Spathis Chiropractic

How Chiropractic Works

Dr. Peter C. Spathis
Chiropractor Howell MI
903 E. Clinton St., Howell MI
(517) 552-0890

How Our Chiropractic Treatments Work

Chiropractors use a variety of techniques to help correct problems associated with the structure and function of the spine and extremities. To better understand how this is done, it is helpful to review some basic anatomy. The spine is composed of a number of vertebrae - 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae and 5 lumbar vertebrae - as well as the sacrum and coccyx (or "tailbone"). Each of these spinal segments can have multiple points of articulation with the adjacent segments as well as other body structures such as the skull, ribs and pelvis. In addition to their own important functions, the spine, along with these other bony structures, provide a connection point for other parts of our skeletal system such as our arms and legs (which, of course, are made up of multiple bones, each with their own points of articulation). These articulations (or "joints") are connected together with ligaments and are able to move when muscles crossing over them contract. The muscles themselves attach onto the bones through tendons and contract when given a signal that travels through nerves that come from the brain, travel down the spinal column and leave the spine at specfic levels to go to various parts of the body. (There are some nerves that come directly from the brain without going through the spine (cranial nerves) but that is beyond the scope of our current discussion.) Considering the complexity of this system of nerves, muscles and bones (our "neuromusculoskeletal" system), it is no wonder that problems can develop!

Sometimes joints may not be able to freely move due to problems such as scar tissue accumulation, joint degeneration or muscle spasm. In certain cases the spinal discs between the vertebrae may bulge or "herniate" and put pressure on spinal nerves. Sprain and strain injuries to the ligaments and tendons discussed earlier can not only cause pain but also affect the function of the spinal or extremity segment they are associated with. With this information we can finally answer the question of how a chiropractor can help relieve pain and restore function.

Chiropractors use different forms of spinal or extremity manipulation (chiropractic adjustments) - either hands-on or instrument assisted - to help restore joint movement and function. In addition to adjustments, some chiropractors (such as our office) will use soft tissue techniques to help break apart scar tissue adhesions that may limit joint movement and function, where appropriate, or physical therapy modalities such as mechanical traction to assist in reducing internal spinal disc pressure and helping to treat spinal disc herniations. Ultimately, a chiropractor can offer a structural/mechanical solution to the structural/mechanical causes of musculoskeletal problems such as back pain, neck pain, herniated discs, sciatica, cervicogenic headaches and more. To us, this is a more logical approach than just using medication to address pain, inflammation or muscle spasm without also addressing the underlying cause symptoms and dysfunction.