The technological revolution has created major changes in health care, including chiropractic. Still, many people lack a true understanding of how chiropractic really works, and how it has changed over the years.
You were born and everything had flexibility and function. Everything was working like it was supposed to. All the ranges of motion were complete, and every joint was operating smoothly.
As time goes by, there are traumas and injuries, and wear on the body. Injuries to the spine cause it to lock, or fixate. There may be pain for a while, then the pain goes away but joint is locked and it stays. This joint can be caught “off-guard” if you suddenly bend or twist, allowing that frozen joint to “pop” over in the direction of your bend, and stay…this time on a nerve. This is why a sneeze or bending to pick up something on the floor causes the ACUTE back attack. Another thing happens once there are many years of malfunction at the site of the frozen set of vertebra- the area becomes degenerative. We can see this on film.
When a chiropractor analyzes a patient, we look at several things- the physical structure of the area, the mechanical structure of the area and the nerve function.
First we look at what the structure looks like; that’s when we take the X-ray – to find out what the spine looks like.
Next thing is, we have to assess the range of motion, to find out which vertebra are “stuck”. We have new technologies to do all of those types of checks. We actually do a kind of “sonar” sounding of each joint to find out what joint is moving, and which are “stuck” relative to the one above and below it.
And then we need to find out if any of the joint systems that have gotten locked or frozen or have shifted into a new stuck position which is causing damage to the nerves at those levels. When nerves become hurt, then the body allows the muscles to spasm, in order to try and pull these stuck joints on nerves OFF of the nerve. Spasm is a reaction and over time changes the look of your X-Ray, and the function of the structure.
There are painless ways for a doctor to get diagnostic information through the use of technology. For instance, using the PulStar adjusting and analysis system gives the doctor of chiropractic information about your spine’s motion. The patient is in a standing position, with his or her head placed comfortably in a padded headrest. The patient can look down through a hole in the headrest to a little television screen and see the results of the testing and treatment as it is going on. This method is very gentle and does not involve twisting or jerking and allows the patient to be fully informed and engaged in the treatment as it is occurring.
Another method of treatment that does not involve popping is called Activator treatment. The Activator treatment system is a method of analysis and adjustment that delivers a specific, quick, gentle thrust to problem areas.
It’s easy to get treated and treatment is not mechanical anymore. It isn’t necessary to have your back “popped” or “cracked”. The newer ways of adjusting the spine that high speed and low force and don’t hurt!
Most people use chiropractors incorrectly, they use them for pain relief only and they don’t correct the underlying problem. When the problem persists they think that chiropractic care doesn’t work. But if you follow a well-thought out and documented plan, chiropractic can make major outcome changes. You should be able to see your progress on pre versus post films, fixation analysis and nerve and muscle balance scans.
To summarize: to correct a back, you have to get rid of the fixation, restore the range of motion of the stuck joint back to normal and then that eliminates the nerve interference.
It is important that patients understand what has gone wrong with their back and understand their health care options. Chiropractic in the 21st century has embraced new technology and is very different from what it was years ago!
Dr. Gregory K. Alexander is a 1987 Cum Laude graduate of Western States Chiropractic College. He is trained in PulStar adjusting and analysis and is an Activator Technique Advance Proficiency Doctor. Alexander Chiropractic is located in Spring, Texas, north of Houston.