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 What is Chiropractic?http://www.chiroweb.us/chiropractic/Images/cervspine.gif

Chiropractic medicine is a form of natural health care that focuses on treating a patient without the use of drugs or medicines.   Doctors of Chiropractic, more commonly known as chiropractors, are primary health care providers licensed in all 50 states, and are recognized by governmental health care programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Workers' Compensation programs and more.   Every year, more than 30 million Americans see chiropractors as part of the regular health care programs and with over 84,000 licensed chiropractors nationwide and more than 10,000 students currently enrolled in chiropractic school, it is the fastest growing health care profession.

A chiropractor is involved in the treatment and prevention of disease, as well as the promotion of public health, and a wellness approach to patient healthcare. The practice and procedures that are employed by chiropractors are based on the academic and clinical training received in and through accredited chiropractic colleges.   Chiropractors frequently treat individuals with problems, such as headaches, joint pain, neck pain, low back pain and sciatica. Chiropractors also treat patients with osteoarthritis, spinal disk conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, sprains, and strains. However, the scope of conditions that chiropractors manage or provide care for is not limited to the common pains and problems listed above. Chiropractors also have the training to treat a variety of conditions such as allergies, asthma, digestive disorders, and other disorders as new research is developed.

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 History of Chiropractic Care http://www.chiroweb.us/chiropractic/images/dd.gif

The roots of chiropractic care can be traced all the way back to the beginning of recorded time. Writings from China and Greece written in 2700 B.C. and 1500 B.C. mention spinal manipulation and the maneuvering of the lower extremities to ease low back pain. Hippocrates, the Greek physician, who lived from 460 to 357 B.C., also published texts detailing the importance of chiropractic care. In one of his writings he declares, "Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases".

In the United States, the practice of spinal manipulation began gaining momentum in the late nineteenth century. In 1895, Daniel David Palmer founded the Chiropractic profession in Davenport, Iowa. Palmer was well read in medical journals of his time and had great knowledge of the developments that were occurring throughout the world regarding anatomy and physiology. In 1897, Daniel David Palmer went on to begin the Palmer School of Chiropractic, which has continued to be one of the most prominent chiropractic colleges in the nation.

Throughout the twentieth century, doctors of chiropractic gained legal recognition in all fifty states. A continuing recognition and respect for the chiropractic profession in the United States has led to growing support for chiropractic care all over the world. The research that has emerged from " around the world" has yielded incredibly influential results, which have changed, shaped and molded perceptions of chiropractic care. The report, Chiropractic in New Zealand published in 1979 strongly supported the efficacy of chiropractic care and elicited medical cooperation in conjunction with chiropractic care. The 1993 Manga study published in Canada investigated the cost effectiveness of chiropractic care. The results of this study concluded that chiropractic care would save hundreds of millions of dollars annually with regard to work disability payments and direct health care costs.

Doctors of chiropractic have become pioneers in the field of non-invasive care promoting science-based approaches to a variety of ailments. A continuing dedication to chiropractic research could lead to even more discoveries in preventing and combating maladies in future years.

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 What is subluxation?Vertebral Subluxation

Subluxation is a term used in the chiropractic field to describe what happens when one of the vertebrae in your spine moves out of position. The word "subluxation" is derived from the Latin words meaning somewhat or slightly (sub) and to dislocate (luxate). When this happens, the misaligned vertebra creates pressure and stress on the spinal nerves, blood vessels, and surrounding muscles. This pressure and stress can cause an imbalance in the body's normal processes as the nerves in the spinal column extend to the entire body and its organs. As time goes on and the uncorrected subluxation settles, the damage to the nerve gets progressively worse different stages of subluxation degeneration set in. Regular visits to a licensed chiropractor can help to reduce the effects of subluxation and may be necessary maintain good health and physical fitness.

What causes subluxation?
There are two types of ways that a subluxation can occur: unique instances or regular actions. A car accident, fall, sudden jar, or trauma are all examples of unique instances that may cause a subluxation. The other occurrence of subluxation comes from regular actions such as improper sleeping position, poor posture, or incorrect lifting processes

How is subluxation corrected?
Chiropractors are specialists in correcting subluxation and other misalignments. A chiropractor can restore the misaligned vertebrae to their proper position in the spinal column. They do this manually by using the chiropractic procedure known as spinal adjustment. Your chiropractor, in most cases, will use his or her hands in applying corrective pressure to the spine in a specific direction and location. The manual force or thrust helps restore the alignment and mobility of the vertebrae. In some cases, the chiropractor may use instruments to detect a subluxation and adjust the spine. Under normal circumstances, chiropractic adjustments are painless. In cases of trauma, such as car accident, some discomfort may be experienced due to inflammation. It is also common to feel a brief sensation in the extremities immediately following an adjustment due to the sudden decompression of the affected nerve root.

Different phases of subluxation degeneration
Phase One Subluxation Degeneration
Phase one subluxation degeneration is seen in subluxations that have been present for up to twenty years. This phase is characterized with a loss or change in the normal curve in the spine. In this phase, the normal forward curve is in the neck can be lost. The spine can even develop a reverse curve in the neck. Although overall motion is probably not affected, chiropractic reconstructive care for a phase one subluxation can take from 6 to 18 months. More than 80% of people with phase one subluxation degeneration have no pain. Therefore, if left uncorrected, phase one continues to progress with time until it eventually reaches the next phase.
Phase Two Subluxation Degeneration
Phase two subluxation degeneration is normally seen in subluxations that have been present between 20 and 40 years. This phase has some of the same characteristics of the previous phase including a loss of normal curvature and position as well as an alteration in small motions. In addition, spines with phase two subluxation degeneration often show a reduction in the patient's range of motion in that area. X-rays of a phase two begin to show calcium changes or buildup at certain levels of the spine. These changes are sometimes called by many names including spurs and arthritis. Disc spaces between the affected vertebrae are noticeably narrower and may appear to be flattening out. Although most people with phase two subluxation degeneration may not exhibit any symptoms, some may start to feel stiff or achy. Chiropractic reconstructive care for patients in phase two ranges from 1.5 years to 2.5 years. Again, if phase two subluxation degeneration is left uncorrected it slowly advances to the next phase.
Phase Three Subluxation Degeneration
Phase three subluxation degeneration is caused by subluxations that have gone untreated for between 40 and 65 years. This phase has all of the attributes of the previous phases, only worse. The curvatures are abnormal, the disc spaces are vastly decreased and changed. Calcium changes on the spine are abundant in this phase. Normally, people in phase three have a restricted range of motion and probably exhibit symptoms of some kind. In phase three the vertebrae show obvious changes and mutations in shape. Chiropractic reconstructive care for patients in phase three ranges from 2.5 years to 3.5 years. This does not mean that at the end of this time that any or all of the calcium changes will be gone. In many instances the body adapts to the presence of the calcium and positive changes can only be measured from a functional standpoint. As before, if phase three subluxation degeneration is left unchecked it slowly advances into the final phase.
Phase Four Subluxation Degeneration
Phase four subluxation degeneration is seen with subluxations that have been raging on uncorrected or altered for over sixty five years. Phase four is a grave condition that will negatively affect the patients longevity and quality of life. The massive amount of neurological damage caused by years of subluxation that have lead to phase four are probably taking a serious toll on this person's health status. X-rays in phase four show serious severe structural changes. Vertebrae exhibit massive calcium changes, disc spaces appear blurred, and the bones themselves appear fused. In this scenario the patient will have a severe restriction of range of motion in addition to probably a number of other health issues. Reconstruction may not be possible in phase four, but care can be directed to some reduction in subluxation with the goal of improvement in the quality of life remaining. Patients in phase four subluxation degeneration have a serious situation both structurally and neurologically, but they are certainly not beyond hope. Many chiropractic patients in phase four report significant improvements in symptoms, conditions, mobility and quality of life.

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 Wellness Tipshttp://www.chiroweb.us/chiropractic/Images/clip_fullspine.jpg

The motions of daily life, if done incorrectly, can result in injury to the spine.  The following tips can help you steer clear of that kind of pain and inconvenience and keep you feeling your best. 

Sitting

  • Choose a chair that is firm enough to support you comfortably, and don't slouch! 
  • Sit with your feet flat on the floor or on a low footstool so that your knees are slightly higher than your hips.  Sit firmly against the back of the chair.
  • La-z-boy chairs don't bend where you do; choose a rocker instead.
  • Avoid crossing your legs at the knees, which can aggravate existing back conditions and interfere with circulation to your lower limbs.

Standing

  • Stand with your head level.  When you have to stand in one place for long periods of time, put one foot on a 4-6-inch stool to help keep pressure off your spine. 
  • Avoid wearing high heels if you are going to be on your feet for long periods of time.

Working at a Desk

  • Take frequent stretch breaks if you have to sit for a long time. 
  • Sit with your knees at a 90-120-degree angle.  An angled footrest may help you feel more comfortable. 
  • Make sure your chair fits correctly.  Allow for two inches between the front edge of the seat and the back of your knees. 
  • Choose a chair that tilts back so you can rest while you're reading what is on your computer screen.
  • Elevate materials or your computer screen to avoid neck fatigue.

Lifting

  • Avoid twisting and turning motions when you lift.  If you have to turn to place the object, step in the direction of the turn, don't just twist at the waist.
  • Always bend at your knees, not your waist, when lifting anything heavier than 10 percent of your body weight (e.g., a child or heavy box).
  • When lifting an object, plant your feet about 12-18 inches apart, kneel or squat in front of the object, and lift as you straighten up.  Be sure to lift with the big muscles of your thighs, arms, and shoulders, not with your back.
  • In some situations, it is difficult to lift correctly.  Getting grocery bags out of the car is one such situation.  The car bumper doesn't allow you to bend your knees.  Bring the bag to you first and then lift carefully. 
  • When engaging in repetitive lifting, use good lifting form, take frequent breaks, and use equipment to help whenever possible. 
  • To avoid tripping, be sure your path is clear before you lift the item.

Physical Activity / Household Chores

  • Warm up and cool down before and after physical activity like playing sports, raking, gardening, and shoveling snow. 
  • When working with hand-held yard equipment, make sure that the machine you are using has a strap.  Place the strap over your head and shoulder on the opposite side of your body from the machine and switch the machine from one side of your body to the other as often as possible.  Use electric rather than gas-powered machines whenever possible; they are much lighter.
  • When washing dishes, open the cabinet beneath the sink, bend one knee, and put your foot on the shelf under the sink. Lean against the counter for support.
  • When ironing, place one foot on a small stool or a book.
  • When vacuuming, put all your weight on one foot, then step forward and back with the other foot as you push the vacuum. Use your back foot as a pivot when you turn.

Using the Telephone

  • When using the telephone, avoid cradling the receiver between your neck and shoulder.  Hold the phone in your hand or use speakerphone instead.
  • If you use the phone a lot, use a lightweight  headset.
  • Switch hands frequently when on the phone.

Resting/Sleeping

  • Don't use a sofa arm as a pillow or watch TV in bed with your head supported only by pillows; this strains your neck.
  • Avoid sleeping on a soft mattress or sofa.
  • Lie down in bed when it is time to sleep.  Don't sleep in a chair or in cramped quarters.
  • Sleep on your side with your knees bent or on your back with a pillow under your knees.  Avoid sleeping on your stomach. 
  • Use a pillow that supports your head so that your neck and vertebrae are level with the rest of your spine as you sleep.  Avoid sleeping on two pillows.
  • Be sure to get plenty of sleep every day to allow your body to rest and recuperate.
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