chiro4all
Dr Tammy Loots

Chiropractic

Chiropractic is a health care profession concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of nerve, muscle or joint related conditions or imbalances which are causing pain or functional limitations to a patient. Such conditions can range from neck pain, cervicogenic headaches, shoulder pain, arm pain and tingling in the arms or hands, to back pain, leg pain, hip pain and sciatica. 

What Chiropractors do

Chiropractors approach patient care in a manner similar to that used in conventional medicine. They interview the patient, obtain a detailed health history, perform an examination, do tests, and develop a working diagnosis. They then develop a management plan, start treatment, and monitor the patient’s progress. Chiropractors usually treat problems related to the musculoskeletal system.

The manual treatment methods used by chiropractors range from stretching and sustained pressure to specific joint manipulations, which are usually delivered by hand and involve a quick and gentle thrust. The purpose of the manipulations is to improve joint motion and function. Manipulations are most commonly done on the spine, but other parts of the body may also be treated in this way. Other forms of treatment, such as low level laser, dry needling or exercise therapy may be used as well. The goal of chiropractic treatment is to reduce any pain a patient may be experiencing as well as improve the function of the body. 

What is that popping noise?

Your spinal joints contain synovial fluid which is like grease for the joint. The synovial fluid contains dissolved gases. When your spine is adjusted, the spinal joints are gapped or opened, creating a vacuum within the joint. This vacuum pulls the gases out of the synovial fluid and this release of gas is what creates the audible "pop". If there is no "popping" sound, it does not mean the adjustment was not successful, it simply means that there was no sound from the escaping gas.

That sound is not your spine "cracking" or "popping" like most people think. That sound is created by gas (in this case, nitrogen) rushing in to fill the partial vacuum created when the joints are slightly separated. Another example of this phenomenon would be the "pop" sound you hear when the cork is taken out of a champagne bottle. Not all chiropractic adjusting techniques produce this noise. In fact, some adjusting techniques use little force and thus produce no noise at all. 

Is it bad to "crack" your back or neck a lot?

This question is frequently asked because people associate the "cracking" or "popping" of one's back or neck with a chiropractic adjustment. The two are not the same thing. If a person has a desire to "crack" his/her neck or back it is often because one area of their spine is fixated or jammed causing another area to move too much and "pop", sometimes by itself. It's the fixated or jammed area that needs to be properly adjusted by a chiropractor so that the other parts of the spine will not be hyper mobile and noisy. When you "crack" your back you may be relieving the tension for a little while. Do you notice how it keeps coming back? That is because you are not giving yourself a specific chiropractic adjustment. The cause of the spinal tension, the fixated or jammed vertebrae, has not been corrected. Any person who makes a habit out of "cracking" or "popping" their back or neck needs to go to a Doctor of Chiropractic to have their spine checked.