Chiropractic is a healthcare profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health.
World Federation of Chiropractic
Chiropractic is the third largest healthcare profession after medicine and dentistry. Although chiropractic is characterised by joint manipulation other techniques such as soft tissue release and home exercises are often prescribed to restore the body back to a state of health and function.
Lower Back and Core
The most important part of physical fitness, performance and stability.
In the 90s it was found that people with lower back pain had faulty muscle responses when moving. Since then the subject has developed and we have come to recognise an inner unit that protects the lower back and an outer unit that facilitates movement.
In order to maintain stability and function these areas must all work together. If these units are not working synergistically then movement patterns become faulty and compensation patterns develop. This means decreased functional range and a greater susceptibility to lower back pain.
Pelvis and Pelvic Floor
The pelvis is an amazing bit of architecture that allows the forces of gravity to be dispersed through the trunk.
A common musculoskeletal complaint is sacroiliac joint pain. This can be a debilitating injury that can prevent you from moving around freely. The cause of the injury is sometimes difficult to understand with many people reporting they “just leant over and it went out”. In these cases an analysis of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex must be undertaken so as to fully understand what mechanisms may have led to the issue.
One major area to be considered is the pelvic floor. Often over looked the pelvic floor is an extremely important bit of anatomy. Child birth often disrupts this area leading to pelvic pain.
Upper and Lower Limb
Locomotion and hand movements are the most important actions in day to day living.
All of us at some point will experience a sprained ankle or rotator cuff strain. Diagnosing what structure is damaged can help determine what treatment would work best. Tendons, muscles and joints can all become inflamed and not heal well on their own. Using a combination of techniques is usually required to heal an injury.
When recovering it is essential that the compensatory patterns such as hiking up the shoulders to protect the arm, or limping to protect the ankle, are also dealt with as these may lead to problems in other areas.
Head and Neck
The neck carries the weight of the head all day while allowing multidirectional movement.
Neck pain and headaches from tight muscles often occur from poor posture or sudden whip lash injuries. Chiropractors are notorious for adjusting the neck, which can be beneficial, but often the primary pain generators are the muscles that are working hard to keep the neck stable. In these cases working through irritated muscles would be the best strategy.
If the neck has felt stiffer over the past few months, then an analysis of what is happening below the neck should be done. Posture, shoulder injuries, stress, and structural asymmetries can all contribute toward neck pain.
Athletes & Functional Movement
More than Chiropractic. It is about movement and function too.
Why are certain athletes more prone to injury than others?! The current thinking is that muscle imbalances, motor control issues, and core weakness are to blame. Part of the problem is that many of these issues are not known about until the injury takes place.
With the use of functional tests we are able to understand where some improvements can be made. Whatever the sport or hobby if something doesn’t feel right then there is likely something that can be improved. If you want to up your game:
You must first learn to move well and then move often. Grey Cook (Movement Specialist)
In musculoskeletal health there is a term "Adaptive Range" or "Functional Capacity". This idea is used to represent the varying degrees of physical performance individuals can endure without injury or the extent their body can adapt to the environment.
Low Adaptive Range
A very narrow adaptive range means that even light exercise or doing some manual work can lead to injury or pain. This has usually come about after years of injuries and dysfunction. These individuals may require nutritional supplementation and dietary changes to help reduce inflammation and help maintain functional changes.
Reduced Adaptive Range
This is perhaps where the majority of chiropractic patients belong. Owing to structural considerations, life-style and work stresses an individuals functional capabilities are reduced. This can often mean recurrent injuries when doing vigorous tasks or a low physical tolerance for certain activities.
High Adaptive Range
To help create a wide adaptive range is the aim of all function-based chiropractors. This means the body is unphased by a wide variety of physical stresses. This is essential in those people who want to participate in recreational sports and those who wish to be high performing athletes.