The founder of chiropractic, Daniel David Palmer (aka D.D. Palmer), opened the very first school of chiropractic, called Palmer College of Chiropractic, in Davenport, IA in 1897. There he taught his healing techniques and eventually expanded the college to multiple cities all while raising awareness of the benefits of chiropractic. Since then, chiropractic has spread far and wide as a viable non-invasive treatment for many ailments.
D.D. Palmer is also noteworthy for pioneering the methodology of chiropractic known as the Palmer Method. The Palmer method involves combining several different techniques for more efficient healing. Let’s go over each of the techniques and the basic principles behind them so you know what to expect at your next chiropractic visit.
The Gonstead Method
The Gonstead Method is centered around the idea that the body’s foundation is the pelvic girdle. When this structure is normal, balance and stability are also normal. However, if any of the vertebrae become misaligned, changes will be prevalent throughout the whole body. The original philosophy behind this method is to find the misalignment, correct it, and leave it be unless it causes further problems.
The Diversified Technique
One of the most common techniques used by modern chiropractors, the Diversified Technique employs the methods you might imagine when you think of the term “chiropractic.” Its objective is to restore proper mobility and range of motion via “high velocity and low amplitude” thrusts within each individual joint that’s affected.
The Thompson Technique
This technique involves something called the Thompson Drop Table, a specialized treatment table that has segments that “drop” with the portion of the body being treated during high velocity, low amplitude thrusts. The table facilitates joint movement and is considered a gentle healing technique.
The Activator Method
The Activator Method is the 2nd most common technique used in chiropractic care. It’s unlike traditional spinal manipulation because it uses a small tool called the “Activator Adjusting Instrument” in order to administer force on a specific, single, targeted vertebra. In other words, if chiropractic were surgery, the adjusting instrument is a scalpel.
The Sacro-Occipital Technique
This technique gets its name by combining two areas of the spine: the very bottom (sacrum) and the very top (occiput). It came about when an engineer, Major Bertrand DeJarnette, suffered a major injury and received chiropractic treatment. He applied his engineering expertise to chiropractic, stressing the importance of indicators and patterns within the body, acknowledging that pain in one area could be caused by misalignments in another. Using this method allows chiropractors to know when spinal corrections are not enough so they can employ other methods.
The Toggle Recoil Technique
Toggle Recoil is a technique that was invented by BJ Palmer, the son of D.D. Palmer, in 1910. It corrects the upper cervical vertebra (in the neck) without twisting or bending the neck and is considered a gentle healing technique. The use of a drop table is required so the chiropractor can use minimal force with extreme precision and maximum results.
Schedule a Chiropractic Appointment
Dr. Petrak was trained at the Palmer College of Chiropractic and uses the Palmer Method every day to help patients live healthier and happier lives. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!
Getting chiropractic care while pregnant has many benefits. Your entire body is making room for the growing life inside of you, which means that things will shift around; nerves will get pinched, subluxations (aka misalignments) in the spine will become more prevalent, leading to back and neck pain, nausea and other common negative side effects associated with pregnancy. Let’s examine the benefits of getting chiropractic care during different stages of pregnancy in greater detail.
Benefits of Chiropractic During Pregnancy
First things first, you should always inform your chiropractor that you are pregnant if you are seeking care. It will significantly change the treatment regimen to ensure the safety of yourself and your child.
Seeking chiropractic treatment during your pregnancy is a safe and extremely beneficial method for relieving side effects in addition to preparing the body for a smooth birth and shorter labor. One of the main alignments we look at during pregnancy is the pelvis.
A misaligned pelvis can be particularly troublesome during pregnancy. It reduces the amount of space the baby has to develop and can complicate delivery by making it difficult for the baby to get into the head-down birth position. Moreover, a misaligned pelvis can communicate with the nervous system to cause discomfort throughout the rest of the body. Chiropractic care will properly align the pelvis so the baby has enough room to come out naturally and reduce the amount of time in labor.
Chiropractic care can also help relieve some of the everyday symptoms experienced during pregnancy, like nausea, morning sickness, and fatigue. Chiropractic has proven to be effective at treating these symptoms as spinal realignments improve your overall nervous system function.
Can a Chiropractor Induce Labor?
If the soon-to-be-mother experiences extremely long labor before birth, a chiropractor can help to facilitate the birthing process. Through precise techniques, chiropractic will loosen the joints and muscles in and surrounding the pelvis to allow for a wider birth canal, making it less painful and minimizing the risk of birthing complications such as breech deliveries.
Women who practice yoga, pilates, or are avid runners/fitness enthusiasts tend to benefit the most from chiropractic during pregnancy because they tend to have strong, tighter muscles that take extra effort to loosen up. However, keep in mind that having a first-time adjustment during labor won’t be a helpful option. Chiropractic trains the body through intermittent adjustments over extended periods of time. It’s not a magical cure-all for long labors, so if the patient has never had an adjustment before they go into labor, it likely won’t have any effect.
Generally speaking, regular chiropractic adjustments during pregnancy and before labor will more than likely negate the need for having a chiropractor present during delivery. On average, mothers who receive chiropractic care during their pregnancy have a 24% shorter labor period. Taking precautions by seeking a chiropractor to prepare the body for birth makes for an easier, smoother process altogether.
Benefits of Chiropractic After Giving Birth
Having a chiropractor after birth is also beneficial to help get on the right track to getting in shape and feeling good about yourself. Chiropractic will make sure your body is properly aligned so you can heal faster and get your body back to the state it was prior to your pregnancy.
Patients often experience changes in their posture resulting from their pregnancy. This can be especially prevalent after giving birth as many parents tend to hunch and leand over while caring for their child. This can lead to further misalignment issues and experiencing pain in the back and neck.
Petrak Family Chiropractic Center is Here to Care for You and Your Baby’s Health
If you’re pregnant, no matter what trimester, it’s beneficial to have adjustments at any time to make for an easier birthing process. Get in touch today to schedule a consultation!
Can a Chiropractor Help with Sciatica?
It’s widely known how prevalent lower back pain is with an estimated 25% of all Americans experiencing lower back pain at any given point in time. For many of those people, however, the pain doesn’t stop at the lower back. If you experience lower back pain that extends down the length of each leg, you might be suffering from sciatica. Let’s take a closer look at what sciatica is, what causes it, and how chiropractic can help treat sciatica.
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition that causes pain in the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back, branching at the buttocks and all the way down each leg. Typically, sciatica will only affect one side of the body with the pain shooting through the back of the thigh and throughout the leg. Occasionally, it can also affect the feet or even the toes. Although it’s sometimes described as a disorder, sciatica is actually more of a symptom of other disorders. The severity really depends on the person. In some cases, the pain is constant and completely debilitating but in others, the pain could be occasional and annoying at worst. Even if the pain isn’t all that bad now, if left untreated, it has significant potential to become much worse.
Chiropractic care is the safest, non-invasive and drug-free way to treat sciatica. But in order to understand the connection between sciatica and chiropractic, we first have to understand what causes the condition.
What Causes Sciatica?
The causes of sciatica vary, but there are a number of disorders and conditions that can trigger the pain at any time, including:
How Does Chiropractic Help With Sciatica?
The majority of disorders that cause sciatica start with subluxations (aka misalignments in the spine). Since sciatica is merely a symptom of a larger issue, chiropractors don’t necessarily treat sciatica — they treat the root issue of the cause.
At Petrak Family Chiropractic Center, we use several different adjusting techniques. There are a few different types of traction (to help take pressure off of the disc), and/or soft tissue release techniques to relax some of the musculature around the problem area. These techniques and modalities are dependent on the exam and my findings. We start by properly diagnosing what’s causing the sciatica since this factor will drastically change the treatment method. Once a cause is determined, we’ll create a customized treatment plan specifically tailored to the patient’s needs.
If you or a loved one suffer from the nerve pain of sciatica, it’s important to get it checked out before it becomes a debilitating issue. Get in touch today to schedule an initial consultation and to start down the road to a healthier you.
6 Common Chiropractic Myths
If you’re one of the millions of people who experience back and neck pain, you’ve likely considered getting chiropractic care. Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions about chiropractic care that often prevent people from seeking care. This is most likely due to misinformation about how chiropractic care actually works, the methods that are utilized, and a lack of knowledge about the schooling that chiropractors go through to be able to practice.
Here are 6 of the most common chiropractic myths and the truths behind them.
Myth 1: Chiropractors Only Treat Back Pain
While back pain is one of the most common problems chiropractors treat, the truth is that they treat a wide variety of conditions. A chiropractor takes many similar courses to traditional medical students including anatomy, neurology, pathology, and biochemistry. They know more about the human body than just the spine, but through their practice, they acknowledge the significance that spinal strength can play in overall wellbeing. The spine is connected to the nervous system, so pinched nerves and other issues can produce symptoms in other parts of the body.
Here are just a few common conditions that can be neutralized by comprehensive chiropractic care:
Myth 2: Chiropractors Aren't As Educated As Physicians
As previously stated, not only do chiropractors take similar university courses when compared to traditional medical students, but they also are licensed and qualified graduates to serve as health care providers in the United States and other countries. Chiropractic school is rigorous and at the completion of the Doctor of Chiropractic degree, students must then pass a four-part national board exam to obtain their licenses. From there, chiropractors continue to attend regular seminars on the latest research and techniques.
Myth 3: Chiropractic Costs A Lot Of Money
The truth is that chiropractic care is often less expensive than most other types of medical visits and the majority of health insurance plans cover chiropractic care expenses. Check with your insurance provider if chiropractic care is covered in your plan.
At Petrak Family Chiropractic Center, we will sit down with you to go over all of the exact costs, examine your health benefits, and work with your insurance provider regarding the details of your coverage. You will be aware of every cost, at all times and any out-of-pocket cost will be discussed prior to treatment. We want our patients to be completely comfortable, and part of that means complete transparency when it comes to costs.
Myth 4: Chiropractic Adjustments are Dangerous or Painful
While all medical procedures have some degree of risk to them, the risks associated with chiropractic care are low as the procedures are less invasive than other forms of medicine. Chiropractic care is a natural form of medicine and is much safer than other types of pain management like painkillers or steroids. Most patients experience immediate pain relief following an adjustment. The most common side effect of chiropractic adjustments is soreness which is similar to the soreness you might experience from working out after a long break. Any soreness should resolve on its own within a few days.
During adjustments, “cracking” or “popping” sounds may be heard. The myth that chiropractic care is painful or dangerous stems from the belief that these sounds come from bones rubbing together. In actuality, these sounds come from air bubbles popping around the joints similar to when you crack your knuckles and are completely normal.
Myth 5: Chiropractic Care is Only for Adults
Chiropractic care is a safe and effective treatment for patients of all ages. In fact, chiropractic care for children can be especially effective as their bones and body grow to help reduce the number of spinal issues they have later in life. For children who are active in sports and other physical activities, chiropractic is an effective form of injury prevention and recovery.
Myth 6: Chiropractic Care is a Lifetime Commitment
One of the biggest misconceptions about chiropractic is that, once you start chiropractic care, you need to keep going back for the rest of your life. The truth is that you are ultimately in control of when and how often you choose to get treatment. How often you visit the chiropractor will mostly depend on your overall spinal health. If you have severe spinal issues, your chiropractor may recommend regular check-ups. However, if you’re recovering from an injury, you may only require a certain number of adjustments before treatment is no longer needed.
At Petrak Family Chiropractic Center, we’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan that’s targeted to your individual needs. Some patients may choose to have regular maintenance appointments because of chiropractic’s health benefits, but this is not a requirement.
Contact Us with Any Questions About Chiropractic Care
These are just a few of the most common myths about chiropractic, but others still persist. Seeking any new kind of medical care can often cause concerns, but it’s important to separate fact from fiction. If you have any questions about chiropractic care, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.
2022 Back Pain Statistics by the Numbers
Chronic back pain is a serious affliction that can greatly impact both your physical and mental health. Back pain affects millions of people worldwide each year and while there are numerous causes to each case, one thing is certain; roughly 25% of Americans experience chronic lower back pain at any given point in time, according to the CDC. Far too many people turn to harmful painkillers for relief, unaware that there are sufficient, drug-free alternatives. While painkillers can provide temporary relief of symptoms, they don’t address the cause of the problems. It’s important to recognize how common chronic back pain is in order to raise awareness about feasible, non-invasive, and drug-free remedies such as chiropractic care.
Back Pain Facts and Figures
Most Common Causes of Back Pain
Fitness level: back pain is more common in those that don’t exercise very often. Regular exercise helps to strengthen the core muscles that support the spine. Even going for a walk every day will help in maintaining spinal health.
Rapid weight gain: obesity and sudden weight gain can put a lot of stress on the spine and neck.
Smoking: smoking restricts oxygen flow to the spinal tissue.
Inactive lifestyle: desk jobs with uncomfortable seats or those with poor posture are more susceptible to back pain.
Genetic disorders: arthritis and other genetic disorders can be at play when it comes to back pain.
Bulging or ruptured disks: since these disks are protective cushions for the vertebrae, ruptured or bulging ones can cause nerve pain within the spine.
Improper lifting: always lift with your legs, not your back. Repetitive, strenuous, and improper movement will put you at a higher risk for back pain.
Back Pain Treatment
If you suffer from back pain, don’t delay in seeking treatment. Petrak Family Chiropractic offers many variations of chiropractic care for treating back pain at any age. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Why Is It Important to Ease into an Exercise Program?
Working out and maintaining strength is critical for reducing back pain and stress. When back and abdominal muscles are weak, they cannot support the back properly. Back strengthening exercises help reinforce supportive muscles around the spine that prevent straining and increase range of motion. If it’s been a while since you last worked out, you might be eager to rush back into exercising with the hope of quickly achieving your goals. However, rushing into exercise after a period of inactivity can sometimes do more harm than good.
Jumping straight into an advanced workout routine is an easy way to cause injury and delay your overall goals even further. Whether you’re completely new to exercise or are recovering from an injury, it’s important to ease into a new exercise program so your body has time to adapt to the increased exertion exercise demands. Here are a few tips on how to ease back into exercise to get you started.
Slow And Steady Wins The Race
Keep it short and sweet — the key is being active on a regular schedule. You don’t need to be a super athlete each day, especially if you're recovering from an injury. Go for a light jog even just twice per week and ramp it up from there over time. Be sure to listen to your body - pain is an indicator that you are pushing yourself too hard.
Once you’ve started to get used to exercising, you can start gradually ramping up the difficulty and intensity of your workouts. Start in small increments, like adding time to certain exercises or incorporating new variations of your exercises into your routine. The goal is to ease yourself back into exercising without injuring yourself but to also not be so slow that you don’t see any progress.
Always Warm-Up And Cool-Down
A proper warm-up prepares your body for the increase in activity in a natural and healthy way. Stretching is also a must. Stretching keeps you limber and strengthens the muscles to facilitate healthy recovery and avoid serious injury, especially if you’ve been sedentary for a long time. If you have a desk job or work from home, you can try some at-home stretching exercises during the day to help keep you limber.
Just as warming up is important, so is cooling down. You will likely experience DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) on your fitness journey. This is completely normal and warming up/cooling down will help mitigate this from happening.
Don’t Lose Motivation
Set realistic goals for yourself. Start with small, easily attainable goals to keep yourself feeling accomplished and motivated. Motivation can wane if you start to feel discouraged or lazy. Take your gym bag to work and go straight to the gym instead of stopping by home. Make working out a part of your daily routine. The first few weeks will be difficult but once it becomes a habit, you will enjoy exercising even more.
Having a formal workout plan can also help you stay on track. Start by assessing your fitness goals. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, increase muscle mass, or increase your stamina, a plan can help you stay motivated to achieve those goals. Consider consulting with a doctor or personal trainer to better assess your goals and develop a plan from there.
Make Sure You’re Good-To-Go Before Starting
Ultimately, your chiropractor is the best resource you have when it comes to injury recovery. A good chiropractor can expedite the recovery process and constantly monitor and consult with you to make sure you’re properly prepared to continue the activities you love.
Consult with your chiropractor to find out if you’re ready to get back into a rigorous workout routine, or get in touch today for an initial appointment!
Why You Should See A Chiropractor After a Car Accident
Note: ALWAYS inform your chiropractor if you’ve recently been in any sort of accident or if you’re pregnant — it will drastically change your treatment plan!
Being in a car accident is terrifying no matter what the circumstances might be. The best outcome you can hope for is to walk away with no injuries. If you’re unfortunate enough to sustain even minor injuries, chiropractic care is your best friend on the road to recovery. It is designed to heal many injuries that typically result from car accidents. Despite the severity of the crash, it’s a good idea to see a chiropractor afterward — even if you feel fine in the moment. Here’s why:
As noted above, chiropractic is perfect for injuries sustained by car accidents — whiplash, muscle injuries, back and neck pains, strains and spinal subluxations just to name a few. It is great for treating soft tissue injuries, which even small-scale accidents can cause. Minor fender benders can cause serious whiplash or other injuries to be discovered at a later time. In the event of a car accident, your adrenaline will skyrocket and you may not even notice that your body took damage that disallows your usual range of motion, increases your pain levels, causes tingling in the extremities and leads to serious problems later in life. A good chiropractor will know exactly what to look for during your initial examinations and while planning your treatment regimen. Be sure to tell you chiropractor that you were recently in an accident so they know to adjust accordingly.
In certain extreme circumstances, surgery is inevitable. However, if costly and invasive surgery is at all avoidable, consult with a chiropractor before making any big decisions. It’s a non-invasive way of speeding up the recovery process, meaning you won’t have to interrupt your busy work/life schedule, you don’t need to go through tedious post-surgery recovery, and you’ll hopefully avoid the need for costly and often-dangerous prescription pain medications. Even in cases where surgery is necessary, seeing a chiropractor makes for great physical therapy and will increase the rate of recovery by strengthening your muscles to get back to their former selves even quicker. It’s the ideal supplement to surgery.
No Pain Medications
Say you get into an accident but don’t suffer immediate, emergency-causing pain. You think you’re fine but suddenly a few days or a few weeks later you’re getting sharp back pain or neck pain that wasn’t present before. Your first reaction might be to take pain medication, but that only treats the symptoms, not the source! If you suffer from any sort of pain, it’s well past due to see a chiropractor. The pain indicative of deeper injury and, depending on the severity, can cause issues later on. Pain pills can be expensive and aren’t effective for long-term health. Chiropractic care will target the root of the problem. It not only treats your current pain but will help your body become strong enough to protect itself from future harm. Additionally, you’ll be steering clear of America’s opioid epidemic.
No matter the severity of your accident, it’s always a good idea to schedule a consultation to be safe — even just for a checkup! Chiropractic is focused on long-term pain relief and core strength, so if you or a loved one have unexplainable pain and have been in an accident, make an appointment today!
Updated January 2022
How to Stay Flexible as You Age
Many people assume that as you age, your physical capabilities become limited. While it’s true that the elderly are generally more fragile and likely to hurt themselves from slips and falls, it’s not true that your quality and way of life has to change just because you’re aging.
By taking care of your body throughout your life, you both prepare it for aging while maintaining your abilities. With the addition of consistent chiropractic care to complement exercise and a healthy diet, you can preserve your range of motion, improve your balance, and keep yourself strong and limber for years and years to come.
Can Seniors Receive Chiropractic Care?
A common misconception is that the elderly can’t receive chiropractic care because it’s too intensive on the body. The truth is that chiropractic care works the same regardless of age; everyone from infants to octogenarians can benefit from chiropractic care, which is always tailored to your specific needs. In fact, chiropractic care strengthens your body and makes it more resilient and flexible.
Chiropractic care for the elderly is treated according to your individual needs. If any treatment is painful for you, it will be adjusted just as it would be for an injured athlete, a pregnant mother, or a person recovering from a surgery.
Why Should Seniors Consider Chiropractic?