CHIROPRACTIC • Katerina Moustaka

CHIROPRACTIC

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional

Haruki Murakami

Each and everyone of us will experience, without exception, musculoskeletal pain at some point in our lives. It could be the result of a strain or injury, lifting a heavy object or a slip and fall, and sometimes it may develop insidiouslywithout a specific cause. It may be of short duration, or escalate into a chronic symptom. It may appear at any age.

The indisputable fact is that pain related to musculoskeletal conditions is the leading cause of disability - affecting performance, attendance at work and general well-being, often significantly constraining everyday activities and reducing the quality of life. Musculoskeletal pain is also one of the main reasons that make us visit a doctor or go to a hospital.

The usual medical approach is limited to the axis medication - surgery. Many a time, though, the symptoms persist, or recede and then reappear, sometimes in a more severe form. As a result this leads to a dead-end...

Chiropractic is a highly effective, safe and relatively painless form of treating such conditions, manifesting immediate results, without the need of medication or surgery. The scope of chiropractic is not just a temporary symptom relief, but the actual restoration of health though addressing the cause of the symptom. And that cause, in a great percentage of such cases, is not the anatomical wear and tear, which may as well be present, but a biomechanical joint dysfunction.

What chiropractic is not:

It is not a medical specialty.

NEITHER is it a specialization or manipulation technique performed by Physical Therapists

It is absolutely not a massage technique.

And under no circumstances is it the ability to elicit the familiar decompression sounds from joints (that characteristic “popping” audible ). If it were so, our five-year old nephew that “walks” on our back to relieve the tension, should also be called a chiropractor...

Who can be called a chiropractor

"The quality of the practice depends mainly on the training performed by the practitioner." W.H.O

Chiropractic is an autonomous health care profession, recognized by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), and legislatively regulated in most developed countries. Unfortunately, Greece is not yet one of them, therefore other qualified health professionals and lay practitioners may use techniques of spinal manipulation and claim to provide chiropractic services, although they may not have received chiropractic training in an accredited programme.

So, in order to make it crystal clear who can be called a chiropractor, we need to stress that for someone to become a chiropractor, they must have acquired a degree from an accredited Chiropractic College/University, with at least 4 to 6 years of undergraduate studies that lead to a Bachelor or Master's degree. Schools are certified by independent international certification organizations called Councils of Chiropractic Education, that determine and certify the achievement and maintenance of reasonable and appropriate national standards of education for professionals that all such schools must obtain and follow.

In case someone already has a degree from another health care profession, the necessary duration of study in order to also become a chiropractor (according to W.H.O.) must exceed 2,200 hours in a two or three-year full time program, with at least 1000 hours of supervised clinical work.

As a telling example, I had to complete 4,980 hours of study in total at LCCW, after I had already graduated from Medical School.

Because, after all, chiropractic is the profession that specializes exclusively in detecting and adjusting dysfunctional joints. And for the protection of public health, it is absolutely necessary for all to realize that, determining the character of a spinal dysfunction, as well as correcting it with the necessary precision, requires a high degree of training, skill and experience.

What chiropractic is

Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of painful neuromusculoskeletal conditions caused by the disruption of normal biomechanics and poor functioning of joints, as well as counteracting the effects these may have both for the neuromuscular system and for general health.

The restoration of joint function is achieved through special therapeutic manipulations made by hand which are called adjustments.

The adjustment – provided it is done by a specialist (certified chiropractor) – is a painless and safe procedure that aims at restoring “subluxations”, that is, "lesions or dysfunctions in a joint or motion segment in which alignment, movement integrity and/or physiological function are altered, although contact between joint surfaces remains intact. It is essentially a functional entity, which may influence biomechanical and neural integrity." (WHO)

What causes a subluxation

For those of you who are wondering if there is any correlation between “old sins”, everyday physically/or psychologically stressful and demanding activities, and the inexplicable (for our reasonable mind) "insidious " appearance of musculoskeletal symptoms, I have news for you: “Yes, there is gravity on this planet”, and “Yes, jolts, slip and falls, abrupt movement and poor lifting technique, can and usually do shock or strain the structural elements of a joint, thus producing micro-displacements of one bone in relation to its neighbor (the aforementioned subluxation), disrupting its biomechanical function.

What happens to the joint

Whenever there is a disruption of the proper bone alignment within the joint, there is a change to the normal functional behavior of the bones that make up the joint, as well as that of the surrounding soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, etc.).

1In more detail

In more detail

The joint “jams”. It loses mobility and becomes stiff, causing spasm and weakness (due to local overwork and exhaustion) in the musculature of the surrounding area. The body adjusts in order to continue supporting us, and starts “cheating ”, altering its movement patterns. In other words, it changes the way it carries out automated behaviors, such as getting up, sitting down, walking, standing, entering or exiting a car, lifting a weight, etc.

After a brief or longer period of “grace”, depending on the body's ability to adapt, symptoms occur. The most frequent being pain.

Joint dysfunction also disrupts the normal flow of nerve impulses to and from the joint, and limits the body's ability for self-regulation and self-healing.

Local microcirculation is obstructed. Oxygen and nutrient transportation is restricted, and the accumulation of harmful substances (toxins) increases.

There is a change in the load distribution capacity of the structural elements of the joint, resulting in strain increase and degeneration not only on the joint surfaces, but also of the cartilage, intervertebral disks, meniscuses, ligaments etc.

All of the above contribute to a change in the metabolic activity of the joint tissues. That being the chemical processes that take place in the cells for the production or consumption of energy according to their needs are altered, leading in a "energy crisis" on a cellular level.

And that makes us more vulnerable, leading initially to the development of inflammation and eventually to degeneration and anatomical wear.

What we achieve through an adjustment

Pain relief.

Improvement of joint mobility (“unjamming”).

Release of muscle spasm.

Restoration of normal muscle function.

Better neuromuscular coordination and control of movement.

Prevention of injuries.

Support and acceleration of the body's self-healing mechanism.

Correction of body posture.

Improvement of equilibrium and reflexes.

Performance enhancement

Slowing down of the musculoskeletal system's ageing process.

General well-being.