanic tuning the spine and central nervous system so that your body can run like a race car. Just keep in mind that as you are adjusted, you may hear a popping sound. That can seem a bit strange. In fact, it's completely harmless.
It's just the release of gas from between spinal segment. And it's no more significant than any other release of gas from the body. So are you ready to supercharge your engine?
Is Chiropractic Care based on science and evidence based?
Modern healthcare should be based on a combination of research, the clinical experience of your health care provider and your wishes and values. You deserve to know the scientific facts about your health care. So your health care provider should know what the best available evidence is. That's relevant to you, and they should share it with you when you see them, but not all things have yet been studied.
So your healthcare provider also has to rely on their own clinical experience. When caring for you at the end of the day, your health care is your choice, and you have every right to make choices based on your own values and beliefs. This is in fact known as evidence-based practice or evidence informed practice. Your health care providers are taught to share with you the best available scientific evidence in easy to understand language without any silly jargon.
They're also taught to share with you their own clinical experience, and then to allow you to make your own healthcare decisions. Chiropractic has a great scientific basis that is growing every day. So you can take great comfort in knowing that there has been lots of research done about chiropractic care. We know from many research studies that chiropractic is safe and that people who see chiropractors really love the care they receive.
We know from the science that chiropractic care improves your brain's ability to see what's going on in and around your body. This mean you can have all sorts of improvements in your health and function. Other than just the reason you went to see a chiropractor to begin with many people say they experience improvements in things like the way they breathe or their blood pressure, or even their digestion when they get adjusted, irrespective of whether they saw their chiropractor because they were in pain or not. How cool is that? We also know from science that people who have spinal problems such as back pain, neck pain, and headaches improve well under chiropractic care. Let me give you an example. Low back pain may be due to a breakdown in the way your brain is controlling the muscles of your back.
So your back and brain aren't talking to each other properly, which may mean that you aren't able to control and stabilize your spine properly and protect yourself from injuring your back. For example, when you move or lift an object, this is where a chiropractic can help. A chiropractor will gently adjust any dysfunctional spinal segments in your back or what they call chiropractic subluxations.
They do this to restore healthy spinal movement and to improve the communication between your brain and your body, which may have an impact on the way your brain is controlling the muscles in your back. For many people with back pain, this can result in a big difference to the way they feel and function, and it can help them to get over their back pain and back to enjoying life.
The backs this up and tells us that for people with low back pain chiropractic care is as effective. If not more effective than other health care options, more research needs to be done to work out just how effective it is. But for now the research suggests that there's no better healthcare options available. The same is true for other conditions, such as neck pain and many types of headaches.
There's also lots of research being done that looks at how chiropractors can help people with all sorts of problems that may be caused due to a breakdown in communication between your brain and your body. It turns out that spinal function is really important for your brain to know what's going on in and around you. So when you see your chiropractor, you can feel secure knowing that the care they provide is backed up by research as well as their clinical experience.
But remember, your health care is your choice and you can make choices based on your own values and beliefs. And this lies at the heart of evidence-based health care. So have you seen your family chiropractor lately, if not go have your brain body connection, fine tuned, because chiropractic is all about helping you feel great and get the most out of life by functioning at your optimal potential.
Is Chiropractic Safe?
Some people are worried about seeing a chiropractor because they think that chiropractic adjustments might be harmful or dangerous. So let's look at the research literature on this topic to see what the science actually says. When we look at the literature relating to chiropractic care, we can see that it's remarkably safe and it's effective. And it's associated with high levels of patient satisfaction. A number of studies have reported that chiropractic care is at least as effective as if not more effective than traditional medical management for patients with a variety of spine related issues.
Chiropractic care actually has an enviable safety record compared to most other health care interventions. However, virtually all forms of health care are associated with some risk. So let's look closer at this with a sort of manual or hands-on procedures that chiropractors used in everyday practice. It's logical that there is at least some risk that on rare occasions, some people may suffer from an adverse event after seeing their chiropractor.
A number of researchers have reviewed all of the published literature relating to the safety of chiropractic care. According to these reviews, serious adverse events are very rare and most of the time the scientists weren't sure if the chiropractic care actually caused the event or not because serious adverse events are so few following chiropractic care, it's virtually impossible for researchers to accurately estimate how often they actually occur.
So there are only rough estimates for serious adverse events. And these estimates range from one in 20,000 to one in several million chiropractic visits to compare this with other types of medical care. We know for example that as many as one in three adverse events can occur. If someone goes to hospital, what is more common with chiropractic care? Is it some people can feel a bit stiff and sore after they've been adjusted, but this usually goes away by itself. So according to the best systematic reviews of all the scientific literature on this topic, we know that being seriously hurt from seeing your chiropractor is extremely rare. In fact, the statistics tell us that you are about 10 times more likely to be seriously injured driving to and from your chiropractor's office than you are from being seriously injured while seeing your chiropractor.
Despite all of these studies showing how rare adverse events are with chiropractic care. There are still some people who are worried, a chiropractic adjustment could cause a stroke. This has also studied very carefully in two separate studies. Researchers looked at extremely large patient databases from insurance plans in Canada and America, and compared over 2,600 patients who had actually suffered from a stroke involving the arteries in their neck.
And they compared them to people who hadn't had a stroke. They look to see whether the people who have suffered a stroke were more likely to have seen a chiropractor or a medical doctor before suffering from the stroke. What they found was that people who had suffered from one of these strokes were no more likely to have seen a chiropractor than a medical doctor before the stroke occurred.
In some groups, they were actually more likely to have visited a medical doctor than a chiropractor before the stroke. So what does this mean? The study suggests that patients who are suffering from a stroke after seeing a chiropractor are probably going to see the chiropractor because they had neck pain or headaches that had been caused by the early stages of the blood vessel damage that ultimately caused the stroke.
So they were having a stroke in progress before they went to see the chiropractor. It also means that there was no greater risk of suffering from a stroke. If you choose to visit a chiropractor compared to the risks of visiting a medical doctor. So if you or someone you know, is worried about seeing a chiropractor, you can rest assured the chiropractic care is associated with very low risk of causing serious harm.
The risks are so rare that they cannot be accurately estimated. And all of the risk estimates that have been made most suggests that serious adverse events associated with chiropractic care happens, perhaps every several hundred thousand visits like any healthcare intervention, some adverse events do of course occur with chiropractic care. And these adverse events are generally minor and go away by themselves. And don't take away from the high levels of patient satisfaction associated with chiropractic care.
So despite what some people think chiropractic has an enviable safety record, and you can rest assured that if you go see your chiropractor, you're in safe hands.
How often should you see a Chiropractor?
When you first see your chiropractor, you may be among the many people who ask, how often do I need to come? Often the answer you may want to hear is once, but chiropractic care, like most things that are really good for us rarely makes a long-term difference to your health and wellness. After just one visit. One reason for this is that it usually takes years for the problem to develop that motivates someone to first see a chiropractor, and it can take many visits to the chiropractor to correct that problem. One way of looking at it is that it can be like the thousand straw that breaks the camel's back. So a problem can build up day after day. As you sit hunched over your desk or bend and twist as you lift or tense up as you deal with your daily stress. And then one day you bend to tie your shoelaces and all of a sudden something hurts.
You can rest assured that tying your shoelaces. Isn't what caused the problem. It's simply the thousand straw that broke the camel's back. And that's why you're hurting. There will usually be changes to the way the supporting muscles in your spine. Work that build up over time until the muscles can't cope anymore and symptoms appear. So seeing your chiropractor can be a little bit like going to the gym.
It takes time frequency, and follow-up working with you to correct the problem and help your brain and muscles in your spine to communicate or talk with each other again, so that you can regain the stability that you need to function properly and resolve your aches and pains. But how long will this take and how often do you need to be checked by your chiropractor?
Well, everybody is different. So your chiropractor will be guided by their clinical experience and what your goals are when they recommend a care plan for you. A new research study was recently published that suggests that in the early stages of chiropractic care, the more often you get adjusted, the better the results you enjoy. And this can also be better for you in the long-term as well.
In the study that was conducted by scientists in America, they looked at 256 people who had chronic regular headaches and divided them into groups who either received chiropractic care once a week or twice a week or three times a week for up to six weeks, or they received no chiropractic care at all. And instead were given light massages over the same six week period.
Previous studies have shown that people with this kind of headache often respond well to chiropractic care. So the scientists in this study were most interested in how many times per week that it was best for the patients to get chiropractic care. They looked at how many days a week a patient suffered from headaches at the end of the study. And whether any changes in frequency between the groups was still there up to a year later,
what they found was that the patients who were seen by their chiropractor the most regularly, so up to three times a week, had fewer headaches than those who were seen once or twice a week. And they were much better than the patients who received no chiropractic care at all. And in fact, after one year, the patients that had been seen three times a week had more than three fewer headaches per month, compared to patients who only received the light massage. So these effects obviously lasted this study was done in people with chronic headaches.
So we can't be sure if the same differences occur in people with other problems who see a chiropractor, a similar study in patients with chronic low back pain did find that people who are adjusted more often had the best results, but the results weren't as clear as this study done in patients with headaches,what these studies suggest is that seeing a chiropractor more often, when you begin to care has real beneficial long-term effects to the way your spine and nervous system works. But how much you benefit may depend on what's wrong with your spine when you begin care. So when you go and see your chiropractor know that their recommendations for your plan of care is based on what their clinical experience tells them is best for you.
And that the research suggests that more frequent adjustments has the biggest positive impact on your health and wellness.
Does Chiropractic Care help correct Posture?
Posture is often a forgotten aspect of our health, but it's actually really important. People who have bad posture usually end up with neck pain or headaches and people with neck pain often have breathing problems. This can all impact your daily life and functional ability. And the problem does not end here because the way that you breathe also has very important influences on posture and spinal stabilization,but bad posture also affects other health aspects.
For example, a study conducted in the psychology department at the university of Auckland in New Zealand, looked at the effects of upright posture compared to slouch posture on young, healthy people's resilience to cope with a stressful reading task. The study results clearly showed that when these people were held in an upright, good posture, they could cope with a stressful task, much better than if they were held in a slouch position during the same task. In addition to this, the scientists found that good upright posture also resulted in the participants, displaying a feeling of higher self-esteem better mood and lower fear compared to the slumped posture situation. Yes, you heard that correctly. Good.
Upright posture is not only good for healthy breathing, but it can also make you more self confident, feel better and reduce your feelings of fear and help you be more resilient. When dealing with a stressful situation forward head posture is particularly bad. You want your head resting nicely and directly on top of your spine. You don't want to head out in front of your spine. A normal sized head weighs about three kilos or six and a half pounds.
This is about as heavy as a bowling ball. Your spine is designed to hold that up without any problems at all. But if it's hanging forward, then there's a three Keeler weight hanging off your muscles, ligaments and connective tissues. The back of your neck. This is not a good thing for your spine and increases the burden, the strain and the stress that your spine has to cope with.
What is quite concerning is that the number of people who are showing up with forward head posture is increasing dramatically. It is becoming so common that it's been given a name text neck, because many people believe we are seeing so many more young people developing neck pain due to the increased use of smart devices, such as smartphones or tablets studies are showing that developing neck pain is not something that should be considered growing pains.
It is not likely to go away by. We know that kids who developed spinal dysfunction to the point of them having spinal pain in teenage years, they go on to become adults with spinal pain problems, teenagers with spinal dysfunction, to the degree of having pain in multiple regions, become adults with spinal pain problems in multiple regions and so on. So the best thing for your children's sake is to nip it in the bud and fix the problem early so that it does not go on to become a lifelong problem for them.
The health and function of your child's spine can significantly impact their future quality of life. A simple solution for little kids with smart devices is to make sure they lie on their stomach when they're using them. This makes it impossible for them to hang their heads forward. So keep a close eye on your children and teenagers habits. Talk to them about the importance of good posture and a properly functioning spine for their health.
And if you have any concerns, go and see your local family chiropractor.
What can you do about Chronic Pain?
In this animation we look at what chronic pain is, and what you can do about getting rid of it.
Experiencing pain as normal everyone experiences pain now, and then pain is supposed to be a protected experience to make sure you stop doing things that may be dangerous, but chronic pain that is pain that has persisted for more than three months is no longer protective nor informative. Let's look at what chronic pain is and what you can do about getting rid of it. All pain is created by your brain because your brain has decided that you are threatened or in danger and need protecting.
The interesting thing here is that you don't actually have to have any actual tissue damage to feel pain. And if your brain is not aware of tissue damage, you may not feel any pain at all. Even when you've injured yourself, chronic pain is the second most common reason. People see a doctor and miss work more than one-third of people with chronic pain become disabled by their pain.
To some degree, chronic pain can be mild or excruciating. It can be episodic or continuous. It can be merely inconvenient or totally incapacitating. The pain can be from headaches or joint pain can be neck pain, back pain or pain from an injury. Other kinds of chronic pain include tendonitis or sinus pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and pain affecting specific parts of the body,
such as shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees, ankles, or feet. The common thing with all these types of pain is it, the actual feeling of pain is always 100% of the time created in your brain. This does not mean it's not real. It's very real, but understanding that the pain itself is created in your brain has major implications for how you can get rid of it.
And because pain depends so much on what you think and feel about the pain, it's very important. You understand pain properly. Your pain experience depends on why your brain has decided you need to be protected. Why it's creating the feeling of pain for you in the first place. It can therefore be very useful for you to try to figure out why your brain may be creating pain for you.
What was happening at or around the time your pain started? What makes it worse? What makes it better? Why is this so important? Because we know that the brain can be retrained. So you need to use all the tools available to you to retrain your brain out of pain. Some of the keys to retraining your brain are staying active, staying positive,eating well and sleeping well today, let's look at why staying active is so important, your posture and how you move plays an important role in how you feel and how you experience pain. Even as little as a short walk every day can help. If there are movements you cannot do because of your pain, you can still help yourself. By imagining those movements.
We know from neuroscience research that imagining a movement influences the brain in a very similar way to actually doing the movement. This can help to retrain your brain to understand that the movement is not dangerous because imagining doing the movement will not hurt. You can basically trick your brain into giving you back pain-free movement, play with these sorts of things, make movement fun, move in different emotional states. Like when you're happy or grateful, move outside in the sun, in the park with beautiful plants and flowers or moving water. The movement of your spine is also very important. Yoga or simple spinal exercises can be great for this. And chiropractic care may be really important to help you move to the main focus of chiropractic care is to improve the movement and function of your spine.
This is so important because the proper movement of the spine helps the brain to know more accurately. What is going on, not just in the spine, but also elsewhere in the body and chiropractic care has already well known in the research literature to help people who suffer from neck pain, back pain and headaches? This is most likely because chiropractic care helps the brain no more accurately.
What is going on in the spine and body and may help the brain to switch off the feelings of pain when they are no longer needed. So if you suffer from chronic pain, do your best to stay positive, move often, eat well, sleep well, and go see your family chiropractor to help retrain your brain out of pain.
Is it safe for children and babies to be adjusted?
Spending nine months growing in mum's tummy can get really cramped before baby is even born. The pressure they're under in mum's uterus can cause changes in the way their bones move and fuse together and can influence the shape of their skull. And then the strands baby faces during delivery either as they pass through the birth canal or from forceps or other forms of assisted delivery can cause injuries to baby spines and nervous systems that doctors or parents may not be aware of.
Then once baby is born, they may have many tumbles and falls as they learn to sit, stand, crawl, and walk. And as they grow, they take knocks on sports fields and they fall from jungle gyms. When you put all of this together, your baby or child can end up with problems in their spine that chiropractice called fatigable subluxations or chiropractic subluxations.
One study that was published in 2015. Researchers looked at a hundred healthy newborn babies and tested them for a variety of problems with the way their spines and bones of their skull were moving. What the research has found in this study was that just about all the babies, they checked had a problem that may have benefited from care by a manual therapist, such as a chiropractor have a 90% of the babies had a problem with the way their neck was moving and even more had a problem in their lower back.
But as a parent, what can you do about this? One option to consider is to take your baby or child to see a chiropractor so that they can ensure that their spine is in tip top shape. Thousands of parents choose to do this every single day. Recently, the Victorian government in Australia held an inquiry into chiropractic care for babies and children. And they asked parents in Australia to let them know about their experiences when they took their child to a chiropractor.
This is what the inquiry found. Almost 22,000 parents responded to the inquiry and told the Australian government that they had taken their child to see a chiropractor. And 99.7 of these parents reported a positive experience with the chiropractic care of their children. These parents had access chiropractic care for their child for a wide range of conditions and complaints, including maintaining general health and wellbeing.
The most common conditions included postural concerns or colic or neck pain or difficulty with breastfeeding or back pain and headaches. And the overwhelming majority of parents reported that chiropractic care help their child with 98% of these parents indicating that their child improved after seeing the chiropractor. But what about the safety of chiropractic care for kids and babies? A question chiropractors are often asked is whether chiropractic care is safe for children and babies.
This inquiry in Victoria had a very big focus on safety. And what they found was that through their extensive search, they identified very little evidence of patient harm occurring in Australia. In particular, there was no patient complaints or practitioner notifications that arose from a significant harm to a child following spinal manipulation. This is backed up by research studies that have also found that chiropractic care for children and infants is very safe and rarely associated with adverse events.
These studies have found that when an adverse event relating to chiropractic care for children or babies is reported, they tend to be very short periods of muscle soreness after an adjustment that goes away by itself. So the research evidence is clear that when a thorough history and exam is taken and appropriate techniques are chosen, parents can be confident that their child truly is in safe hands with their chiropractor.
So make sure your child's spine is in tip-top shape and give them the best possible start in life by taking them to see your family chiropractor.
Break the Pain Cycle in your Brain
Did you know that pain has been created in your brain to let you know that something is not okay in your body when this happens, it's actually a good thing because it tells you to stop doing some things that are potentially dangerous or harmful, feeling pain in this situation is actually helpful and informative? If we listen to our bodies, these painful experiences are a good thing, but for some people, pain can become a real problem because sometimes pain can persist. Even after an initial injury has healed. When this happens, we call it chronic pain. This is when pain has become nonconformative and non-helpful, and the pain itself has become a problem. When you have chronic pain, your brain has learned to be in pain and you have entered a nasty pain cycle.
The way your brain does. This is very similar to the way your brain learns anything else it's called neural plasticity or brain adaptations. The great thing is that there are lots of ways to break your pain cycle, staying positive or eating well or sleeping well. And staying active can all be great places to start. Even as little as a short walk, every day can help.
If there are movements you cannot do because of your pain, you can still help yourself by just imagining doing those movements. We know from neuroscience research that imagining a movement influences your brain in a very similar way to actually doing the movement. This can help to retrain your brain to understand that these movements are not dangerous because imagining doing the movement will not hurt.
You can basically trick your brain into giving you back pain, free movement, brain scientists who have studied the effects of chiropractic spinal adjustments have discovered that adjustments may also change the way your brain gets into a pain cycle. This may occur because it's well known. Now that chiropractic adjustments have a neuroplastic effect on the brain. Meaning chiropractic adjustments of your spine changes the way your brain adapts and processes, sensory and movement information in particular chiropractic adjustments changes the function in a part of your brain called the prefrontal cortex. And the prefrontal cortex is actually the part of your brain that is very involved in how we end up in this vicious chronic pain cycle to study how chiropractic care may impact on the development of these pain cycles. Scientists studied brain activity and people doing what is called a cold pressor test.
This involves measuring brain function through EEG recordings or electroencephalography, and they recorded this at rest. And then when the participant's hands were immersed in icy cold water, as you might expect, the cold pressor test, isn't very pleasant and can be quite painful. The participants then either received a single session of chiropractic care or a control intervention. And then they did the cold pressor test again, while their brain activity was recorded. What the scientists found was that after the inactive control intervention, the participants' brains activity decreased when they repeated the cold pressor test, but there were no changes in the brain activity during the cold pressor test, after the chiropractic spinal adjustment session. What this means is that the participants showed pain habituation happening after the sham intervention, which is expected and means that they're getting used to the pain.
However, after the adjustment session, by the chiropractors, no habituation occurred. The scientists think that this may mean that chiropractic care plays a role in preventing the brain adaptations that occur as pain becomes chronic. In other words, chiropractic care may reset the way the brain processes pain information so that it does not learn to be in chronic pain. This may be why chiropractic care has been shown in research studies to help people who suffer from neck pain, back pain and certain types of headaches. It could be that chiropractic care helps their brains to adapt better and break the cycle of pain that they're in.
So if you suffer from chronic pain, do your best to stay positive, move often, eat well, sleep well and go see your family chiropractor. Remember it's never too late to break your pain cycle.