What is chiropractic care and what does a chiropractor do?
A chiropractor is a doctor who primarily focuses on the movement patterns of the spine. The human spine is made up of 24 moveable bones, called vertebrae. These connect to each other via a system of over 150 joints, and are held together by muscles and ligaments. The spine serves two purposes: 1) it supports the weight of your body, allowing a great variety of movement patterns, and 2) it encloses/protects the spinal cord, which connects your brain to the rest of your body.
These joints can become dysfunctional, or subluxated. A spinal joint that is not working properly will require other joints to compensate, leading to altered motion pattern of the spine. If left alone, these altered motion patterns often lead to spinal-based pain syndromes (back pain, neck pain, tension headaches, etc). Prolonged abnormal spinal alignment and motion patterns can lead to permanent changes in the spinal structure, known as degenerative arthritis. There is also some evidence that dysfunction in spinal segments can cause problems throughout the body that don’t even seem related to the spine.
A chiropractor locates dysfunctional spinal segments and restores normal alignment and motion to these joints via a series of adjustments performed over a period of several days to several weeks (based on the severity of the patient’s case).