Frequently Asked Questions About Chiropractic
What a process! You’ve been through our Comprehensive Neuro-Structural Examination, reviewed all the results (yes I know, there was a lot to cover…), received a crash course in spinal and neurological function, and have been accepted into our corrective care program.
Still, there may be some looming questions about chiropractic we didn’t answer and we want to make absolutely sure you understand everything possible in order to get the best results.
That’s why we’ve amassed this mega-list of the most common (and not so common) questions we field every day… we know if one person is asking, there’s likely ten others wishing they knew the answer too!
What exactly is a chiropractic adjustment?
At your first check up you probably noticed a few key things – it was fast, gentle, and seemed to have a lot to do with your feet… We’ll get to that one in a moment, but first…
As Life By Design Chiropractors we analyse and correct structural distortions in the spine and pelvis. These deviations in normal alignment and motion of the vertebrae place stress on the nerves and disrupt the way your brain and body communicates. The technical terminology for this condition is vertebral subluxation (you can just think about it as ‘structural distortion’).
An adjustment is the method by which a Life By Design Chiropractor corrects the structural distortion in your spine.
An adjustment is different from a manipulation in two ways:
- An adjustment is always delivered specifically to an area of the spine that is shifted – not just an area that hurts. Vertebral subluxations are most often painless as only a small percentage of the nervous system receives and reports pain. You may have a subluxation impairing your body’s function and yet have no pain.
- An adjustment is not accomplished by simply popping or cracking the spine. Although some audible sounds may accompany some corrections, the sound is not related in any way to the success of an adjustment.
How do you know when an adjustment worked?
The first thing we need to do is define what is meant by ‘work.’
In the context of a chiropractic adjustment, ‘working’ means that there has been a measurable reduction in stress on the nervous system as a result of correcting the underlying distortion in the spine.
Primary indicators the doctor may use at any given check up include balancing of leg lengths (this is what we check when we’re at your feet), changes in breathing rate and rhythm, palpable (observing by hand) improvements in motion of the spine and changes in muscle tension surrounding the affected vertebrae.
In short, the analysis used by your chiropractor during your check up will determine if a correction worked or did not work. This is exactly why you will notice your Doctor re-checking your spine following every correction.
Longer-term indicators include things like improvements in your posture (being able to stand up taller or straighter), optimal motion throughout the spine, symmetry of muscle size and strength along with objective changes in Electromyography and Thermography identified on your comparative examination results.
Other common findings people notice include more energy, better digestion, improved immunity (getting sick less often), sleeping better, and having better circulation. These are all changes in bodily function which could occur as a result of correction of your primary problem.
Why don’t I feel any different after an adjustment?
That’s a really good question. After all, you originally came in because you wanted help with a problem right?
Do you remember when your chiropractor told you that what you thought was your problem likely wasn’t your problem at all but instead it was secondary damage?
The objective of a chiropractic adjustment is to reduce as much stress as possible from your nervous system. This doesn’t always equate to feeling better, but it DOES help your body to function better EVERY time.
You may not immediately be aware of the change that has occurred as it takes time for your body to adapt to the correction and many of the functions that could improve cannot be ‘felt’.
Structural distortion is very often accompanied by chronic inflammation and soft tissue damage, both of which will take time to heal. As scar tissue starts to break down, inflammation clears and the structure of your spine changes…rest assured that each correction moves you slowly and steadily toward a healthier version of YOU!
Is it ok to have adjustments on back-to-back days?
Short answer – Yes. In fact, in the first phase of care we often recommend you have back-to-back check-ups so that we can monitor how quickly your body falls back into the old patterns of distortion.
Initially, this may occur within hours of your checkup, however as your body begins to adapt to the adjustments we typically see less and less required adjustments on the following day, and in some cases you may not require any adjustments at all!
When we see this, it’s a clear indication that you are ready to progress to the next stage in your care and we can decrease the frequency of your visits.
I’m starting to notice that I have more energy and I’m sleeping better… is this normal?
Yes this is entirely normal. In fact, we expect these kinds of changes once we begin to see structural correction in your spine. The reduction in stress on the nerve system has a direct effect on improving sleep quality and quantity.
As your spinal alignment and motion improves, your body becomes more efficient at utilising energy. This means there are more resources available for your body to use for all of your other functions instead of allocating so much to stabilising your structural distortion.
Sometimes there are very few adjustments required while other times there are several… what’s going on here?
Every time you come in to the office and lay down on the table, your spine is different than the last time you came in. This is why every single time you come in we check and analyze your spine to determine if any adjustments are even necessary. Some days there will be more distortion, therefore more adjustments needed while other days, you’ll need less.
When we consistently see the need for less (or sometimes even NO) adjustments required, it’s a clear sign that your body is recovering and adapting better – in other words, you are getting healthier! When it happens consistently and your test results support it, your check up schedule will change to match your goals.
In fact, it may surprise you that our ultimate goal is to check your spine and nerve system and find that no adjustments are required. The goal is to check as little as required to maximise your results!
What can I do to speed up my recovery?
I think it’s fair to say we all want the same thing…the best results in the shortest amount of time. So it’s totally normal for you to ask what else could you be doing to speed up your Neuro-Structural restoration.
In our experience there’s a very specific process you will need to go through and it’s often slightly different for each person.
You will definitely be prescribed specific corrective mobility exercises along with strengthening and stabilising exercises when we feel you are ready. We may also recommend getting the help of a registered massage therapist and/or physiotherapist.
One blanket recommendation that we can make for everyone is to make sure you are getting lots of regular, low-level movement in your day.
As humans, we are designed to move…a lot. Aim to walk at least 45-minutes every day above and beyond your normal activities. Split this up however you want, but an easy strategy would be to take a 15-minute walk in the morning before work, at lunch, and after dinner. If you have kids, get them involved too – this is excellent habit to instil in them at a young age.
Another excellent habit to establish is the sit-busting habit: for every 20-minutes that you sit, get up and move for 2-minutes. In that 2-minutes you could go for a quick walk, do some star jumps, air squats or climb up/down some stairs. It may seem distracting from your work but research clearly shows that regular movement breaks actually increases your productivity.
Should I exercise before or after my check-ups?
The most important thing is that you find time to fit both exercise and your checkups into your busy week. In our experience, your personal schedule will dictate this more than anything else.
However, if you find yourself with the freedom to choose then you are always better off to exercise following your checkup and here’s why…
Since the purpose of your check-up is to maximise your brain-body connection by correcting any distortions in your spine, your body will work more efficiently and effectively following any required corrections.
With a spine free from structural distortions you will be (re-)programming more optimal movement with your training as well as get the most out of your session and reduce any risk of injury.
Do I have to attend the workshops?
If you’re goal is to get the best results in the shortest amount of time, then the Life By Design workshops are a no-brainer to attend.
Figuring out what you need to do in order to solve your problem and be healthy can get really confusing… These workshops are designed to show you exactly what you need to know to start meeting all your body’s fundamental requirements for health. Not to mention, the information and actions are key components to your Neuro-Structural Restoration.
What is the best way to fuel your body so that you lower chronic inflammation, have abundant energy and healthy body composition? That’s Eat By Design. What’s the most efficient way to build a better movement patterns that can reduce the amount of stress on the spine? That’s Move By Design. How do you ‘manage’ stress and create a system that ensures you create the life of happiness that you want and deserve? That’s Think By Design.
The best part is that we have taken the time (literally thousands of hours) sifting through all the research to make sure you’re getting the most up-to-date information based on more than 20-years of experience in the health and wellness field.
Should I also be seeing a Physiotherapist or Registered Massage Therapist?
Due to the fact we focus on a very unique aspect of health known as Neuro-Structural Correction, the combination of our approach and massage and/or physiotherapy can provide great results. We work very closely with several excellent therapists in our neighbourhood and never hesitate to refer you to the most appropriate one for you. Here are some general guidelines:
If you’ve just rolled your ankle or have a specific ‘extremity’ problem (arm or leg) then, in conjunction with your corrective care, seeing a good physiotherapist that focuses on hands-on care and exercise rehabilitation is your best bet. A quick note – if your physiotherapist relies on hooking you up to a bunch of machines, consider finding a new physiotherapist. If you want some recommendations send us an email – we regularly refer to great physiotherapists across Darwin/Palmerston.
Properly applied massage therapy focuses on rebuilding and maintaining healthy muscles. So if you have a specific muscle problem and are looking to restore normal muscle tissue, then a good Massage Therapist is your best bet. Some things to consider when choosing a good therapist is whether or not they do a thorough assessment and provide you with specific recommendations for follow-up. Ask us for a recommendation at your next visit.
How come no one has ever told me this is what Chiropractic is all about?
You’ve probably wondered this since we started talking to you about the primary problem in your spine…
And we would totally get it if you are curious why, after all those visits to your medical doctor (or Physio, RMT, Acupuncturist, etc.) to get help with your problem, that they never mentioned that structural distortions in your spine sits at the root of your problem!?
Simply put… we’re operating in different models of care, looking for different things and correcting them with a different standard in mind. Let me explain…
Other health care professionals operate in a model dictated by symptoms and conditions. In this model, the goal is to eliminate or at least manage your symptoms.
Think of your typical interaction with your medical doctor: you tell them you have a specific symptom and they figure out the best way they know how to remove or manage that symptom or condition.
And that’s great! Seriously, this is a great model for relief care, one that I am so grateful to have access to if I ever need it.
Let’s be clear. It’s not about creating health. At best it’s about eliminating disease, but more often it’s about managing the superficial effects of the disease.
The one major disadvantage of this model is that we KNOW from literally thousands of research papers that being symptom-free does not equal being healthy. This would be the same as thinking that being not poor is the same as being rich. The two concepts are not interchangeable.
That’s why, as Life By Design Chiropractors, we not only focus on addressing the primary problem in your spine, we also teach you step-by-step how to actually create long term health for you and your family.
Why does my insurance only cover a portion of my required corrective care?
Picture this – your insurance company sends you a letter to say “we care about your health, that’s why we’re now going to pay for your organic vegetables, and we’ll also cover your personal training, yoga classes and an extra week of holidays this year!”
If you’re fortunate enough to have private health insurance you’re probably thinking “what insurance does this guy have??” Followed quickly by “that plan must cost a fortune!”
Of course, there’s no such plan… and that comes down to the primary purpose of insurance of any kind: it’s to help you in the case of emergencies – in this case health emergencies.
And while it’s true that your insurance will cover a few visits – typically enough to start seeing changes in those secondary problems you mentioned – it is not designed to address the primary, root problem.
Since our focus is on tackling the primary problem, it’s no surprise our recommendations don’t line up with what your insurance provides: the goals are different.
If you’re fortunate enough to have private health insurance think about it like a ‘health’ coupon… one that can be used to reduce the cost of your corrective care and get you started on the path towards a healthier life.
What I can say is that typically once people get through the initial set of recommendations (i.e. finished the rebuilding phase of your care), they are so happy with the results that they are willing to pay their own way to maintain the positive changes and continue their care – just as they continue to pay for their own fresh fruits and veggies, gym membership, and family holidays.
For those who do not have access to this ‘coupon’, it shouldn’t stop you from taking the necessary actions to solve your problem and create as much health for yourself as possible!