Posted by: Dr. Paul Zemella - Santa Barbara Chiropractor | August 4, 2011

What Chiropractic Is and How It Can Help You

Important factors for choosing your wellness chiropractor:

What NOT to do. If the best doctor of chiropractic for you happens to have an office nearby, that’s great. But don’t let location be the primary basis for your choice. Don’t base your selection on an attractive sign, or a large ad in the phone directory.

Ask your friends if they know about wellness chiropractor. If you have friends who share your perspective on health and wellness, ask for a recommendation. You can ask your friend candid questions about the doctor, the staff, fees, availability, and services offered. More importantly, your friend, who knows both you and the chiropractor, may be able to tell whether your health philosophies and personalities are compatible.

Arrange a consultation with your doctor. Most chiropractors will be willing to meet with you for a consultation at no cost to determine whether you are a good match, and if they feel they can help your particular problem. Make productive use of this visit. Ask all the questions you have regarding your condition and methods of care. You want to know whether the doctor’s approach is right for you. You must feel comfortable with the doctor. Here are some important points to ask and look for:

Does the doctor look healthy? If the doctor does not live a healthy lifestyle, this speaks volumes regarding his/her commitment to wellness. If the doctor smells of tobacco smoke, is obese, or otherwise appears unhealthy, this is a concern.

Do the two of you “click”? Do you like each other? Does the doctor seem rushed? Do you communicate well with each other? Avoid a doctor who seems rushed, or talks down to you. You want a partner and a coach, not a surrogate parent.

To properly evaluate your condition the chiropractor will do a spinal evaluation/examination. This will include a visual examination (checking shoulder and hip alignment), palpating (touching the spine) to determine proper alignment, as well as performing range of motion, orthopedic and neurological test and exams based on the severity of the condition and the information needed to make a proper and accurate diagnosis. Usually these exams can be performed with the patient fully clothed, which does help maintain a more relaxed experience.

This examination will help establishing a baseline allowing the doctor to better understand your spine and it’s current health needs. Frequently, if the spinal problem warrants, the chiropractor will need x-rays to properly understand the exact health condition of the spine. This will of course better enable him/her to recommend the proper care necessary for the correction of your condition.

It’s important to determine if the chiropractor’s primary focus is on vertebral subluxation correction (misaligned vertebra) and wellness care. We experience life through our nervous systems. Physical, biochemical, and psychological distress may result in spinal subluxations, which disrupt nerve function, and compromise your ability to adapt to the environment. It is essential that this be the focus of your wellness chiropractor, since some chiropractors choose to confine their practices to the mechanical treatment of back and neck pain, and not focus on the bigger picture of wellness care involving a properly functioning nervous system.

What types of techniques are used? If you have been to a chiropractor before, you may have a preference for a specific technique. There are many different techniques in chiropractic. Some include adjustments by hand, low-force techniques, and adjustments using instruments. The important thing is that the right technique for you is available. Ask the doctor about what technique will be used if this is important to you.

The value of chiropractic care in formulating a total strategy for health and well-being is immense. The key is finding a doctor of chiropractic whose philosophy, values, and personality are compatible with yours.

Remember that wellness requires you to be a proactive agent for your body. You need to treat it well and not wait until you hurt before you decide to take care of it. As we’ve said before health is not merely the absence of disease any more than wealth is an absence of poverty. Let’s remember health is not simply “feeling good” for we know that problems may progress for years without causing any symptoms whatsoever. You are well aware that heart disease for example, often develops unnoticed for many years before it strikes: in fact, the first symptom of heart disease is a heart attack or death. The spine’s health follows a similar pattern, conditions develop gradually, frequently without symptoms until one day when you bend over to pick up the keys on the floor and your back “goes out”, leaving you completely debilitated with pain and muscle spasm, unable to move. That back problem however has been developing possibly for years and unfortunately had gone unchecked, until that moment in time when you are now suffering excruciating pain and spasm and unable to move. Proper chiropractic wellness care can prevent those type of serious problems from happening.

With regards to your wellness, the three main ideas that we really want to emphasize . . .
1. Health is not merely the absence of disease.

2. By living a wellness lifestyle you can enrich your life with vibrant health.

3. The body has an innate intelligence that controls a vast series of complex systems in your body that rely on proper balance and coordination in order to function correctly. Chiropractic can positively and directly influence that control by maintaining a properly functioning nervous system through keeping the vertebra properly aligned and free of any nerve pressure.

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