What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a health care profession focused on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system.  These disorders have numerous effects on the overall health and well being of the individual.  Chiropractors utilize a manual therapy of adjusting the joints of the body which have developed a joint dysfunction termed subluxation.

What is a subluxation?

A subluxation is a dysfunction of a joint.  It is characterized by the following 5 symptoms.  Any 1 or more of these symptoms indicate that you may have a subluxation.

1) Reduced movement of a joint which is caused by a misalignment of the bones or ongoing changes such as degeneration.  To you, this feels like stiffness and reduced range of motion or as some like to say “a hitch in your giddy-up”.

2) Nerve problems as a result of the reduced movement of a joint, a pinched nerve from a bony growth, or nerve irritation from inflammation.  To you, this feels like pain!  You could also feel dizzy, clumsy and/or unsteady.

3) Muscles can spasm, become weak and/or tight.

4) As the body attempts to “heal” the wound of a subluxation the area around the joint becomes inflammed, swollen, boggy, hot and/or painful.

5) Eventually, it will cause permanent changes to the bones, ligaments and discs.  Those changes are known as Degenerative Joint Disease, Degenerative Disc Disease, Osteoarthritis, or Bone Spurs to name a few.

How does Dr. Collins find the subluxations?

Dr. Collins will assess your joint looking for any of the 5 symptoms of subluxation.  She will conduct a complete chiropractic exam which assesses your global range of motion, individual joint motion, the quality of your muscle tone (muscle loss, spasming, tightness, strenght), and your neurological function (e.g. balance).  Dr. Collins will also look for the presence of any inflammation, swelling, reness or heat as evidence of a subluxation.  After taking a complete hisotry Dr. Collins may also request that x-rays be taken before care can begin.  The x-rays allow Dr. Collins to see any of the permanent degenerative changes that are also symptoms of subluxation.

How does Dr. Collins remove the subluxations?

Once Dr. Collins has diagnosed that you have a subluxation she will create a care plan to treat/remove your subluxations.  All care plans will have some form of adjusting as the primary method of care.  In addition, Dr. Collins may prescribe exercises and other life-style modifications which are meant to support your overall health and reduce your changes of subluxations in the future.

What does an adjustment feel like?

You will feel the chiropractors hands over the subluxated joint applying pressure which will slowly increase ending in a quick thrust.  Adjustments are associated with a feeling of release, relaxation and pain relief.

What is the “popping” sound that I hear?

When a joint is subluxated, it is not moving properly. All joints require motion for proper nourishment and function. Movement for joints can almost be described as the “breath” of the joint. With every breath that we take air moves in and out of our lungs. In the joint, when motion is restricted that “breath” does not occur properly. The adjustment allows the joint to exhale letting out gas bubbles and making the “popping” sound called a joint cavitation.

How will I feel after a chiropractic adjustment?

Chiropractic adjustments are associated with a feeling of release, relaxation and pain relief. Many people feel a sense of calm and peace immediately following the adjustment. In some instances you may feel sore for up to 24 hours post adjustment. This soreness can be likened to the muscle soreness that you experience after a work out.

Where does chiropractic come from?

Chiropractic was developed in Davenport Iowa in 1895 by a magnetic healer by the name of DD. Palmer. However, the practice of joint manipulation has been known for centuries. In the middle ages there was a guild of bonesetters which served as a means of training, disciplining, adjudicating, and mastering its craft. The bonesetters guild was present at the foundation year of the University of Notre Dame.

If I go to a chiropractor will I have to go for the rest of my life?

No! Getting adjusted doesn’t change your joints in a way that requires more care. Unfortunately, as hard as we try, we are unable to shield ourselves from the activities and accidents that lead to the subluxations in the first place. This means that most patients continue to return to Chiropractors to keep their joints healthy and mobile. Chiropractors are also a source of information on how to lead a healthy life.

Can children and babies be adjusted?

YES! Birth is the first trauma that we ALL experience. In my experience, subluxations are present in many newborns. They are easily corrected with gentle no-force or low force techniques. Many infants have experienced improved sleep, better nursing/eating, a reduction in colic, and/or normalized bowel movements while under chiropractic care. School aged children have experienced improved attention, reduced bed-wetting, and/or a reduction in idopathic scoliotic curvatures while under chiropractic care.

I’m over 65, can I be adjusted?

Many over the age of 65 suffer from osteoporosis and osteopenia which makes your bones weaker and more brittle. Fortunately, Dr. Collins practices low-force techniques which works well with this age group.