If you have ever experienced back or neck discomfort, a visit to the chiropractor should be high on the list of “to dos’. When one or more vertebrae get out of their natural position, they impede the nerves which in turn can cause pressure or discomfort of the spinal cord and nerve roots. This condition is known as subluxation the distortion of the vertebrae and pinching of the nerves.
I started going to a chiropractor many years ago after I started having neck pain. I regularly worked out at a gym and I thought I may have overdone something. I went to the in-house massage therapist to see if she could work the kinks out. During the massage, she mentioned to me that I looked “crooked” and referred me to a chiropractor. I decided to pay him a visit, and see if there was anything he could do for me.
The first visit was to establish my condition. I was allowed to lay on the treatment table with hot packs on my neck and back to warm the muscles up. After that I had an electric stimulation to further relax the muscles. The chiropractor came in and looked at my spine and neck. He also just looked at my posture, my ability to move and my range of motion. He noticed two things. The first, that I have a slight scoliosis and two, one of my collar bones appeared to be misaligned. He asked if I had ever had my shoulder dislocated, which I had not but I had been in a rollover auto accident in high school.
He then stood me up in front of a mirror so I could see the distortion of my collar bone. He explained what he was going to do, how it would feel and what I should expect. After the adjustment, he explained a little more about chiropractic.
The human body’s restorative abilities rely upon a healthy nervous system. Often the spinal joints lock up, limiting range of motion and cause pressure on the spinal nerve. When the spine is correctly aligned, information can flow smoothly through the nerves. This also translates to the immune system. When your body has an immunological response, it receives direction from the brain. If the nervous system is not functioning correctly, it cannot give the immune system the right direction.
As I have gotten older, I have continued to see a chiropractor. Because I have a slight scoliosis and now degenerative disc disease, it is important that I maintain my spine’s alignment. When I first moved out to Texas, I did not have a regular chiropractor. I started having neck and back pains and determined I had better get straightened out. I found my current chiropractor and explained my symptoms. Being I was new to her, she asked to take x-rays of my neck and spine. She was able to see the slight scoliosis but she also noticed the curve of my neck was going the wrong direction.
The chiropractor showed me the x-rays and explained the way our necks are supposed to be flexed. A normal cervical spine will curve inward, called lordosis. Instead, my neck curved in the opposite direction, called kyphosis. Since degenerative disc disease runs in my family the eventual determination was that this is the cause.
The chiropractor had me come in several times a week for several weeks in order to get my vertebrae to “learn” their new position. I was also given several exercises to do to strengthen the muscles to keep my neck in place. She warned me that I may be sore from my body trying to learn this new correct position. But it was well worth a little discomfort in order to prevent further degeneration.
After the series of adjustments, the kyphotic curve was straightened out and a slight lordosis curve was beginning to show. I now see her at least once a month to keep my spine in place. As I have aged however, I now also have a bulging and herniated disc. Seeing my chiropractor on a regular basis helps to keep me pain free. I also still do exercises in my thoracic region to keep the muscles strong to support my neck.
As we age and arthritis begins to creep into our joints, chiropractic can help relieve the discomfort. By making sure your body is aligned, pressure is removed from the joints and the pain is minimized. With a healthy nervous system the flow of information and energy is in balance and you can continue to be active and pain free.
Make sure you find a credible, licensed practitioner who has the patient’s best interest in mind. Ask your friends and acquaintances for references or ask the chiropractor for some of his or her patients’ references.