It is estimated that about 27 million Americans visit a doctors of chiropractic each year, and millions more receive chiropractic care throughout the rest of the world. Chiropractic is the third largest primary health care field (after medicine and dentistry).
Chiropractic is a branch of the healing arts which is based upon the understanding that good health depends, in part, upon a normally functioning nervous system (especially the spine, and the nerves extending from the spine to all parts of the body).
"Chiropractic" comes from the Greek word Chiropraktikos, meaning "effective treatment by hand." Chiropractic stresses the idea that the cause of many disease processes begins with the body's inability to adapt to its environment.
It looks to address these diseases not by the use of drugs and chemicals, but by locating and adjusting a musculoskeletal area of the body which is functioning improperly.
The conditions which doctors of chiropractic address are as varied and as vast as the nervous system itself.
We use a standard procedure of examination to diagnose a patient's condition and arrive at a course of treatment. Chiropractors use the same time-honored methods of consultation, case history, physical examination, laboratory analysis and x-ray examination as any other doctor. In addition, they provide a careful chiropractic structural examination, paying particular attention to the spine.
The examination of the spine to evaluate structure and function is what makes chiropractic different from other health care procedures. Your spinal column is a series of movable bones which begin at the base of your skull and end in the center of your hips. Thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves extend down the spine from the brain and exit through a series of openings. The nerves leave the spine and form a complicated network which influences every living tissue in your body.
Accidents, falls, stress, tension, overexertion, and countless other factors can result in a displacements or derangements of the spinal column, causing irritation to spinal nerve roots. These irritations are often what cause malfunctions in the human body. Chiropractic teaches that reducing or eliminating this irritation to spinal nerves can cause your body to operate more efficiently and more comfortably.
We also places an emphasis on nutritional and exercise programs, wellness and lifestyle modifications for promoting physical and mental health. While chiropractors make no use of drugs or surgery, Doctors of chiropractic do refer patients for medical care when those interventions are indicated. In fact, chiropractors, medical doctors, physical therapists and other health care professionals now work as partners in occupational health, sports medicine, and a wide variety of other rehabilitation
Untold musculoskeletal injuries occur every day when people lift heavy or even slightly heavy objects without following techniques.
Even a so-called simple task of lifting a box from the ground to place on a higher level such as a shelf or table can cause muscle and back strain.
Remember this simple rule when lifting: Never bend from your waist when standing upright to pick up something. Keep your back straight and crouch first by bending at the knees or hips, depending on where the item is that you are lifting. This allows your arms and shoulder muscles, not your back, to do the brunt of the work.
Back injuries from improper lifting techniques generally lead to three kinds of injuries to the muscles, vertebral discs, and joints. Here is a brief synopsis of those types of injuries:
- Disc injury - Improper lifting can cause the soft cushions between your vertebrae, called discs, to tear, rupture, or shift out of position. Often, the fibrous rings surrounding the soft leathery discs can bulge and even rupture. Such an injury can cause the dislocated or ruptured disc to press against a nerve, causing pain and numbness to radiate down into your buttocks and/or leg.
- Joint injury - You may be surprised to know there are numerous joints in your spinal column connecting all of the various bony structures. A bad lift can cause excessive strain on these joints, irritating tissue within them, and in some cases, causing them to lock up.
- Muscle injury - If you change your position during a lift, you place a lot of stress on your lower back muscles. This can easily strain and injure, usually in the form of a small twist or tear, a muscle or group of muscles. Muscle strain is a very common form of back injury. A muscle pull or strain is often painful and can disable key body parts such as your back, hips, shoulders, neck, and knees.
Here are some simple lifting techniques to help you avoid these kinds of injuries:
- Make sure you have a place to put the object you have lifted. Do not try to figure this out while holding the object. Position your body close to and in front of the object. Your feet should be flat on the floor and about a shoulder-width apart.
- If you need to turn during the lift, use your feet to pivot. Keep your elbows bent while carrying an object.
- Your leg muscles-not those in your back-should be the ones providing the power during your motion to stand erect.
- Keep the load as close to your body as possible to maximize the use of your arms and shoulder muscles. The further an object is from your center of gravity, the more force that is required to hold that object up.
- Keep your chest forward and bend at your hips (not the lower back) or your knees, depending on how far down the items is that you want to lift. Keep your shoulders in line with your hips to avoid twisting motions.
- When lifting, push your chest out, pointing forward. Avoid twisting or turning during the lift.
- Lead with your hips, not your shoulders, keeping your shoulders in line with your hips. If you need to change direction, move your hips first; this way, your shoulders will move in unison with your hips. If you move your shoulders before your hips, this will make it easier for your body to twist during the lift, leading to possible strains and other injuries to your back and pelvis.
- Don't lift an object that is obviously too heavy. Test the weight of the object by pushing it with your foot. If it is very difficult or impossible to push with your foot, it is likely that the object is more than your muscles can handle.