WHAT DOES A CHIROPRACTOR DO?
A chiropractor detects and corrects misalignments of the spine. Chiropractors call these misalignments vertebral “subluxations”. A subluxation is a vertebra that is out of proper alignment and is affecting nerves and soft tissues. These misalignments can cause pain and problems in the areas surrounding these joints as well as any of the areas the affected nerves control.
HOW DOES A CHIROPRACTOR FIND A MISALIGNMENT (SUBLUXATION)?
A chiropractor may use several methods to help find a misaligned (subluxated) vertebra. He will be evaluating joint motion, posture, muscle spasms, muscle strength, muscle weakness, as well as inflammation of the soft tissues surrounding the joint.
The chiropractor may use X-ray’s, MRI’s, heat reading instruments, range of motion tests, muscle strength tests, but most importantly he will be using his hands to gently feel the joints and the tissues surrounding the joints (palpation). In most cases when these misaligned joints are found the patients themselves can feel the difference between healthy joints and unhealthy (misaligned or subluxated) joints.
WHAT IS AN ADJUSTMENT?
The chiropractic adjustment is the repositioning of a misaligned vertebra (subluxation). Dr. Verloop, D.C. has studied several different techniques for delivering these adjustments, they are called: Gonstead, Diversified, Drop-table and Activator techniques. The Gonstead technique is a traditional technique using the doctor’s hands to specifically push the joints back into their proper position. In most cases there is a “popping” sound which accompanies this type of adjustment.
The Diversified technique is a conglomeration of many different methods of adjusting and is sometimes called Palmer technique by Palmer Chiropractic College Graduates. The Drop table technique utilizes a section of table that drops ¾ of an inch, which can be adjusted to allow the doctor to precisely control the force of the adjustment. Drop table adjustments don’t result in a “popping” sound which is heard in more traditional techniques. The Drop table technique is excellent for patients that have had hip replacements, lumbar spine surgeries, or are in the late stages of pregnancy.
The last technique our office has to offer utilizes a small hand-held instrument called an Activator. It delivers a very light, but precise “thrust” anywhere from 1 to 5mm. This instrument technique is used quite often on patients that are very fragile, timid or just not comfortable with the previously mentioned techniques.
IS CHIROPRACTIC DANGEROUS?
Chiropractic is one of the safest forms of health care available. Although some may hold opinions to the contrary, these “opinions“ are not supported by facts. You are much more likely to experience a severe reaction to aspirin or ibuprofen than you would to a chiropractic adjustment.
ONCE I GET ADJUSTED WILL I HAVE TO KEEP GETTING ADJUSTED FOREVER?
Ninety percent of our patients are released from care after their initial treatment plan. Excluding car accident patients, or other severe injuries, most of our treatment plans range from 3 -12 visits, and this depends on the goals of the patient. After a patient has been released from care they may choose to see us on an “as needed basis” or to follow a preventive plan of care where they are adjusted every two weeks to every few months depending on their individual needs.
WHAT IS THE “POPPING” SOUND HEARD DURING AN ADJUSTMENT?
The “popping” sound is the temporary shifting of some of the joint fluid to a gaseous form. It is completely harmless and this change in joint fluid even happens through normal spinal activity, especially when stretching.
Twenty minutes or so after the “popping” the joint pressure then compresses the gases back into solution. Every articulating joint in the body is surrounded by tissue that seals a small amount of joint fluid in between the two cartilaginous surfaces. When the space between the joints increases, the vacuum that is created then causes some of this fluid to shift to a gaseous state and at the same time creates a popping noise.
This event is similar to when you open a bottle of soda. While the cap is on, the soda is under pressure and there are no bubbles (gas) visible. As the cap is removed there is a sudden vacuum created and you can see bubbles (gas) as well as a hear a sound that accompanies this event.
CAN I GET ADJUSTED TOO MUCH?
The goal is to restore as normal function to the joint as possible. Once a joint is functioning normally there is no reason to continue adjusting it. If you have a good chiropractor, this should never be a problem. It is very important that the chiropractor be able to discern between a joint that is moving too much and one that is moving too little. Repeated adjusting of a joint that is already moving too much could contribute to making the joint more unstable.
SHOULD I USE ICE OR SHOULD I USE HEAT ON MY PAINFUL AREA?
With a new problem you should always use ice. If you are not sure use ice. In a new injury, inflammation is what is usually causing the pain. Inflammation is the start of the healing process. Unfortunately, in many cases the body is pushing so much fluid into the injured area to heal it that waste products can’t leave the injured area.
This situation creates a grid lock where healing products can’t get in and waste products can’t get out. Ice constricts the blood vessels, temporarily reduces inflammation and breaks the grid lock allowing nutrients to move into the injured area and waste products to move out. Ice should only be used for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the area is ice cold (don‘t exceed 20 minutes, too much icing can increase inflammation and damage tissues). It is important to let the area then go back to normal temperature which could be 40 minutes to an hour.
Some cloth should be placed between the ice and the skin to prevent ice burn. If, the ice isn’t helping with the problem, you should seek help from a health care provider to make sure the problem doesn’t require more serious intervention. Heat is used for a chronic problem where there is poor circulation. In this situation the heat is used to increase fluid and nutrients in the area of a problem.
Occasionally, patients are recommended to alternate heat and ice on an injury, I tend not to recommend this as I have found that most people eventually forget to ice and only use the heat. If, you are going to be using ice or heat, I recommend a gel pack. We sell them at our office, they are inexpensive, last for years and you can use them for icing or heating an area.
If, you fall asleep with a gel pack on, it loses its temperature after about 20 minutes and can keep you from over treating the affected area. If, you are not sure which to use, or if the pain is not subsiding after icing, stop by our office for a free consult, and I’d be glad to point you in the right direction.
IS IT OK IF I ADJUST MYSELF?
Rattling your spine around is not an adjustment. When a person contorts themselves into a position that causes a joint to pop, what moves are the joints that are already easily movable. The stuck ones that are misaligned are the last to move. That is why with a Chiropractic adjustment pressure must be placed specifically on the stuck, or misaligned joints to ensure they are the ones addressed.
Most people that self “adjust” themselves may get temporary relief for 20 to 30 minutes and then find they have to do it all day long. If, they were truly correcting the problem, they would see lasting improvement.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST TO SEE A CHIROPRACTOR?
Most major insurances and Medicare cover chiropractic care. If you stop by our office with your insurance information my staff can check on your coverage and tell you exactly what to expect before your first visit. If you do not have insurance that covers chiropractic care, then my staff can also discuss our fee schedule with you. We have one of the most competitive fee schedules in Surprise.
WHICH CHIROPRACTIC COLLEGE DID DR. VERLOOP ATTEND?
Dr. Verloop, D.C. acquired his bachelor’s degree at Florida State University and his Chiropractic degree at Life Chiropractic College-West (LCCW). LCCW is known for it’s emphasis on techniques. They offer the largest number of Chiropractic techniques taught separately, in their entirety, than any other Chiropractic college.