All doctors use a standard procedure of examination to diagnose a patient’s condition in order to arrive at a plan of treatment. Your doctor of chiropractic uses the same time honored methods of consultation, case history, physical examination, laboratory analysis and X-ray examination. In addition, he or she provides a careful chiropractic structural examination, with emphasis on the spine.
The examination of your spine to evaluate structure and function is what makes chiropractic different from other health care procedures.
Your spinal column, or vertebral column, is a series of movable bones which form the center of your back beginning at the base of your skull and ending in the center of your hips. There are seven cervical (neck) vertebrae, twelve dorsal (mid-back) vertebrae, and five lumbar (low-back) vertebrae. These vertebrae are stacked up like building blocks, and between them are located fibrocartilages (or discs). These discs help to cushion shock, reduce friction and allow movement to occur.
The 31 pairs of spinal nerves extend down the spine from the brain and exit through a series of openings between the vertebrae. The nerves leave the spine and form a very complicated network which ultimately influences every living tissue in your body.
Accidents, falls, uneven stress, tension, over-exertion or any other factor which may cause a minor displacement or derangement of one or more of these vertebrae can cause irritation to spinal nerve roots, directly by pressure, or indirectly through reflexes. These irritations in turn, may cause malfunctions in your body. Chiropractic teaches that nerve pressure, or nerve reflex can cause a disturbance of delicate body functions resulting in an increased susceptibility to disease processes. Alleviating the irritation to spinal nerves by re-establishing normal spinal mobility, the doctor of chiropractic seeks to cause your body to operate more efficiently and more comfortably.