Healthy Senior Couple

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the word "chiropractic" mean?

Chiropractic is made from the combination of two old Greek words; "cheiro" –meaning THE HAND and "practikos" –meaning TO BE DONE. Therefore chiropractic means "to be done by the hand". This name was chosen by the founder of chiropractic, Dr Daniel David Palmer to describe this new healing art he discovered in 1895. The chiropractor's hands are skilled in assessment and treatment. Mechanial adjustment devices have no place in such an original delicate hands-on approach.

What is the principle behind chiropractic practice?

The World Federation of Chiropractic describes Chiropractic and Chiropractors as: A health profession since 1895 concerned with the diagnosis, management and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system and central nervous system and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health.The major site of these mechanical disorders is called the Subluxation Complex where the nerves exit the spinal column and its biomechanical influences on proprioceptive input and cord-based pain modulation are linked with spinal joint fixation. (see The Subluxation Reality column below)

Dr Mechler In ActionHow does a chiropractor correct the nerve interference?

Your chiropractor will examine the spinal column with X-ray pictures, with instrumentation and physically for these misalignments (designated "subluxations"). Once found, he’ll treat the subluxations by giving an adjustment using a low-force technique on his special state-of-the-art table. This will re-establish the correct alignment and thereby starting a course of care that will retrain the muscles and ligaments to help restore proper nerve supply, function and harmony to the body and brain. Research in Neurophysiology now proves that adjustments have a positive influence on brain function. Re-organising abnormal neurological patterns to allow the inherent recuperative powers of the body to work at their peak.

What training does a Chiropractor receive?

Chiropractic colleges require a prospective student to have two years of pre-professional training prior to starting a doctor of chiropractic course. This would make a total study period of five and half to six years (depending on the country) for a course of study that covers 4,500 hours, which matches the exact same subjects as a medical doctor but with special emphasis placed on the study of the spinal column and nervous system. There is also a two year Intern Program in the clinic setting where the student chiropractor hones his technique skills under supervision. When these students graduate their diploma will rightly state that he/she has earned a "Doctor of Chiropractic " degree.

What's the difference between Chiropractic/Physiotherapy/Osteopathy?

All three professions certainly focus on the improvement of your health, There is a lot of variation in how all three practice. As a general rule, chiropractors work to correct and restore the body's ability to maintain itself through a healthy nervous system. They do this by manipulating the spinal vertebrae to to remove nervous system interference. Chiropractic treatment usually involves manipulation of the spine, corrective exercise and often corrective nutrition.

The physiotherapists I work with focus more on the local area of injury. For instance, stabilizing the injury with tape, reducing with ice and ultrasound, and assisting rehabilitation with exercise and soft tissue therapies.

Although there are many similarities between osteopathy and chiropractic, osteopaths tend to work a little differently. For instance, they don't usually use X-ray to assess the spine and their emphasis is typically more on muscle and joints than on the nervous system. Osteopaths in my experience include a lot of soft tissue therapy, such as massage in their treatments, as well a more generalized mobilizing of the spine.

The Subluxation Reality

Most people think that the first sign of spinal pain is the start of a problem and then they go and see the chiropractor. Actually that pain, unless it's pain from a trauma, is the ''last straw" in a long line of straws. It's similar to you putting on the kettle for a cuppa. The kettle needs to heat up before it finally whistles. Your body lives with nerve and joint insults until damage builds up and it then says "Ouch"!

While Chiropractors mainly stress the organic and glandular consequences of spinal misalignment that affects the nervous system (see the chart on the left), there is a more destructive element involved as well. It starts when a spinal vertebra has been knocked, pulled or twisted out of alignment and gets stuck. That's when a gradual evolution of damage begins as that segment has become non-functional or as mentioned in the FAQs above: subluxated.

We all know that joints need movement to stay in good shape and stimulate the production of Synovial Fluid to keep them gliding smoothly. However, once subluxated, the vertebra gets "locked down"and those four joints found on the top and bottom of each vertebra stop moving. Then slowly but surely the joints starts to deteriorate. This is the process:

After 3 days, synovial fluid stops being produced.

After 3 weeks, the lack of fresh fluid has caused the joint to dry and stiffness ensues. Nerve root pressure builds, no pain yet. (Research proves that pressure of a 10 cent piece can drop nerve flow by 60%)

After 6 weeks, cartilage surface cracks and pits can be seen microscopically. Nerve function is further affected to organs and glands in the vicinity.

After 3 months, cartilage surface damage can be seen with the naked eye. Nerve root inflammation starts to cause discomfort.

After 6 months, further damage as the joint cartilage surface roughens and now pain makes itself known and arthritis sets in. Protective muscle stiffness and aching becomes constant around the vertebra. It's an ''OUCH'' you can't ignore!

It makes serious sense not to ignore pain when it comes as this can be the tip-of-the-iceberg.

Autonomic Nervous System

Autonomic Nervous System Chart