CHIROPRACTIC MANIPULATIVE THERAPY
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.
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 karate moves, 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.
Why manipulation works
Chiropractic manipulation slightly opens the joint, normalizing its motion-sensitive nerves, blocking pain and reducing muscle spasm.
Frequently asked questions:
How is manipulation performed?
First, the patient is positioned in a way that isolates the involved joint or joints from the others. Then the doctor uses his hands to apply a gentle thrust of the joint. This moves the joint surfaces and usually results in a popping sound.
Why is thrust necessary?
Imagine a door that only opens halfway because of a stuck hinge. It still can be used, but it is more troublesome than a door that fully opens. The joints in your spine and throughout your body can be thought of in the same way. When a proper thrust is applied to a "stuck" joint, its full motion is restored, and associated muscle tension is decreased.
What is the noise heard with manipulation?
During manipulation, joint surfaces are separated. As this happens, movement of fluid and a release of gas occur within the joint. The "cracking" noise frequently heard during manipulation is similar to gas being released from a carbonated beverage.
Is manipulation safe?
When performed by an expert, manipulation is safe and effective. I am well trained, experienced and licensed to perform manipulation. I am able to recognize patients who should not receive manipulation, and to minimize the risk of injury to all patients on an individual basis.
What happens when I "crack" my own back or neck?
When the doctor makes and adjustment, it increases motion in a "locked" or "stuck" joint. When most people "crack" their own back or neck, they affect joints that are already gliding or moving properly, not the joints that are "stuck."
Does "cracking" knuckles lead to arthritis?
There have been many studies published to demonstrate that ''cracking" your own knuckles does not cause, but actually reduces the risk of arthritis!
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