“Ask the Expert” is a series is designed to identify well-respected professionals in various fields related to health, fitness and wellness and get their expert opinion on questions relating to their field of expertise. Today’s topic is … chiropractic. Although chiropractic has been around for many years, often associated with back injury and pain management there has been a recent shift in thinking towards proactive and preventative use of chiropractic as professional athletes and celebrities have sworn by it for years!
Dr. Phillip Shaw, D.C., a chiropractor with Chiro One Wellness Centers of Wheeling (IL), has been practicing chiropractic for over 5 years. As an active member of his community, and CrossFit and fitness enthusiast, Dr. Phil finds joy in helping others live their best life through healthy lifestyle habits including: regular exercise, proper nutrition and diet, and (of course) regular chiropractic treatment. He is holds regular seminars and workshops throughout the community on the topics including: effects of stress on health, ergonomics in the workplace, nutrition, and the amazing benefits of chiropractic. He is determined to serve as many patients as possible by committing his life to sharing the healing powers that are unlocked through chiropractic, which is why he is the perfect candidate for today’s topic!
What is chiropractic?
Dr. Phil: Chiropractic is a type of physical medicine in which the primary objective is to increase the nervous system’s response to a stimulus (aka. “upregulating”) through treatment and management of spinal disorders.
What do chiropractors do?
Dr. Phil: Chiropractors treat subluxations. Subluxations are misalignments (incorrect alignments) of the spine that can increase interference in the nervous system. The spine is designed to protect the central nervous system. So, if a subluxation takes away from the optimum health of the spine, the spine’s capacity to protect and support nervous system function is compromised.
When do subluxations occur?
Dr. Phil: Subluxations can occur anytime the body is under stress. Stress can come in the physical, chemical or mental sense. Subluxations also cause a joint to be more susceptible to injury and slow the healing process. Subluxations come in many different forms. There are larger global subluxations such as loss of optimum curve in the neck, scoliosis, hyperlordosis, etc. There are also segmental subluxations that affect a certain joint. Examples of these could include a blown disc, spondylolisthesis, or a joint that is experiencing a significant restriction of motion. By means of the chiropractic adjustment, a joint is restored to proper function, relieving stress, and allowing your body to function at its highest potential.
Is chiropractic treatment safe?
Dr. Phil: Absolutely! Because there is a strong physical component to chiropractic treatment, the body should be given adequate time to adapt (similar to starting any new physical activity). A person may experience some residual muscle soreness as they work though the initial adaptation phase or when working through deeper levels of dysfunction.
Do I have to be hurt or in pain to see a chiropractor?
Dr. Phil: While chiropractic can be an extremely powerful tool to help those in pain, it is not a prerequisite for chiropractic care. Chiropractic treats subluxations, which are typically present long before pain is present.
Who is chiropractic treatment NOT suitable for?
Dr. Phil: Chiropractic has benefits for patients of all ages. From newborns to the elderly, everyone is susceptible to the effects of stress on their bodies. Chiropractic is a great modality proven to help patients find natural solutions for stress reduction. The only contraindications would be to avoid adjusting a severely diseased joint (e.g. tumorous, cancerous, severely osteoporotic, etc.). Aside from that, anyone can be adjusted. Obviously, the style of adjustment used on a high school football player may look different that the technique utilized for an elderly patient. There is a style of chiropractic suitable for every type of patient.
How can I best prepare for my first chiropractic visit/adjustment?
Dr. Phil: The best way to prepare for a chiropractic adjustment is to be comfortable and relaxed. One way to accomplish this is to trust the doctor’s capabilities in delivering chiropractic treatment and care.
How can chiropractic treatment benefit healthy, active individuals?
Dr. Phil: Chiropractic adjustments help promote health and wellness by reducing the irritation to spinal nerve roots and the overall interference in the nervous system. This helps keep active individuals performing at their optimal level (e.g. balance, coordination, speed, reaction time, strength, power, etc.).
How can chiropractic treatment benefit my fitness workouts?
Dr. Phil: Movement is essential to any type of workout. So, better movement results in better workouts! A mobile joint is a healthy joint. Chiropractic adjustments help to mobilize otherwise restricted joints which, in turn, promotes improved stability and better balance.
How can chiropractic treatment benefit my sports performance?
Dr. Phil: If you look at most of the world’s top level athletes (e.g. Aaron Rogers, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Martina Navratilova and Wayne Gretzky) most of them have one thing in common … regular chiropractic care. Chiropractic care helps your body stay at its peak level and speeds up recovery time by alleviating stressed joints and allowing the surrounding musculature to support, rather than hinder, function. In other words, it keeps you on the field, on the court and in the game!
For healthy, active individuals what is the appropriate chiropractic treatment schedule?
Dr. Phil: Chiropractic care is designed to help a person deal with the effects of stress (subluxation) on the body. Because the amount of stress a person endures at any given time varies, one can assume the more stress a person is under, the more a person can benefit from chiropractic care. An attending chiropractor will suggest a treatment schedule that is appropriate for the needs of each person.
Ask the Expert – Questions, Comments or Suggestions?
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