As a new practice in Highlands Ranch, New Heights Chiropractic and Rehabilitation is constantly searching for ways to make its presence known throughout the community.  In doing so, we stumbled across an interesting find.  When using the internet to learn about services or basic information pertaining to chiropractic, the main topic searched was NOT where to find one or what chiropractors offered their patients, but simply “what is a chiropractor?” This particular blog is dedicated to answering that question, as well as the subsequent questions it begs, in order to provide curious individuals a clear and simple picture of what a chiropractic physician is and how they can help them with a multitude of ailments.

  • What is a chiropractor?

Chiropractors are highly trained health care professionals that have received a thorough education similar to a medical doctor in terms of curriculum and class hours. This curriculum provides future doctors of chiropractic with a comprehensive base in human biology and anatomy and extensive hands-on training in diagnosis and treatment.  As a result, licensed chiropractors are often considered specialists in dealing with disorders involving the muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, joint pain, and headaches.

  • Okay, I get what they are, but what do they do?

“Chiro” comes from the Latin word meaning “hand.” Chiropractors use their hands to palpate and find problematic areas throughout the spine or surrounding tissues (lack of movement, muscle tightness, etc.) and then correct those problems by inducing motion to the restricted areas or alleviating muscle spasm via what is called a “chiropractic adjustment/manipulation.” In essence, chiropractors serve to put your body in the best position to heal itself.  This can be done in numerous ways, which is why it is common to find what one chiropractic office offers may be very different from another.

  • What exactly is a chiropractic adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is a highly specific maneuver that is applied to joints in the body with restricted movement in order to restore their proper motion and normal function.  Chiropractors determine these areas of restriction within the spine or extremities that are often the cause of pain during a thorough examination.  Depending on the area, adjustments can often times result in “cavitations,” which is the popping noise that occurs after reducing the pressure within a joint capsule, allowing the gases within them to be released.  Once an adjustment has been performed, the effects are often times immediate. Decreased pain, increased flexibility, normalized muscle tone, and improved functioning of the nervous system are just a few of the benefits of the chiropractic adjustment.

  • This sounds great and all, but is it safe?

Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal complaints.  Although chiropractic has an excellent safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects.  Patients may sometimes experience mild soreness or aching following treatment (as with some forms of exercise) that usually resolves within 12 to 48 hours.  In more extreme, rare cases, some reports have associated upper high-velocity neck manipulation with a certain type of stroke, but recent evidence has shown that this type of injury is usually spontaneous and can be caused by everyday activities such as turning your head while driving or even swimming.  To put this risk in perspective, the ACA writes that “if you drive more than a mile to get to your chiropractic appointment, you are at greater risk of serious injury from a car accident than from your chiropractic visit.”

Let this blog merely serve as a brief summarization in an attempt to answer some of the many questions individuals have about chiropractors and assist in portraying the numerous benefits of conservative care.  We are only scratching the surface with this information, however feel free to ask your doctor of chiropractic about any questions or concerns you have regarding your care.  Often a cost-effective alternative to prescription medications and invasive surgery, a visit to a chiropractor can be an eye-opening experience and could help propel your health to new heights.

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