A big part of the pie getting into better shape, and staying in shape, along with fitness and diet is taking care of your body and your health. As you get older that can become more and more important, as tweaks and twinges can more easily blow up into nagging chronic injuries.
There are a lot of different ways you can help keep your body in optimal form. One of these methods that has it’s share of both champions and detractors is Chiropractic care. The origins of chiropractic care go all the way back to 1895, and was created by DD Palmer, who at the time was a Magnetic Healer, who came to believe that manual manipulation of the spine could be used to cure disease.
Chiropractic has come a long way since then. A long, long way. In the early days, practitioners believed that all diseases could be caused by a sort of religious life force that runs up and down in the spine being interrupted.
Obviously, the only similarities between these early chiropractors and modern ones are the focus on the spine, and as medical science has advanced, and more has been understood about the different systems in the body, the science behind chiropractic has gotten far more specific and very specialized.
What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic literally means ‘done by hand’. Chiropractors are experts of the human neuro-musculoskeletal system (so bones, joints, nerves, and muscles in the body). Chiropractic emphasizes spinal health and alignment, as misalignments/dysfunction of the vertebrae can cause irritation/interference of the nervous system. Since the nervous system controls every organ, system, and cell in your body, vertebral misalignment/dysfunction can cause a whole host of problems (one of which is pain).
What do you see as the main benefit to chiropractic?
Improving health! Many patients come in for chiropractic care simply with a main goal of achieving pain relief (often back pain). However, with ongoing care, the body (especially nervous system) starts functioning more properly which often also results in things like: better sleep, improved mobility, increased ability & motivation to exercise, improved posture, more energy, etc.
For example, if your pelvis is out of alignment (causing 1 side to be higher than the other), then the musculature of the upper back on the opposite will contract to compensate for that imbalance (to keep the rest of your body upright). You could foam roll your upper back all you want, but as long as your pelvis is misaligned, those mid-back muscles will stay tight.
A lot of people think of Chiropractic as just “cracking” adjustments, what are some other aspects you employ?
Chiropractic historically just involved aligning/adjusting the spine (aka “cracking your back”). Although at its roots it is still that, many chiropractors have added additional services and techniques to add to that. I am also certified as an acupuncture provider, which I regularly integrate in my treatments in order to release tight musculature or stimulate specific nerves. I also usually incorporate some light stretching/muscle release techniques in my treatments to relax and ‘warm-up’ the body before adjustments. When patients are interested in learning more about home care (like exercise advice or ergonomic set-ups), I love giving tips and tricks for that as well.
How does your association with Yoga inform the way that you run your chiropractic practice?
Chiropractic care is certainly a piece of the puzzle to overall health, but exercise/movement is necessary as well. Chiropractic is needed for proper spinal alignment and nervous system functioning, whereas yoga can be very helpful in stretching + strengthening muscles, as well as stress release. I love being able to offer both at my studio.
If your body is aligned, you will also be more effective in doing your exercise.
What do you want people who have never had a treatment to know about chiropractic?
There are a lot of us (chiropractors), and we can have very different personalities, as well as treatment styles. Keeping that in mind, do some research before choosing a chiropractor, maybe schedule a meet & greet to make sure your personalities match, talk about your goals and what you are looking for, visit the clinic to make sure you feel comfortable there…. take the time to find the right practitioner for you and communicate with them!
How can chiropractic help someone who isn’t feeling back pain?
When there is no interference in the nervous system through spinal misalignments, you can find many other benefits besides pain relief.
For example, when the nerves supplying the digestive system are irritated because of a spinal misalignment at that segment (in your mid-back), you may have digestive issues. When that vertebrae is put back into alignment, the nerve travelling to the digestive system can properly do its job, resulting in improved overall digestion.
Your overall health obviously effects every aspect of your life and can have an incredible effect on your ability to get fit. Whether it is through back pain, digestion problems or anything else, if you are in pain or uncomfortable getting a good work out in isn’t likely, so taking the time to take care of every little aspect of your health is a good idea.