Chiropractic was invented in 1895 and has since spread across the globe becoming the third largest healthcare profession in the western world. Traditionally, chiropractor’s focus on finding and treating areas of dysfunction within the spine, using manipulative therapy.
The common theory is that these dysfunctional areas can negatively impact aspects of your health.
Signs that a vertebral segment is dysfunctioning include joint pain, decreased range of joint motion, spasming and sore muscles attaching to the vertebrae and altered posture.
If left alone these areas can lead to back pain, headaches, neck pain and can even altered nervous system function.
Recent studies have suggested that treating these dysfunctional areas may improve the way we sense our environment, process information in our brain and control muscles in our arms and legs. Since the nervous system controls nearly every function of the human body, the door is open as to how chiropractic may help the body perform. Many of the world’s top athletes already use chiropractic with the goal to improve their performance and be the best at what they do.
There is great variety within the chiropractic profession due to diverse beliefs. Techniques can range from using light touch, soft tissue manipulation, needles, specialised tables, thrust adjustments, handheld tools, supplementation and even thought analysis. There are over 100 techniques in existence.
At Karori Chiropractic, we base our approach, techniques and advice on the latest scientific knowledge and research. Find out more about us here.
Although chiropractors, researchers and neuroscientists only have theories on what causes of spinal dysfunction, they know the signs to look for. The vertebral segments that are determined to be dysfunctional often have corresponding muscle tightness, tenderness, altered joint movement and are known to affect the nervous system in certain ways. The symptoms of pain and stiffness are commonly associated with these areas of dysfunction. Chiropractors are trained to detect these abnormalities and help correct the dysfunction through techniques involving spinal manipulation.
In most situations it will be painless. If you’ve suffered a recent injury or have inflammation around the affected area, you may feel mild discomfort when adjusted. We try to avoid this outcome as much as possible and will not adjust an area if we believe it will cause too much pain.
Synovial fluid is the lubricating substance between your joints. When the joints are separated it creates a small gas filled cavity within the fluid which can suddenly collapses, causing the cracking sound and allowing the joint to further separate. Studies are yet to discover any detrimental side effects. One doctor even cracked the knuckles of his left hand every day for over 60 years while not performing the same in his right hand. No arthritis or any other ailments formed in either hand.
A New Zealand Government study determined chiropractic is “remarkably safe,” due to chiropractic’s conservative healthcare approach, avoiding drugs and invasive procedures. However, no health treatment option is completely free of adverse effects.
Estimates on the very small risks involved:
1 in 62,000 likelihood of injury to the ligaments or disc in the lumbar spine.
1 in 139,000 likelihood of injury to the ligaments or disc in the cervical spine.
1 in 5,850,000 likelihood of stroke associated with neck adjustments.
Additional statistics to put this in perspective:
1 in 12,000 likelihood of being struck by lightning in the US in one lifetime.
1 in 125,000 likelihood of being killed by lightning in the US in one lifetime.
1 in 3,800,000 likelihood of winning New Zealand’s first division lotto.
In most cases they are not required. Taking x-rays may help the chiropractor determine the cause of your issues and whether chiropractic treatment will be safe. Chiropractors are trained in Radiology and x-ray analysis so if you have previous x-ray films or reports please bring them along, they may be useful.
In New Zealand, chiropractors undertake a minimum of 5 years study to acquire a Bachelor of Chiropractic.
The first year is equivalent to Health Science First Year, the same course that medical doctors, physiotherapists and dentists require. However this recently changed to a Diploma of Applied Science. The remaining 4 years are undertaken at Auckland’s NZ College of Chiropractic.
Students receive a comprehensive education in anatomy, physiology, neuroscience, pathology, radiography and a variety of adjusting techniques, in addition to a two year internship. All chiropractors must keep their knowledge up to date by completing the Continued Professional Development requirements.