Questions & Information
- Patient FAQ’s
- Why Should Children Have Chiropractic Care?
- What Chiropractic Can Do for Children
- Parent FAQ’s
- Chiropractic & Pregnancy
- The Webster Technique & Pregnancy
- Other Health Professionals FAQ’s
What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.
Doctors of Chiropractic, also referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians, practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis, and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.
The most common therapeutic procedure performed by doctors of chiropractic is known as “spinal manipulation,” also called “chiropractic adjustment.” The purpose of manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile, or restricted in their movement, as a result of a tissue injury. Tissue injury can be caused by a single traumatic event, such as improper lifting of a heavy object, or through repetitive stresses, such as sitting in an awkward position with poor spinal posture for an extended period of time. In either case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain, and diminished function for the sufferer. Manipulation, or adjustment of the affected joint and tissues, restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, and allowing tissues to heal.
Chiropractic adjustment rarely causes discomfort. However, 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 many cases, such as lower back pain, chiropractic care may be the primary method of treatment. When other medical conditions exist, chiropractic care may complement or support medical treatment by relieving the musculoskeletal aspects associated with the condition.
Doctors of chiropractic may assess patients through clinical examination, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging and other diagnostic interventions to determine when chiropractic treatment is appropriate or when it is not appropriate. Chiropractors will readily refer patients to the appropriate health care provider when chiropractic care is not suitable for the patient’s condition, or the condition warrants co-management in conjunction with other members of the health care team.
Is chiropractic treatment 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.
The risks associated with chiropractic, however, are very small. Many patients feel immediate relief following chiropractic treatment, but some may experience mild soreness or aching, just as they do after some forms of exercise. Current literature shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours.
Neck pain and some types of headaches are treated through precise cervical manipulation. Cervical manipulation, often called a neck adjustment, works to improve joint mobility in the neck, restoring range of motion and reducing muscle spasm, which helps relieve pressure and tension.
Neck manipulation is a remarkably safe procedure. While some reports have associated upper high-velocity neck manipulation with a certain kind of stroke, or vertebral artery dissection, there is not yet a clear understanding of the connection. The occurrence appears to be very rare—1 in 5.85 million manipulations— based on the clinical reports and scientific studies to date. If you are visiting your doctor of chiropractic with upper-neck pain or headache, be very specific about your symptoms. This will help your doctor of chiropractic offer the safest and most effective treatment, even if it involves referral to another health care provider.
It is important for patients to understand the risks associated with some of the most common treatments for musculoskeletal pain, prescription and over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), as these treatments may carry risks significantly greater than those of chiropractic manipulation. According to a study from the American Journal of Gastroenterology, approximately one-third of all hospitalizations and deaths related to gastrointestinal bleeding can be attributed to the use of aspirin or NSAID painkillers like ibuprofen.
What causes the sound made during a chiropractic adjustment?
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.
What type of education and training do chiropractors have?
Like all primary health care providers, doctors of chiropractic undergo extensive education and training before becoming licensed professionals. Students begin by fulfilling undergraduate degree requirements, with a strong emphasis on the core sciences such as chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and physics. The professional program leading to the Doctor of Chiropractic degree is very demanding. Chiropractic students continue their study of the sciences, including pathology and biochemistry, at a highly detailed level. Their education continues into the advanced clinical sciences including orthopedics, neurology, examination procedures, differential diagnosis, and X-ray interpretation. During this entire process, aspiring doctors of chiropractic gain knowledge of the philosophy and practice of health care and chiropractic. Doctors of chiropractic refine their technical adjusting skills in technique classes. During clinical internships, student doctors perfect these skills. Finally, all doctors of chiropractic must pass the rigorous national board exams and state exams before entering the field.
In total, the chiropractic curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience. The course of study is approved by an accrediting agency that is fully recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Jeanne Ohm, D.C.
More and more parents are seeking chiropractic care for their children. Many spinal problems seen in adults began as early as birth. Even so called ‘natural’ birthing methods can stress an infant’s spine and developing nerve system. The resulting irritation to the nerve system caused by spinal and cranial misalignment can be the cause of many newborn health complaints. Colic, breathing problems, nursing difficulties, sleep disturbances, allergic reactions and chronic infections can often be traced to nerve system stress.
Since significant spinal and cranial trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns checked right after birth. As the infant grows, learning to hold up the head, sitting, crawling and initial walking stages are all times in spinal development where injury may occur and therefore spinal alignment can be adversely affected. They are therefore important times to have a child checked by a Doctor of Chiropractic.
As the child begins to participate in regular childhood activities like skating or riding a bike and experiences traumas associated with these activities, small yet significant spinal misalignments (subluxations) may occur. If neglected, the injuries during this period of rapid growth may lead to more serious problems later in life. Subtle trauma throughout childhood will affect the future development of the spine leading to impaired nervous system function. Any interference to the vital nerve system will adversely affect the body’s ability to function at its best.
One of the most common reason parents seek care for their child is trauma from an injury of some sort. These misalignments may or may not result in immediate pain or symptoms. Regular chiropractic checkups can identify potential spinal injury from these traumas, make the correction early in life and help avoid many of the health complaints seen later in adults. Proper spinal hygiene is an important key to better health.
Another sought out reason for care is the resolution of a particular symptom or condition. Parents seek care for conditions such as colic, ear infections, asthma, allergies and headaches (to name a few) because they have heard from other parents that chiropractic care can help.
It is important to understand that the doctor of chiropractic does not treat conditions or diseases. The expertise of the chiropractor is in checking the child’s spine for misalignments that impair nervous system function therefore affecting overall body function. The bones of the spine, the vertebrae, house and protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord is an extension of the brain and carries information from the brain to the body parts and back to the brain again. Subluxations interfere with the nerves’ ability to transmit this vital information.
The nerve system controls and coordinates the function of all the systems in the body: circulatory, respiratory, digestive, hormonal, eliminative and immune system. Any aspect of health may be impaired by nerve interference. The chiropractic adjustment restores nerve system function allowing the body the ability to express a greater state of health and well-being.
The doctor of chiropractic will take a case history and perform a chiropractic exam to determine if spinal subluxations exist. Chiropractic adjusting procedures are modified to fit a child’s size, weight, and unique spinal condition. They are both gentle and specific to the child’s developing spinal structures. Most parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and look forward to subsequent visits. They also report that their children experience a greater level of health while under regular chiropractic care.
It’s All About Function
Why do millions of parents bring their children to Doctors of Chiropractic every year? Is it only for highly dramatic health conditions? Is it only for when my child is hurting? Not at all!!
Chiropractic’s purpose is to remove interferences to the natural healing power running through the body. When that power is unleashed the healing that results may be profound.
Today we find more parents bringing their children to chiropractors for day-to-day health concerns we’re all familiar with: colds, sore throats, ear infections, fevers, colic, asthma, tonsillitis, allergies, bed-wetting, infections, pains, falls, stomach-aches, and the hundred and one little and big things children go through as they grow up.
Chiropractors Do Not Treat Disease
It’s most important to understand that chiropractic is not a treatment for disease. It’s purpose is to reduce nerve system stress, a serious and often painless condition most children (and adults) have in their bodies. Nerve system stress interferes with the proper functioning of the nervous system, can weaken internal organs and organ systems, lower resistance, reduce healing potential and set the stage for sickness and disorders of all kinds.
When a chiropractor frees the nervous system from spinal stress, the healing power of the body is unleashed: the immune system works more efficiently, resistance to disease increases, and your child’s body functions more efficiently. Your child can then respond to internal and external environmental stresses such as germs, changes in temperature, humidity, toxins, pollen and all the other stresses he/she comes in contact with more efficiently.
So although children with diseases are often brought to the chiropractor, the chiropractor is not treating their diseases but is instead reducing nerve system stress, thus permitting their body’s natural healing potential to function at its best.
What Exactly Is Nerve System Stress?
Nerve stress is caused by vertebral subluxations. Subluxations are misalignments or distortions of the spinal column, skull, hips, and related tissues (the structural system) that irritate, stretch, impinge or otherwise interfere with the proper function of the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, spinal nerves and peripheral nerves). Since the nervous system controls all functions of the body, any interference to it can have wide-ranging effects
How Is Nerve System Stress Caused?
Nerve system stress can be caused by physical, chemical and/or emotional stress. Physical stress may start in the womb, with the baby lying in a distorted or twisted manner. Spinal nerve stress in newborns is common today. This may be caused by a traumatic or difficult birth which can introduce great stress to the infant’s skull, spinal column and pelvis. Throughout childhood, the normal childhood traumas every child experiences can be a source of spinal and cranial trauma. Most of the time, the pain from the initial injury “goes away” however the damage incurred continues to affect the future function of the child’s nerve system.
How Does the Chiropractor Correct Nerve System Stress?
This is accomplished first by analyzing the spinal column and related structures for balance and proper function. Where the spinal column is found to be functioning improperly, the Doctor of Chiropractic performs precise corrective procedures called spinal adjustments.
Using his/her hands and/or specialized instruments to gently and specifically correct those abnormal areas, doctors of chiropractic assist the spine and cranium to regain their intended state of balance and the nerve system is freed from stress.
It’s All About Function!
Today’s parents are informed and make their health care choices accordingly. They have become more concerned than ever about the adverse effects drugs have on their children. Parents are hesitant to merely mask symptoms with drugs and are justly worried about their numerous side effects. Parents are increasingly asking, when handed a prescription for a child’s recurrent problem, “Is this really all I can do for my child? Isn’t there a safer option? How can I restore health?”
Today’s parents desire to achieve a state of true health—This is leading them to seek health care options which support their children’s own natural ability to be healthy.
Chiropractic care is one such option. All children function better with 100% nerve function. All children deserve the right to express their fullest potential. Chiropractic care for children is safe, gentle and effective. It enhances the body’s inborn potential for well-being.
Children are as susceptible to trauma in their spines from various activities and events. These micro-traumas can cause small yet significant misalignments (subluxations) of the vertebrae of the spine, placing pressure on their spinal nerves and therefore decreasing their bodies’ ability to function normally. Although symptoms, such as pain and malfunction may not show up for years, injury to their vital nervous system can have a lifetime of damaging effects.
Children should be checked right after birth because of the potential damaging effects of the birth process. Even the most natural births are somewhat traumatic to the infant and may have “hidden damage”. Studies show that many children who experience symptoms of colic, ear-infections and asthma have spinal subluxations impairing their nervous system function. Early detection and correction can prevent layers of damage from occurring in the child’s vital nervous system. Accumulated damage will have lifelong consequences.
Does it Hurt?
Chiropractors specializing in children use very specific, gentle techniques to care for children. On the very young, the adjustment is as light as a finger touch. Dr. Natalie Muth has taken post-graduate classes on specific techniques for pregnant mothers, infants and children to enhance their skills in this field.
Plains Chiropractic & Acupuncture welcomes individuals with questions to contact us to meet, find out about chiropractic for their families, and discuss their individual needs.
Jeanne Ohm, D.C.
How can chiropractic add comfort?
Chiropractic care in pregnancy is an essential ingredient to your prenatal care choices. A large percent of all pregnant women experience back discomfort/ pain during pregnancy. This is due to the rapid growth of the baby and interference to your body’s normal structural adaptations to that growth.
Preexisting unnoticed imbalances in your spine and pelvis become overtaxed during these times. The added stresses lead to discomfort and difficulty while performing routine, daily activities. Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy can relieve and even prevent the common discomforts experienced in pregnancy. Specific adjustments eliminate these stresses in your spine, restore balance to your pelvis and result in greater comfort and lifestyle improvements.
Comfort for your baby, too.
As your baby develops, your uterus enlarges to accommodate the rapid growth. So long as the pelvis is in a balanced state, the ligaments connected to the uterus maintain an equalized, supportive suspension for the uterus. If your pelvis is out of balance in any way, these ligaments become torqued and twisted, causing a condition known as constraint to your uterus. This constraint limits the space of the developing baby. Any compromised position for the baby throughout pregnancy will affect his or her optimal development. Conditions such as torticollis occur because a baby’s space was cramped in utero.
If the woman’s uterus is constrained as birth approaches, the baby is prevented from getting into the best possible position for birth. Even if the baby is in the desirable head down position, oftentimes constraint to the uterus affects the baby’s head from moving into the ideal presentation for delivery. The head may be slightly tilted off to one side or even more traumatically, present in the posterior position. Any baby position even slightly off during birth will slow down labor, and add pain to both the mother and baby. Many women have been told that their babies were too big, or labor “just slowed down” when it was really the baby’s presentation interfering with the normal process and progression. Avoidable interventions are implemented turning a natural process into an operative one.
Doctors of Chiropractic work specifically with your pelvis throughout pregnancy restoring a state of balance and creating an environment for an easier, safer delivery.
Preparing for a Safer Birth
Dystocia is defined as difficult labor and is something every woman wants to avoid. In addition to the pain and exhaustion caused by long, difficult labors, dystocia leads to multiple, medical interventions which may be physically and emotionally traumatic to both you and your baby. Some of these interventions are the administering of pitocin, the use of epidurals, painful episiotomies, forceful pulling on the baby’s fragile spine, vacuum extraction, forceps and perhaps even c-sections. Each of these procedures carry a high risk of injury to you, your baby or both! However, all of these procedures used to hasten the delivery process can be avoided if delivery goes more smoothly to begin with.
When reviewing the obstetric texts, the reported reasons for dystocia are caused by pelvic imbalance and its resulting effects on your uterus and your baby’s position. Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy restores balance to your pelvic muscles and ligaments and therefore leads to safer and easier deliveries for you and your baby. Additionally, the chiropractic adjustment removes interference to the nervous system allowing your uterus to function at its maximum potential. Published studies have indicated that chiropractic care does in fact reduce labor time.
You and your baby’s continued safety and comfort is primary in our care. This pregnancy, offer yourself the best! Include the many benefits chiropractic offers in your prenatal care choices. Call for your individual consultation. Give you and your baby the opportunity for a more comfortable pregnancy and a safer, easier birth!
Jeanne Ohm, D.C.
Chiropractic care benefits all aspects of your body’s ability to be healthy. This is accomplished by working with the nervous system–the communication system between your brain and body. Doctors of Chiropractic work to correct spinal, pelvic and cranial misalignments (subluxations). When misaligned, these structures create an imbalance in surrounding muscles and ligaments. Additionally, the resulting nerve system stress may affect the body’s ability to function optimally.
Sacral misalignment causes the tightening and torsion of specific pelvic muscles and ligaments. It is these tense muscles and ligaments and their constraining effect on the uterus which prevents the baby from comfortably assuming the best possible position for birth. The Webster Technique is defined as a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment that reduces interference to the nerve system and facilitates biomechanical balance in pelvic structures, muscles and ligaments. This has been shown to reduce the effects of intrauterine constraint, allowing the baby to get into the best possible position for birth.
Dr. Larry Webster D.C., Founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association discovered this technique as a safe means to restore proper pelvic balance and function for pregnant mothers. In expectant mothers presenting breech, there has been a high reported success rate of the baby turning to the normal vertex position. This technique has been successfully used in women whose babies present transverse and posterior as well. It has also successfully used with twins. Any position of the baby other than ROA may indicate the presence of sacral subluxation and therefore intrauterine constraint. At no time should this technique be interpreted as an obstetric, “breech turning” technique.
It is recommended that this specific analysis and adjustment of the sacrum be used throughout pregnancy, to detect imbalance and optimize pelvic biomechanics in preparation for safer, easier births. Because of the effect the chiropractic adjustment has on all body functions by reducing nerve system stress, pregnant mothers should have their spines checked regularly throughout pregnancy, optimizing health benefits for both the mother and baby.
Numerous interviews conducted by the New England Spine Institute with medical practitioners have identified reasons why there is such separation between chiropractors and medical professionals. The most common reasons to be:
- There is a great variation among chiropractors and no way to predict what treatments will be provided to medical practitioners’ patients.
- Most medical practitioners are unfamiliar with the scope of chiropractic practice.
- Most medical practitioners have never spoken with a chiropractor.
Plains Chiropractic & Acupuncture PC is committed to building integrated relationship with area medical practitioners. Dr. Muth meets often with these professionals to educate them on what we do and how we ARE a service to their patients. Our goal is to build this bridge so that patient care is heightened and health care costs are diminished. We accomplish this with:
- One-on-one discussions
- Educational lectures
- Patient referrals
If you are a medical practitioner, please visit the Contact Us page and send us your questions/comments or set up a time to meet.
FAQ’s of Medical Practitioners
- Which patients should I consider for referral to Plains Chiropractic & Acupuncture?
- Outcomes for chiropractic treatment are optimal for mechanical/myofascial cervical, thoracic and lumbosacral spinal pain.
- Patients with disc herniations commonly respond favorably to chiropractic management. Our clinic uses a combination of traction (axial, flexion-distraction), extension therapy, and spinal stability rehabilitation, and posture correction aimed to unload discal stress.
- Patients with repetitive strain conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome and thoracic outlet respond extremely well to our treatment protocols and have positive outcomes.
- With so many variations of chiropractors, how does a medical practitioner identify a qualified chiropractor?
The Journal of Family Practice published the following guidelines to consider when selecting a chiropractor:
- Willing to be clinically observed
- We welcome observation and discussion
- Does not radiograph every patient
- We radiograph only after a complete exam and with clinical indications to radiograph
- Treats mainly musculoskeletal disorders
- We specialize in these disorders.
- Solicits positive feedback from patients
- We give our patients satisfaction surveys so that we can improve every day.
- Communicates with the referring physician
- We can send narrative reports, exam findings, treatment plans and progress reports to every physician.
- Administers reasonable treatment programs
- Our goal is to have the patient at maximum medical improvement (MMI) as quickly as possible.
- DOES NOT CHARGE an upfront, global fee for the entire treatment plan
- Willing to be clinically observed
- How many Plains Chiropractic & Acupuncture treatments are necessary for patients to improve?
- The acute, uncomplicated spinal pain patients usually have significant relief in two-four weeks, plus they have added function and stability preventing future problems. The chronic or complicated acute patients typically require four-six weeks of treatment to gain a systemwide response of healing and relief. Again, in these patients scar tissue, dysfunctional movement patterns and muscle imbalances must be addressed AND corrected.
- Patients with some chronic and/or permanent conditions will be treated under a different model. Once the patients have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), we typically will provide chiropractic care and rehabilitation therapy on a maintenance basis to maintain their health and functional improvement. We promote patient independence.
- Is chiropractic manipulation a safe treatment for patients?
We use the correct manipulative procedures for the various types of patients. When this occurs, manipulation is EXTREMELY safe. We do assess contraindications our patients may have prior to treatment.
- Patients may experience soreness in the area of the manipulation. This is a welcomed response and is expected to last no longer than 12-24 hours.
- The most concerning potential complication is Vertebral Artery Dissection (VAD). Currently this is estimated to have an incidence of 1:3,000,000 to 1:10,000,000; however, the studies include manipulation performed by untrained practitioners, athletic coaches and tribal medicine men.
- History of spinal surgery, osteoporosis, arthropathies, disc herniations without significant neurological deficits, scoliosis, degenerative changes and joint instabilities ARE NOT absolute contraindications;however, they do require that treatments be altered to be as safe as possible.o Absolute contraindications are severe/progressive neurological deficits, infections, malignancies, acute fractures/dislocations and acute arthropathies.