Chiropractic focuses on the relationship between STRUCTURE (primarily the spine, although fixations in the extremities are often involved) and its FUNCTION (as coordinated by the nervous system). As specialists in Sports Chiropractic, our doctors utilize specific assessment/treatment techniques to detect and correct dysfunctional spinal and extremity joints that are not moving properly. Restoring joint motion alleviates pain, improves function and supports the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
A lesson in joint anatomy and physiology
All the joints of the body have many of the same characteristics. They are bound by ligaments and soft tissue, moved by muscles, and separated by cartilage. Most important are the nerves that monitor and control the position and motion of each joint.
Joints have three options: they can move freely, they can move too much (hypermobile) or they can move too little (hypomobile/fixated). When a joint moves too little, the adjacent joints often compensate by moving more than they should (compensatory hypermobility). When left untreated, the body usually splints the surrounding soft tissues in efforts to protect/stabilize the hypermobility. This leads to a larger area of hypomobility consisting of the original fixation and a larger adaptive fixation.
Usually, joints move freely. Either they move voluntarily due to deliberate muscle control, or involuntarily, without our control. Under unrestricted conditions, the nerves in and around the joints sense motion and relay important information to the spinal cord and brain.
How the body protects itself
If motion is altered or reduced, nerves can relay inaccurate or insufficient information about a joint’s motion. When this happens, as is often the case in sudden injury or overuse of the spine, pain occurs. This is called joint dysfunction.
As the pain increases, the nerves create reflexes that cause the muscles in the area surrounding the joint to tighten, or spasm. This “guarding reflex” helps reduce movement in the area.
Properly performed manipulation
Manipulation should be performed with only as little force as is required. Unlike martial arts, manipulation does not involve sudden twisting of the neck or any other joint. It is a subtle, gentle and controlled procedure that can be performed on nearly every injured joint in the body.
Motion blocks pain signals
In order to function properly, joints must move freely. Motion produced by the joints actually serves to “block” continued pain signals (much like when you rub your knee after bumping it into the corner of a coffee table, the stimulus of rubbing the injured area temporary blocks the pain).
Why Chiropractic Adjustments/Manipulation works
Chiropractic Adjustments restore joint movement by allowing proper slide/glide to occur in dysfunctional motion segments. This normalizes range of motion, decreases pain and reduces muscle/fascial tension.
Chiropractic Techniques commonly used
Since patients are not all the same, the Chiropractic technique used should never be the same. The techniques used for each patient vary depending on the musculoskeletal needs and comfort level of that individual. Here is a list of Chiropractic techniques that our doctors commonly use in their practice:
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