Corrective chiropractors work with the nervous system which is made up of the brain and spinal cord. Our brain is the master controller of the body- this is what tells our heart to beat, our lungs to breathe, and even for our food to digest. The brain also controls any pain signals, numbness, tingling, and temperature differences. Our brain is our power station similar to the power stations that supply our homes with electricity. From there, nerve impulses travel from the brain, down the spinal cord and out to the rest of the body. This is similar to electricity traveling through the transformer, into the house, circuit breaker, through wires, to the lamp wires, which then lights the light bulb. If the wiring in the house is bad, you can flip the switch on and off 100 times, but the light bulb will never light up. In a similar sense, if your nervous system has interference, your brain can tell your body to do something a 100 times, and if there is this interference, the body will not respond. Dr. Doug is a corrective chiropractor in Land O' Lakes who tracks down these interferences in the nervous system, corrects them, and then the body is able to heal.
Many people ask us how these misalignments occur. Nowadays, we spend a lot more time seated at desks staring at a computer all day. This alone puts the spine under a lot of physical stress. We also consider bigger accidents like car accidents, sports injuries, major falls, and even birth trauma.
Normal structure for the spine is to be nice and straight from the front with level hips, but from the side there are three perfect curves- one in the neck, mid back, and low back. Many people understand that major misalignments called scoliosis can cause extreme pain and can cause other body systems to have complications. What a lot of people don’t realize is that smaller misalignments also play a role in our overall health. According to the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research, 2013, “76% of those patients reported a mental/emotional improvement as well as positive changes in stress and life enjoyment over a period of several months following chiropractic care.” Some benefits of corrective chiropractic care include correcting spinal misalignments, relieving nerve compression, alleviating pain, reducing headaches, improving quality of sleep, boosting the immune system, and reducing stress- just to name a few.
One of the things our patients at Up North Wellness frequently ask is, "I’m feeling so much better- my headaches and numbness in my hands is gone—I know my sister would benefit from corrective chiropractic but she’s in another state. How can she find a doctor that specializes in corrective chiropractic if she doesn’t live here in the Land O’ Lakes or Vilas County area?” After being asked this a few times, we put together a list of questions to ask a doctor of chiropractic before you start care to see if they actually perform corrective chiropractic care. If they answer at least 5 of these questions with a YES then you can be very confident that they are corrective doctors.
Alrighty- let’s talk intervertebral disc disease in dogs and cats. What a mouthful… this is also known as IVDD. When a pet has IVDD the disc (soft squishy cushion) that sits between the vertebrae (bones that protect the spinal cord) either bulges or bursts. When the disc herniates, it puts pressure on the nerves which can cause pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis. This is similar to when humans have a disc bulge or hernia in their back. Some of the symptoms of a dog or cat with IVDD include hesitancy or inability to jump (on the couch, bed, or even obstacles in agility training), pain/ weakness in the rear legs, crying in pain, anxious behavior, muscle spasms, reduced appetite, or even loss of bladder/ bowel control.
How is intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) diagnosed in dogs or cats? Certified chiropractors and/or veterinarians start by completing a neurologic exam which helps figure out what area of the spine is being affected. From there, x-rays can help determine if there is anything abnormal going on with the physical vertebrae of the spine. An x-ray can also show if the space between the vertebrae is smaller or shows signs of degeneration which would be an indicator that that area may be where the disc bulge is occurring. Based on that information, a certified chiropractor can actually check to see if there is restricted movement in that segment using motion palpation. If there is restricted movement, a gentle chiropractic adjustment can actually help to restore motion, take pressure off of the nerve, and allow fluid to get into that area to promote healing which oftentimes leads to a lessening in the severity of the symptoms. Along with chiropractic care, veterinarians may also recommend anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxers, and crate rest. After a couple of chiropractic adjustments the dog or cat may show signs that conservative care has been helpful. If the animal is able to walk better and wants to play more, if the muscle spasms improve and their appetite improves this would all be good indicators that conservative care was beneficial. If the dog or cat does not improve, more testing may be necessary starting with either a myelogram or MRI. Based on the severity of what the testing shows, surgery may be needed to open up the space by removing part of the vertebrae or disc which would take pressure off of the nerves. Surgery is for worst case scenarios. There are different stages of disc degeneration which is listed below: