Where conventional or “allopathic” medicine focuses on curing illness through surgery and pharmaceuticals, the goal of chiropractic is to optimize health with a non-invasive approach that does not use drugs or surgery. Chiropractic’s primary avenue of care is adjustment of the spine and the framework of the body.
The spine is an important structure that houses and provides protection for the spinal cord, while providing mobility for the upper body. This dual requirement of strength and flexibility makes the spine a very complex structure, with multiple joints at each spinal segment (the vertebrae) forming the spinal column.
When these joints (also known as articulations) are not positioned or functioning normally, (subluxation), it can affect the nerves exiting the spine. Chiropractic care attends to irritations along the spine by manually repositioning these joints. This is a chiropractic “adjustment.”
The word “chiropractic” comes from the Greek words cheir (hand) and praxis (action), and simply means “done by hand.” Note that the word “chiropractic,” while a bit awkward, is the actual name of the profession. A chiropractor practices chiropractic.
Chiropractors like Dr. Bonnie Chuter are licensed professionals who are trained to diagnose and appropriately care for or refer patients for the care they require. Accordingly, they continually assess their patients from dual perspectives, asking: What might I do for you, as well as, what might you also need today beyond my abilities?
Chiropractic patients often visit their chiropractor regularly in order simply to relieve irritations – to get “adjusted.” Individuals also seek chiropractic care for back pain, headaches, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, sprains, as well as non-musculoskeletal conditions. Many patients come in for regular, preventative wellness care at least monthly and bring in their families and children.
Due to its focused hands-on attention to the spine, the profession is often thought of by its tools and by its avenue of care. Chiropractic, however, is not just about manual care of the spine, although it has certainly built a reputation caring for that often troublesome piece of anatomy. In chiropractic, care of the spine and nervous system (which is of fundamental importance in human health) is the way to optimize the health of the whole human system and not just a means to relieve back complaints.
A basic philosophy of chiropractic is that the body naturally seeks the proper balance among all the systems of the body, and that these systems are meant to work together. A second basic principle is that proper structure is necessary for proper function. If a structure is impaired by injury or stress, its function can be adversely affected.
For example, when our spine (structure) is not positioned normally, it can irritate the nerves exiting the spine. And when spinal nerves are irritated, they don’t function normally and can affect the function of the tissues they interact with. This " end-organ " effect is the central interest in chiropractic care. The relief of localized discomfort at the point of irritation is also an objective of care.
Thus chiropractic focuses on the integrity of the spine and its surrounding tissues as a means to enhance normal human function and health.
At Richmond Family Chiropractic, our vision is that all human beings discover their full potential. Through world-class chiropractic care and an unparalleled commitment to patient satisfaction, we encourage your body’s optimal function.
From the moment we first meet and during each visit with Dr. Bonnie Chuter, we’ll explain how chiropractic adjustments encourage your body’s innate healing ability. You’ll learn how certain lifestyle choices can support chiropractic adjustments and lead to an improvement in your overall health.
Chiropractic Evaluation: Day One
We value your time and work hard to keep your appointments brief and efficient, while still delivering the personal attention you deserve. Your new patient exam will take approximately 30 min. To expedite the process, we ask that you fill out your new patient forms online in advance and bring in your care card and drivers licence for identification.
At your first appointment, you’ll receive a thorough health assessment to determine how Dr. Bonnie Chuter can help improve your health naturally, without drugs or surgery. After a quick tour of our office, we’ll take a detailed health history of both current and past health concerns. You’ll receive a comprehensive chiropractic examination, which may include orthopedic and neurological exams, and 3 computerized spinal nerve scans. Dr. Bonnie Chuter will analyze the results of your diagnostic testing and examination and create a customized plan to help you achieve your specific health and wellness goals.
Your Report of Findings: Day Two:
During your second visit, you’ll learn about subluxations – otherwise known as nerve interference – that can prevent the central nervous system from functioning optimally. Your chiropractor will explain the treatment plan created based on your examinations findings and your personal health –related goals. And finally, we’ll provide an estimate of the number of visits needed and explain the fees. We recommend having the support of your spouse or another family member to this appointment, which typically takes 20 min. The second visit is a very important one. A chiropractic adjustment will be explained to you and you will be adjusted. Lifestyle and exercise recommendations will be discussed. All your questions will be answered and you will be welcomed to our Family of Chiropractic Patients.
As defined by the World Chiropractic Alliance, the goal of the chiropractic adjustment is to correct spinal subluxations (misplacement of spinal vertebrae) by applying pressure to the bone to “unlock” it from its improper position. The role of a chiropractor is to “free-up” this misplacement while allowing the body’s innate intelligence to assist in the correction. Dr. Chuter goes beyond the adjustment by focusing more on corrective treatment verses quick elimination of pain and discomfort. Dr. Bonnie Chuter primarily uses the Thompson Technique for adjusting the spine which involves using a drop table to assist the adjustment and allows better patient comfort. An adjustment doesn’t hurt! Dr. Chuter also uses manual and instrument adjusting techniques.. The type of adjustment used depends upon patient preference, the age of the patient and the condition of the spine.
Most people don’t realize that chiropractic has much more to offer than pain relief. Typically, there are three reasons why people seek help from a chiropractor. At Richmond Family Chiropractic, we provide the types of care listed below and encourage patients to explore all the benefits chiropractic can provide.
- Relief Care – Often patients will initially come into the office seeking relief from a specific condition, such as neck pain or back pain. Chiropractic is NOT a cure for any of these ailments but by addressing the dysfunction in the spine and nerve system as a possible cause of these issues, chiropractic adjustments can often provide natural pain relief. Instead of resorting to the use of drugs and surgery, many patients get adjusted to correct their spinal misalignments (subluxations), remove the interference to their nerve system and allow their bodies to heal naturally and feel pain-free. This phase usually lasts 4-8 weeks and patients may be seen up to three times per week. At the end of this phase, most patients report less symptoms, better energy and better function. This phase is finished with a progress examination where all computerized scans and initial tests are repeated to assess health improvement. Strengthening exercises and lifestyle advice is reviewed.
- Corrective Care – Patients who begin in the Relief Care category typically realize throughout their Initial Intensive Care Plan that by getting adjusted regularly, their spine and nerve system will be stronger and more stable, allowing them to prevent similar issues from occurring again in the future. In the office, we often ask patients, “Would you wait to brush your teeth until after you had a cavity or would it be better to brush your teeth to prevent the cavity?” The concept here is quite similar. Check the spine, correct the subluxations and remove the interference to the nerve system before the problem even has a chance to arise in the first place. Corrective care usually lasts at least 4-8 weeks with patients being adjusted 1-2 times per week. The purpose of this phase of care is to stabilize the spine, correct the cause of the problem and further improve the brain to body connection of the nervous system. Patients are usually symptom free at the end of this phase and reporting many improvements in their life and health.
- Wellness Care – Often confused with Preventative Care, Wellness care actually has a far greater purpose. While Wellness care does focus in part on prevention, its true goal is to allow the body to function and heal at its 100% optimum level. By correcting subluxations in the spine and keeping proper nerve supply flowing to all the cells, tissues and organs in the body, patients can experience a higher level of health and function from the inside-out. Wellness patients bring in their children and other family members for regular spinal check-ups to ensure the nerve system is operating with as little interference as possible. These families often get sick much less than others, have fewer visits to their medical doctors, have more energy and mental clarity, more easily adapt to stress and in general, lead fuller, healthier lives. . Wellness care usually means visits once every 2-4 weeks depending on life stresses.
Chiropractic aims to aid the human body’s own innate intelligence, which seeks balance, or homeostasis, among systems in the body. Chiropractic also emphasizes that proper structure is necessary for proper function and holds that the nervous system is the primary coordinator of function throughout the body.
- Innate intelligence refers to an internal guiding force in humans that works to sustain health, attack disease, and restore the body from the effects of trauma. As described by chiropractic founder Daniel David Palmer, the human body is a dynamic self-regulator. It seeks to maintain " homeostasis," which is a state of balance among all the systems needed for the body to function correctly. Homeostasis is one of the fundamental characteristics of all living things. In homeostatic balance, bodily processes work in concert. When we suffer an injury or become infected, the body automatically repairs itself or attacks the infection. When we’re too warm, we perspire; when too cold, we shiver. Because of the importance of the nervous system in regulating the body, it needs to function at full capacity. It is the role of the chiropractor to identify and remove the barriers to neurophysiological (nerve function) balance. This promotes homeostasis.
- Proper structure is necessary for proper function. In order for systems to function well, they need to be structurally sound. For example, when our neck muscles tighten, we can’t fully turn our head. When our lung tissue is damaged, we can’t breathe effectively. This principle of structure and function applies to all body structures, from its systems to its tissues and even to its individual cells. For this reason, chiropractic uses non-invasive approaches, such as manual care and healing nutrition to minimize potential damage to normal bodily structures.
- The nervous system is the primary regulator of bodily functions and key to maintaining homeostasis. Normal nerve function, according to Palmer, results in normal activity and strength of organs. Nerves in and along the spine, however, are subject to a variety of irritations, either through injury, illness or the stresses of daily living. This nerve irritation in turn impacts organ activity and strength.
A vertebral subluxation is the result of spinal bones with improper motion or position affecting nerve communications between your brain and your body. sub = less than | luxation = dislocation
A vertebral subluxation is a stress response. Muscles go into spasm. Spinal bones lock up. And adjacent nerves are choked. This interferes with the control and regulation of your body. This disrupts communications between the brain and parts of your body.
Distorted nerve communications can be an underlying cause of many health problems beyond just headaches and back pain. For example, interfere with nerve impulses going to or from your stomach: stomach problems.
Your nervous system controls every cell, tissue, organ and system of your body. These nerve impulses travel through your spine. So having a spine free of vertebral subluxations is essential for optimal health.
Only a chiropractic examination can detect vertebral subluxations. And only chiropractic adjustments can reduce their effect to your nervous system, naturally. Find out if you have vertebral subluxations before they become more serious and more difficult to correct.
At Richmond Family Chiropractic, we focus on children and family wellness care. Dr. Bonnie has extra training in caring for infants and children and women during pregnancy. She has completed an extra-curricular 120 hour certification program from the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and is certified in the Webster technique.
While more research into the benefits of chiropractic for babies and children is needed, chiropractic for little people has been shown to be gentle, safe and effective. Babies can be checked by chiropractors very soon after birth and special techniques have been developed to carefully correct any subluxated areas of their spine. When we appreciate how the nervous system may be hindered and impaired it makes sense why more parents are having their child’s spine and nervous system assessed.
Some reasons parents take their children to see a chiropractor:
- To encourage good neural plasticity (brain and nerve development).
- To support their child’s overall health and well-being.
- To help strengthen their child’s immunity and potentially reduce the incidence of illness.
- To assist with colic and difficulty turning the head for proper breast feeding.
- To encourage good spinal posture.
- To help alleviate digestive problems.
- To assist with bed-wetting and sleep issues.
The fact is, educational requirements for today’s chiropractor are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions.
Several decades ago the education that chiropractors received was purposely narrow. Without the interest in prescribing medicines or performing surgery, chiropractic education focused on anatomy, the philosophy of natural healing, the wisdom of the body and adjusting techniques.
Today’s chiropractor receives a much broader education. In fact, it’s quite comparable to that received by medical practitioners. Before acceptance to a four-year chiropractic college, prospective chiropractors must complete a minimum of three years of undergraduate work with a heavy emphasis on the basic sciences.
This focus on science continues during the first two years of study, emphasizing classroom and laboratory work in anatomy, physiology, public health, microbiology, pathology and biochemistry. Later, the focus is on specialized subjects, including chiropractic philosophy and practice, along with chiropractic diagnosis and adjusting methods. Since chiropractors don’t prescribe drugs, instead of studying pharmacology and surgery, they receive an even deeper training in anatomy, physiology, rehabilitation, nutrition, diagnosis, X-ray and a variety of adjusting techniques that aren’t taught in any other health care field.
Disparaging the educational achievements of today’s chiropractor is an outdated belief from another era.
- How come I’ve never heard of vertebral subluxations before?
True, vertebral subluxations have not received the press that say, AIDS, cancer, cholesterol or heart disease have. However, vertebral subluxations are just as important and are often the underlying cause of a wide variety of health problems.
- How do you get vertebral subluxations?
There are three basic causes of vertebral subluxations. Physical causes include slips and falls, accidents, repetitive motions, and improper lifting. Stress, anger and fear are examples of emotional causes of vertebral subluxations. Alcohol, drugs, pollution and poor diet can be chemical causes of vertebral subluxations.
- How can vertebral subluxations be corrected?
The primary form of care to reduce vertebral subluxations is a schedule of chiropractic adjustments. By applying a specific and precise force, in the right direction and at the right time, over time, changes in the position and motion of spinal bones can be made.
- How can I tell if I have vertebral subluxations?
You can have vertebral subluxations and not even know it. Like the early stages of tooth decay or cancer, vertebral subluxations can be present before warning signs appear. The results of a thorough examination can show the location and severity of any vertebral subluxations you may have.
- Can vertebral subluxations clear up on their own?
Sometimes. Today’s hectic lifestyles are a constant source of vertebral subluxations. Fortunately, our bodies have the ability to self-correct many of these minor problems as we bend and stretch, or when we sleep at night. When vertebral subluxations don’t resolve, you’ll want to see a chiropractor for an adjustment.
Chiropractic theorizes that nerve and organ dysfunction is often the result of misaligned vertebrae of the spine. When the vertebral segments become injured, fixated, or malaligned, soft tissues become irritated, adjacent muscles often tighten, and nerves can be irritated and their function impaired. This is called an “intervertebral subluxation.”
This very common condition results from trauma, postural stress, congenital abnormalities, disc degeneration, and the toxic effects of infection. Simple daily living puts everyone at risk for this quite common condition.
Chiropractors use spinal assessment and adjustment to reduce the subluxation, and thus alleviate irritation of the nerves. Because the spine is such a complex structure, adjustments often involve multiple levels of the spine and even the extremities. The goal is balance and normalcy, and the cause of the stress may lie at a distance from any point of discomfort.