By Dr. Tammy Stenberg, D.C.
The word Chiropractic actually means “done by hand”. It is derived from the words “chiro” which means hand and “praxis” which means to do. It was discovered by a man named D.D Palmer back in the late 1800’s. So the practice of chiropractic has gone through over a hundred years of evolution and has become one of the most scientifically proven, evidence based method of natural healing that is practiced today in our country.
I grew up in a big city in the southern part of the Canadian province Alberta. My parents believed in standard westernized medicine and as children anytime my brothers and I need to go to the doctor my mom would take us to the well trusted and experienced family doctor. Luckily my whole family was, and is, relatively very healthy. My parents were great examples of what a healthy lifestyle was. We always had wonderful food and we were active as a family with all kinds of outdoor activities. Life was good. But none of us were ever really exposed to any different types of medicine. However, going back to the 70’s and 80’s and even 90’s chiropractors especially were far and few between! Not like today where we see offices practically on every street. The profession as a whole was grossly misunderstood and the word was “cracking backs” was simply scary! People were afraid of what they didn’t understand. Being a very active person with an adventurous spirit, I had my share of painful episodes with my own body through the years. Lumbar disc herniation, severely pinched sciatic nerve, and misaligned vertebrae throughout my spine just like most people. But I was never aware of the benefits of chiropractic.
Eight years ago I became a licensed massage therapist in the state of Oregon. After practicing independently for about three years I realized there was more that I wanted to do for people. We are all walking miracles of life and as I dove into the medical program it all became so real to me how complicated and intricately designed each of us truly are. Each person is the same on inside but oh so very different all at the same time! As I learned and became more educated on the deepest details of the human body I realized that our nervous system is very fragile part of who we are and yet there are so many ways that dysfunction can occur within it. There are over 7 TRILLION individual nerves in the human body that arise from the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord! The brain holds 12 pairs of cranial nerves that allow us to smell, see, hear, taste, smile, blink, swallow, talk, stick out our tongue, and many other actions. The brain turns into the spinal cord which houses 32 nerves that poke out through the vertebrae to then innervate, or connect with every single cell in our body! Isn’t that amazing?? The problem is when these senstive nerve fibers get pinched or irritated for one reason or another because negatively impacts the function and vitality of the area that it affects.
The training that individuals go through to becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic is a vigourous and intense four year medical program. There are many hours spent learning about the bones and the joints of the body, the direction of their movement and how to contact each and every one in order remove any interference of those sensitive nerve tracks. Also the relationship that tight, contracted, guarded muscles have on moving the bones and how it affects the movement of the body over time. Will the chiropractor really “crack” my bones? Its not the bones that are cracking its the gas that is introduced into the new space that is created within the joint cavity in between the bones that can sometimes make a “popping” sound. There should be no worry if this happens and most frequently it provides alot of relief for a patient. There are different chiropractic methods that get the same job done just using different techniques. Low force techniques that are used by some chiropractors include the Activator Method and Sacro Occipital Technique. They provide the same adjustment as a high velocity low amplitude (HVLA) technique so it is important for the patient to communicate any concerns or questions with their chiropractic doctor.
Choosing to have a Chiropractor as your doctor is one of the best choices a person can make for themselves. Most chiropractors will spend the extra time to listen and desires to enhance their patients overall well being from all levels. I think it is safe to say that each of us wants to be healthy, and our bodies want that too! Chiropractic has the ability to open your door to living a long, happy, pain free life. Give it a try.