Frequently Asked Questions

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is not an alternative to medicine, nor is it complementary to medicine. It is a separate and distinct science, art, and philosophy of health and healing. Chiropractic is the largest natural healing art in the world. It is based on the premise that God mightily created the body to be a self-healing organism and the nervous system is the master control system of the body.

Minor displacements of the spinal bones, known as vertebral subluxations, can cause endangering stress to the spinal cord, which acts as the main line of intelligence for the whole body. These displacements, or subluxations, are the cause of many of the unwanted health conditions that people suffer from every day.

What is the vertebral subluxation complex?

The vertebral subluxation complex (VSC) is the condition in which a vertebra (bone in your spinal column) has lost its proper alignment in respect to the one above or the one below, or both. The result is the impingement of a nerve, which interferes with the transmission of information coming from the brain traveling to the muscles, organs, and tissues in the body. The detection, treatment, and prevention of VSC makes chiropractic unique in the health care sciences.

Does everyone get subluxations?

Yes. Subluxations result from various stresses, including (but not limited to): the birth process, sitting for extended periods of time, lifting and / or carrying heavy objects, shoveling snow, repetitive on-the-job motions, abnormal sleeping positions, slips, falls, sports injuries, car accidents, etc.

Is pain always associated with improper spinal function?

No. Your body is very adaptive and pain is seldom associated with the early occurrence of the Vertebral Subluxation Complex (VSC). When pain is present, many times it will diminish or disappear even if corrective action isn't taken - emerging months or years later as a far worse condition. (Have you ever heard someone say that all they did was bend over or sneeze and their back went out? This is what happens if you ignore the problem when it first occurs.) Also, only 10% of your nerve fibers sense pain, so pain is a very poor indicator of improper function in the body.What is an "adjustment"?

What is an "adjustment"

An adjustment is the action of the chiropractor, using his or her hands to deliver a light force on three different vectors to a vertebra that is subluxated, thereby putting it back into alignment and relieving nerve interference, causing the body to once again function properly.

Do adjustments hurt?

The actual adjustment should not hurt. In fact, most people say that the adjustment feels very good (the adjustment causes endorphins, the body's "feel-good" chemicals, to be released and it feels good to have mechanical pressure off a nerve). However, after the first adjustment, some people do experience a little discomfort; others do not notice any change after just one adjustment, and some people feel immediate relief. Each person's body responds differently. Those who feel slight discomfort will be instructed on home care, such as using ice, and will find that the discomfort soon subsides and they will be delighted with the results. Often, the discomfort is due to the fact that the body is making changes and means that he or she will be a great chiropractic patient because his or her body easily responds to adjustments.

What is that "cracking" or "popping" sound you hear when you get adjusted?

There is fluid between each of the joints in your spine. When you hear that sound (which is called a "cavitation"), it is simply gas being released from that fluid - it is not the bone cracking!.It is just like the sound you hear when you pop the cork off a bottle of champagne or open a can of soda - that sound is also gas being released from within the fluid. Not all adjustments create this sound, so the effectiveness of an adjustment should not be judged by the presence or loudness of the sound.

Why is that sound louder when you get your neck adjusted than when you get your back adjusted?

The sound seems louder when you get your neck adjusted simply because your neck is closer to your ears!

Are all patients adjusted the same way?

No. The chiropractor evaluates each person's spine and develops an individual course of treatment based on years of training and experience. Your treatment is delivered with practiced precision and may seem the same from visit to visit, however, it is unique from the treatment other patients receive.

What happens if I have a subluxation and I choose not to have it adjusted by a chiropractor?

The result of a subluxation is a state of dis-ease in the body - both a loss of function in wherever the affected nerve leads to (a particular muscle, organ, tissue, etc. in the body), and spinal decay in the affected joint itself, which results in osteoarthritis if left undetected and / or uncorrected.

Why do patients usually begin care with a back-related problem and later discover other health problems improve too?

Chiropractors work with the nervous system, which controls the function of virtually every cell, tissue, and therefore every organ and organ system in the body. Improving the nerve function improves the function of other body parts too.

How long does it take to start feeling better?

Children respond very quickly. Adults take longer because most spinal problems are the result of years of neglect. As with any healing process, every person's progress is slightly different. Your personal lifestyle, diet, exercise, and regularity with which you keep your appointments all affect your progress.

How does a chiropractor know which vertebra to adjust?

A chiropractor conducts a very careful assessment, which includes a thorough discussion of past and present medical history of the patient, a comprehensive examination, and x-ray analysis. During the medical history, the doctor is able to identify areas of the patient's body that are not functioning at their optimal level and are producing noticeable symptoms. During the examination, the doctor is able to identify areas of the spine that are out of alignment by looking at the skin, and noticing postural imbalances and walking patterns (visualization), feeling for the contours of the muscle tone and bony structures below the skin (static palpation), checking for altered motion of spinal segments (motion palpation), detecting temperature differences at different levels of the spine (instrumentation using a Nervoscope tool). While evaluating x-rays, the doctor is looking at the alignment of the vertebrae, the disc height between each consecutive vertebra, whether there is osteoarthritis present in the spine, and if there are any developmental abnormalities or pathologies present that may by contributing to the problem, or are resulting from the problem.

I sometimes "crack" myself, or have a friend "crack" my spine and it feels better. Isn't that doing the same thing?

No. There is a reason that chiropractors go through eight years of college. Without the knowledge of how to identify which vertebra is out of place, exactly what position it is lying in, and how to properly correct it by working with three different vectors, you simply cause the bone to move further in the wrong direction! You may feel better, simply because you have caused endorphins, the body's "feel-good" chemical, to be released. However, this is short-lived and in the long run, you have actually caused more damage to that joint - the result of which is osteoarthritis, altered function, and dis-ease in the body.

Is a good workout the same as getting adjusted?

No. Exercise is an important part of good health, yet without normal spinal function, a physical workout merely puts additional wear and tear on improperly functioning spinal joints.

How is the way a chiropractor approaches health different from how a medical doctor approaches health?

Simply put, a chiropractor's definition of health is functioning at one's full potential, whereas a medical doctor's definition of health is the absence of sickness and / or disease. A chiropractor approaches health from an inside-out perspective - believing that the body was created with the ability to heal itself as long as there is no interference. Conversely, a medical doctor approaches health from an outside-in perspective, believing that the body is deficient in specific chemical that it is not capable of manufacturing on its own. (By the way, you do not have a headache because your body is deficient in aspirin!)

A chiropractor applies a force into the body to allow the body to heal itself, whereas a medical doctor introduces a foreign substance to alter the function of the body. Medical doctors address the effect of the problem by addressing the symptom through drugs and surgery (which also causes unwanted side effects), whereas a chiropractor addresses the cause of the problem, by addressing the subluxation.

What about nutrition? Isn't that an important part of staying healthy?

Yes! Nutrition is extremely important. In fact, chiropractic patients who have adequate nutrition tend to be able to "hold" their adjustments for a longer period of time. However, nutrition is not chiropractic, so Dr. Kristin does not focus her practice on nutrition. There is so much information coming out every day in scientific journals on the subject of proper nutrition that it really takes someone whose full-time job is dedicated to nutrition to be up to par on giving the best possible advice in this area. So, although Dr. Kristin has been educated on clinical nutrition and feels comfortable discussing the basics of proper nutrition, she refers her patients who have a strong desire to address their nutrition to a clinical nutritionist. Dr. Kristin feels that she can best serve her patients by focusing on what she does best (adjusting subluxations) and leave the other important areas of being healthy to those who specialize in those areas.

What's the difference between a chiropractor and an osteopath?

Osteopaths use drugs, surgery, and other medical therapy combined with manipulative procedures, which can look similar to a chiropractic adjustment, but they are very non-specific. Instead of locating the one bone that needs to be moved, osteopaths put motion into a large area of the spine, which covers many segments at one time. The problem with this is that it takes much more force because they are moving several bones at once. Moreover, instead of moving the one bone that needs to be moved (the subluxated bone), they end up moving the bones above and below the subluxated bone. Those segments are hyper mobile (they already move too much in order to compensate for the loss of motion in the segment that is subluxated). Consequently, the nerve that is getting impinged by the subluxation remains impinged and nerve function does not improve.

So do chiropractor think that we don't need medical doctors?

Chiropractors DO recognize the need for medical doctors. If I break my arm, I hope I can find a good o rthopedic surgeon to put me back together. If I am in a car accident and lose a lot of blood, I hope I can find a good E.R. doc to administer as many units of blood as I need to survive, etc. However, there are some areas of health that are taken care of more logically by an inside-out, non-invasive approach to health.

Should you get adjusted if you're pregnant?

Anytime is a good time for a better functioning nervous system. Pregnant mothers find that chiropractic adjustments improve their pregnancy and make delivery easier for both them and their baby. Adjustive methods are always adaptive to a patient's size, weight, and condition.

How do chiropractic adjustments boost the immune system?

The thymus gland is located near your "Adam's apple". This gland is constantly sending out "attacker" cells that take care of anything foreign that enters your body. Everyone has "germs" in his or her body at any given moment. Two people may even have the same germs in the same amount in their bodies, but one person may get sick and the other may not. Why? Their immune systems are functioning at different levels. In order for your immune system to function optimally, your thymus gland must be working as well as it possibly can. The brain sends messages to the thymus gland, telling it how to work. The messages travel down the spinal cord and then out onto spinal nerves that lead to the thymus gland. These messages transmit information such as when to send out attacker cells, which cells to send out, how many cells to send out, etc. However, if there is interference in the transmission of the brain's instructions a "subluxation"), the thymus gland will malfunction. Therefore, the foreign cells will not be adequately attacked, and you will be "sick".

Is it true that once you start chiropractic care you have to keep on going?

First of all, no one can make you do anything. You are an individual and you are capable of making your own decisions. With that said, most people find that after they begin chiropractic care, they realize how good they're supposed to feel and choose not to go back to feeling lousy anymore. Since we are constantly putting our bodies under stress, regular chiropractic adjustments help us maintain proper alignment on a regular basis. But, more importantly, after starting chiropractic care, patients learn that the adjustments are not only affecting how they feel, they are also keeping their bodies functioning at an optimal level. Why would you ever want to deprive your body of functioning at its peak potential?

Is it possible to break someone's neck with a chiropractic adjustment?

No. The movies make us think that it is easy to break someone's neck with the force of our own hands, but it is virtually impossible - especially since the chiropractor is not acting with the intent to break a bone; he or she is acting with the intent to adjust a bone. There is a very big difference.

At what age should someone's spine be checked for subluxations? / Is a chiropractic adjustment safe for a baby?

Many children receive their first adjustment just hours after birth, since the birth process itself can be very traumatic to the spine. Often, the doctor will use his or her pinky finger with a very gentle thrust in the right direction to relieve nerve pressure caused by even a very "normal" birth process.

A chiropractic adjustment is extremely safe for a newborn. All newborns should at least be checked for spinal subluxation, but especially those who were born in the breach position, born through the use of suction or forceps, and those who were born by C-section, since these types of birth cause even more stress to the spine than a "normal" birth.

Can someone who has osteoporosis be adjusted by a chiropractor?

Yes. Chiropractic adjustments are gentle enough even for someone with osteoporosis.

Can chiropractic help someone who has a herniated, "slipped", or "bulging" disk?

Yes. Chiropractors help patients with this condition every day.

How much danger is there in going to the chiropractor?

Chiropractic Malpractice insurance speaks for itself. Chiropractors have very low malpractice insurance compared to medical doctors (tens of thousands of dollars lower!). The reason for this is that there is a risk of death and serious permanent injury by the use of drugs and surgery, but not with a chiropractic adjustment. The insurance companies realize this.