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Care

Chiropractic, Our Hands on Health Care

The flexible tube, that houses and protects our spinal cord and the nerves that extend from it, deserves lifelong safety. Sadly, most people exceed the spine’s stress bearing ability hence subluxations are common to the human condition.

 Simply stated subluxations may consist of:

- Bones shifting out of ideal alignment
- Vertebral joints losing their normal range of motion
- Interference with normal nerve transmission.

Ideally, the right management of subluxations may improve/restore alignment, normal ranges of motion, and normal nerve transmission. Many of the millions of failed medical patients who later respond well to chiropractic care, bear testimony that drugs and/or surgery do not correct subluxations.

The sites of very long-term, vertebral fixations and misalignments often coincide with what apparently is subluxation-related degeneration. I use “degeneration” in the sense of premature continuing aging of a body part. Prolonged neglect may make it impossible to reverse that harm.

Rather than “leave it to see how it goes”, the management of choice includes early care to locate and to adjust the subluxation/s. Chiropractic has over a hundred years of unique practice experiences in developing techniques to locate and adjust subluxations, creating a rich diversity of individual chiropractic techniques within the profession.

Chiropractors do not control outcomes of care. Within the chiropractic profession, a common outcome “guesstimate” is 80-10-10. 80% of patients may have very satisfactory outcomes, 10% may have moderate improvement and 10% stay about the same or may continue to get worse.

Like most of the chiropractors that I know, I have received adjustments more frequently than my patients have. I am not concerned if science has, or has not rigorously tested the advantages/disadvantages of lifelong chiropractic care. Personally, it has worked, it gets results and to me, that is what counts.

As a chiropractor, my first tasks with a new patient consist of:

- Listening to what ails the patient 
- Looking to see if theirs is a subluxation related disorder 
- Telling the patient what I found 
- Speculating what the outcome of care may be

How often subluxations should be adjusted is of interest to most patients. Occasionally I use daily adjustments when managing subluxation-related severe pain. Many new patients have an acute upset in a longer-term disorder without severe pain. During a trial period, we can define the worth of care by using a 3 or 4-week trial period of 3 visits a week over 3 weeks with a review visit. We say farewell if I feel chiropractic will not help the patient or I am under patient pressure to perform miracles.

From the outset, it is made very clear to patients that they may discontinue care as and when it suits them. There is no guarantee that adjusting subluxations will bring about a cure of anything.

“The chiropractor does not set out to cure or relieve a particular ailment. What he sets out to do is, to ensure that the spinal column is functioning normally. If a particular ailment clears up, or is relieved following the therapy, so much the better.” (Chiropractic in New Zealand, Report 1979)

When I locate subluxations, I look for indicators of joint fixation around the spine and pelvic joints. When I examine a patient, we feel and discuss sensations associated with joint restriction, tension, tenderness and/or pain. We compare that with what we feel in the area of other joints. In most instances, we mutually agree about these indicators.

“Palpation” refers to that interactive examination. ‘Motion palpation’ refers to using patient movement to find joint fixations. Re-examination after a chiropractic adjustment may demonstrate that some of these multiple indicators of subluxations are reduced. Subsequent visits involve re-examination, adjusting and comparative examination.

The patient and I feel the indicators, I adjust the subluxations, and we re-feel the indicators. Generally, after we locate and I adjust those mechanical impairments, we share a high level of consensus about the indicators that were present before and immediately after the adjustment. Our consensus about comparative outcomes at each visit permits us to gauge ongoing progress.

What happens after we locate and I adjust a subluxation is governed by the power that heals the body.

During the first phase of care, most subluxation related symptoms fluctuate and eventually reduce. By the end of the trial period, in most instances, if there is no improvement at all or the symptoms have increased, we cease care.

During the initial examination, at the report of findings and subsequent visits, the patient and I may discuss probable relationships between what malfunctions we found on examination and what emotional, physical and/or chemical stresses may have initiated and could continue to contribute to their subluxations.

If the patient elects to continue care, visit frequency reduces and rehabilitation may incorporate a return to increased activity and exposure to recommended exercises. The patient may be advised to; "Do what you can with comfort and avoid doing whatever causes discomfort."

Patients learn by experience how exceeding their spine’s stress-bearing tolerance, demonstrates the difference between how they feel when they are “out of adjustment” compared to when they are “in adjustment”. Incurring these symptoms may encourage patients to avoid excessive stress loadings.

Continuing chiropractic care as an integral part of your overall health care may assist to avoid or minimize subluxation related symptoms. A desired outcome of chiropractic is to aid patients to either minimize or eradicate subluxations. 

Acquiring subluxations and retaining them is an illness-oriented choice just as staying in adjustment is a health choice. I recommend staying “in adjustment” through lifelong, regular chiropractic care. What you choose is up to you.

Best Wishes,

Michael McKibbin and Staff

 

Your Chiropractor

Michael McKibbin passed his Iowa Basic Science and graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport Iowa.

Since then both wonderful staff and patients have contributed toward decades of valued experience in his family practice.

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October 2010
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