Chiropractic Care for the TMJ and Jaw Pain

tmj x rayI have seen some great results when working with patients who have Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) symptoms including pain, popping, clicking, tenderness, tension, and difficulty chewing in and around the jaw area. I apply gentle adjustments to the joint itself and then work with the soft tissues that are involved with the TMJ. Two muscles responsible for motion of the jaw can be accessed superficially near the cheek and the temple at the side of the head. Two more sets of muscles can be accessed inside the mouth at the angle of the inner jaw. Using a gloved hand, I can apply pressure and motion to these muscles inside the patient’s mouth to release tension that is built up inside for great results.

It is common for people to posture and clench their jaw in times of increased stress. This can cause trigger points and adhesions in the muscles and really put a lot of extra pressure on the TMJ and even cause headaches. In times of stress, you can focus on deep abdominal breathing and specifically relax the jaw. Some simple exercises may help also including opening the jaw wide and closing. Then repeat these motions against the resistance of your hand to make it slightly more of a challenge.

Put your mouth through some resistance training.

Place your thumb underneath the center of your chin.

Open your mouth slowly by lowering your jaw, while applying steady light pressure to the bottom of your chin with your thumb.

Hold your mouth in the open position for 3 to 6 seconds, and then close your mouth slowly.

Repeat this exercise 3 to 6 times.

Exercise the joint in the opposite direction by providing resistance while closing your mouth.

Place your thumbs underneath your jaw and your index fingers on the joint of the jaw.

Push lightly with both your thumbs and your index fingers as you close your mouth.

Exercise your jaw with side-to-side movement.

Open your mouth and place an object that is less than 1/2-inch thick, such as a pencil or a popsicle stick, between your teeth.

Move your jaw slowly to one side, then the other.

Repeat this exercise several times, then choose a thicker object to place between your teeth when the exercise is no longer challenging.

Put the same item between your front teeth to exercise your jaw with a forward motion.

Slowly move your bottom jaw forward until your upper teeth are behind your lower teeth.

Repeat this exercise several times, again replacing the object with something thicker when the exercise seems too easy.

Other Tips:

  • To reduce the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ eat soft foods and do not chew gum or bite your fingernails.
  • Set your phone alarm to go off every hour to remind you to unclench and relax your jaw.
  • Moist heat, such as a warm, damp washcloth applied to your jaw, is helpful for TMJ pain.
  • Keep your tongue resting on the roof of your mouth with your teeth slightly apart. This helps you to relax a clenched jaw.


Chiropractic Care for Children

The following information is provided by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association.    

More and more parents are seeking chiropractic care for their children. Many spinal problems seen in adults began as early as birth. Even so called “natural” birthing methods can stress an infant’s spine and developing nerve system. The resulting irritation to the nerve system caused by spinal and cranial misalignment can be the cause of many newborn health complaints. Colic, breathing problems, nursing difficulties, sleep disturbances, allergic reactions and chronic infections can often be traced to nerve system stress.

Since significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns checked right away. As the infant grows, learning to hold up the head, sit, crawl and walk are all activities that affect spinal alignment and are important times to have a child checked by a Doctor of Chiropractic.

As the child begins to participate in regular childhood activities like skating or riding a bike, small yet significant spinal misalignments (subluxations) may occur. If neglected, the injuries during this period of rapid growth may lead to more serious problems later in life. Subtle trauma throughout childhood will affect the future development of the spine leading to impaired nervous system function. Any interference to the vital nerve system will adversely affect the body’s ability to function at its best.

One of the most common reasons parents seek care for their child is trauma from an injury of some sort. These misalignments may or may not result in immediate pain or symptoms. Regular chiropractic checkups can identify potential spinal injury from these traumas, make the correction early in life and help avoid many of the health complaints seen later in adults. Proper spinal hygiene is an important key to better health.

Another sought out reason for care is the resolution of a particular symptom or condition. Parents seek care for conditions such as colic, ear infections, asthma, allergies and headaches (to name a few) because they have heard from other parents that chiropractic care can help.

It is important to understand that the Doctor of Chiropractic does not treat conditions or diseases. The expertise of the chiropractor is in checking the child’s spine for misalignments that impair nervous system function therefore affecting overall body function. The bones of the spine, the vertebrae, house and protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord is an extension of the brain and carries information from the brain to the body parts and back to the brain again. Subluxations interfere with the nerves’ ability to transmit this vital information.

The nerve system controls and coordinates the function of all the systems in the body: circulatory, respiratory, digestive, hormonal, eliminative and immune system. Any aspect of health may be impaired by nerve interference. The chiropractic adjustment restores nerve system function allowing the body the ability to express a greater state of health and well-being.

The Doctor of Chiropractic will take a case history and perform a chiropractic exam to determine if spinal subluxations exist. Chiropractic adjusting procedures are modified to fit a child’s size, weight, and unique spinal condition. They are both gentle and specific to the child’s developing spinal structures. Most parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and look forward to subsequent visits. They also report that their children experience a greater level of health while under regular chiropractic care.

Once your family has experienced the many benefits of chiropractic care—please help us tell others!


er·go·nom·icsThe study of efficiency in working environments.

Many ailments can be provoked or prevented depending on how you use and position your body every day.

 “You’d better quit making that silly face, or it might get stuck that way for good.” –Aunt Creep


                 Somewhat of a joke and somewhat truthful; the soft tissues surrounding your spine include muscles, joints, ligaments, and intervertebral discs. These soft tissues have scientifically demonstrated what is called creep or hysteresis. This is observed when a force or pressure is applied to an area over a period of time in which the soft tissues then mold and reform to its new resting position. Not so scary when talking about a silly face, but a monster of a problem when applied to your spine. This includes cases where a patient has slouched so often for so long, that they lose the normal, healthy lordotic curvature in the lumbar and cervical spine. Or maybe a patient simply falls asleep in an awkward position, only to wake up feeling extremely stiff and restricted. A patient might habitually tuck one leg under their butt when sitting down to the point where it feels weird and uncomfortable to be sitting any other way.

            Take some time to think about what positions that you are putting your body in throughout the day (and night). Are these ideal postures for your soft tissues to be adapting to? Break up the longest periods of positioning with some range of motion exercises and stretches. If you work at a desk, seriously consider building or buying a standing workspace or at least boost your computer monitor up with some books to eye level. If you already have years of dysfunction built up from awkward positioning, choose chiropractic care to help you relieve some of that tension and teach your body a more efficient way of doing what you love to do.

Move your body,

Kelly Baltuska, DC

Why Fish Oil?

gel capsulesEvery cell in the human body is constantly performing an elegant balancing act to manage inflammation. The food that we eat can encourage this balance in favor of either ant-inflammatory or pro-inflammatory states.

The Standard American Diet or the SAD diet is far too high in Omega-6 fatty acids. These are found in poultry, eggs, nuts, cereals, whole grains, and vegetable oils. O6 FA’s encourage a pro-inflammatory process in our cells. This is required for life but detrimental when not at a healthy balance with Omega-3 fatty acids. O3 FA’s are anti-inflammatory and are often insufficient in the SAD diet. These are found mainly in fish and seeds. The key is to have a healthy balance of both O6 and O3 FA’s. The idea ratio is 1:1.

The easiest and most affordable way to balance is by supplementing with fish oil, which is full of 03 FA’s. A daily supplement can have a profound impact on balancing this equation while providing numerous benefits including: improved cardiovascular system and healthy blood pressure, clearer skin, decreased stress, anxiety and depression, anti-cancer effects as well as calming symptoms of many chronic pathologies such as: Parkinson’s, Lupus, and Psoriasis etc. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are a must if pregnant as the benefits to a growing fetus are endless. It is also safe and extremely beneficial for kids. There are three powerful scientific studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that correlate increased Omega-3 Fatty Acid intake with reduced risk of death from ALL CAUSES!

Depending upon body weight, it is safe to consume anywhere from 1 to 8 grams of fish oil each day. The FDA recommends limiting intake to less than 10 grams a day. The most commonly noted side effect is a burp that tastes fishy. This can be easily overcome by freezing your fish oil pearls before consuming.

Have a healthy day,
Kelly Baltuska, DC

Kefir Workshop: How to prepare fermented milk

The Kefir Workshop was a success! Jennifer and I had so much fun sharing some of our favorite probiotic snacks and discussing the wonderful benefits of a balanced Gastro-Intestinal system. We look forward to repeating it again soon! A How-To Guide that I distributed at this workshop is available at this link: How to prepare Kefir: fermented milk with Dr. Kelly Baltuska, DC

More information about the power of a healthy gut can be found in my newsletter at this link: Food is Medicine
There is a constantly expanding body of knowledge that focuses on the benefits of establishing and maintaining an inner ecosystem. Eating fermented foods lays down a foundation for health that is essential to wellness.

How to prepare Kefir with Dr. Kelly Baltuska, DC

How to prepare Kefir with Dr. Kelly Baltuska, DC

Dr. Kelly and wife Jennifer Baltuska

Dr. Kelly and wife Jennifer Baltuska


Kefir preparation assistant Vincent Pavel Baltuska


Kefir snacks: Pancakes, Pound cake, Ranch dip, Guacamole, Smoothies, and Popsicles.

Kefir snacks: Pancakes, Pound cake, Ranch dip, Guacamole, Smoothies, and Popsicles

Kefir Grains

Kefir Grains

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Straining Kefir

Straining Kefir

Lenexa Community Days Parade, July 4th 2013

We had a fun time at the Lenexa Community Days Parade on the 4th of July! Thank you to friends and family for all of your support. We distributed over 2,000 children’s spinal health brochures to the community that were provided by These exercises and stretches that just take 3 minutes to perform everyday can vastly improve the health of children (and adults too).

Baltuska Family, Lenexa Community Days Parade, July 4th 2013


Paraders: Brian King, Anna Smades, Sammy Oley, Ryan Heathman, Martin Keegan, Cierra Handley, Tylor Hall, Leah and Lilliah Mothersill, Jennifer, Lydia, Vincent, and Apollo Baltuska.

Paraders: Brian King, Anna Smades, Sammy Oley, Ryan Heathman, Martin Keegan, Cierra Handley, Tylor Hall, Leah and Lilliah Mothersill, Jennifer, Lydia, Vincent, and Apollo Baltuska.

Intern Cierra Handley with brochure

Intern Cierra Handley with brochure

David and Julie Baltuska, Paraders, Dad and Mom

David and Julie Baltuska, Paraders, Dad and Mom
Event T-shirt: Lenexa, KS – The Backbone of America

Vincent Baltuska, Parader

Vincent Baltuska, Parader

Ryan Heathman, Parader

Ryan Heathman, Parader

Brian and Anna, Paraders

Brian and Anna, Paraders


Food is Medicine

Food is Medicine Blueberry pills“Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” -Hippocrates

Are you trying to be healthier? It starts with food. Proper gastrointestinal health is paramount in optimizing the immune system. There are many exciting discoveries being made about how our gut communicates with our brain. As it turns out, we are and have always been teaming up with beneficial bacteria to properly defend ourselves from the foreign pathogens and to properly digest and assimilate nutrients. If we count the cells of our body and compare it numerically to the cells of bacteria living on and within us, we are 90% bacteria. Scientists are excitedly analyzing and documenting the human micro-bio genome and finding out that the different types and varying ratios of bacteria in the human population are just as unique and diverse as the genetic genome.
There are many things that effect, for better or for worse, your gut micro flora bacteria. Prescription antibiotics are often given to wipe out harmful bacteria in our bodies. Unfortunately, these drugs do not differentiate between good or bad bacteria. They wipe out ALL of them, leaving you dangerously vulnerable. Chlorine in our tap water acts as an antibiotic in a similar way. Birth control and over the counter NSAIDs, diets low in fiber also contribute to unhealthy gut flora.
The foods we eat and dietary choices we make can make or break our gut micro flora. Refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods, fructose in fruits, all encourage, feed, and perpetuate an unhealthy balance of organism. One of the more common harmful yeasts is named Candida Albicans. When this type flourishes within us, it presents itself and masquerades as many different nasty symptoms including: fatigue, hyperactivity, acne, irritability, poor sleep quality, abdominal pain, joint pain, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, reflux, heartburn, postnasal drip, cough, recurrent urinary tract infections, menstrual irregularities, sinus congestion, sugar and alcohol cravings, inability to lose weight, and much more.
Conversely, there are foods and dietary choices that we can make to encourage, feed, and perpetuate helpful and beneficial bacteria within our gut. Fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, and fermented vegetables actually have thousands of colonies of healthy bacteria on them, and we simply eat them to gain benefits that can include: increased energy levels, more comfortable digestion, better immune system, clarity of mind, improved sleep quality, and much more. There are also supplements in a pill form that can easily provide these benefits.
Many different types of medical professionals are utilizing the knowledge and treatment of the human gut micro flora to treat and manage many different conditions including: ADHD, sleeping problems, fibromylagia, asthma, allergies, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, autism, poor immune systems, depression, sinus congestion, and many others.
There are other foods and supplements that we can eat that act as “weed-killers” for harmful bacteria. These have been shown to have bacteriostatic and/or bactericidal properties. Good examples include: onions, honey, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables, sauerkraut, kim chi, and many herbs like: thyme, mint, basil, cinnamon, rosemary, cumin, chili peppers, caraway seed, coriander, dill, nutmeg, ginger, mustard, and parsley. Try to include some of these in your diet to help kill off the bad guys living in your gut.
If your diet has been poor for a long time, it is likely that you do have an abundance of Candida Albicans in your gut without much healthy bacteria.  When you begin changing your diet to promote a better balance of healthy bacteria, it is wise to gradually introduce the changes because you can get much worse before you get better with too much of an aggressive and abrupt change. Just as it is the case with all other healthy habits, a gradual change that is practiced and repeated perpetually will have a greater impact in the long run.

Enjoy your meal,
Kelly Baltuska, DC

Breech Baby Position and Chiropractic Webster Technique

breech baby chiropractic webster techniqueCall 913-283-9803 to schedule

A breech baby is when the fetus is in any position other than the preferred and optimal head down position or vertex/cephalic position. Due to complications that may arise during delivery, obstetricians often encourage the cesarean section delivery of breech babies.

The woman’s uterus is a large muscle that houses and protects the growing baby. Just like any other muscle in the body, the uterus can develop a muscle spasm for many different reasons. This spasm will prevent the baby from assuming the natural head down position.

The Webster technique is a specific chiropractic analysis and diversified adjustment. The goal of the adjustment is to reduce the effects of sacral subluxation and Sacro-Iliac joint dysfunction. In so doing neuro-biomechanical function in the pelvis is improved. This is a gentle and non-invasive way to encourage the uterus to relax and allow the baby to properly assume the head down position. With a light adjustment to the sacrum, the triangular bone at the base of the spine, along with gentle pressure on specific ligaments, the central nervous system will be restored to function to a greater potential allowing natural healing to take place.

Webster Technique is extremely safe for both mother and baby and has been practiced for many years with much success. While some cases resolve with just a few adjustments, others require many return adjustments before they respond. One study found this technique to be 82% effective.

There are other conditions that cause a breech baby position that will not respond to Webster Technique. This may be identified by the OB/GYN and this is why it is important for an open line of communication between your medical professionals.

There are numerous reasons that a natural vaginal delivery is beneficial to the optimal health of both mother and baby. If the baby is found to be in the breech position, there is much less of an opportunity for a natural vaginal delivery.

If you have a breech position baby, come in for conservative Chiropractic care before resulting to more invasive procedures like External Cephalic Version (ECV) or Cesarean section. The whole adjustment from start to finish is very comfortable for both mother and baby.

If you know someone that is pregnant, or if you know a medical professional that works closely with pregnancies, please forward this information to them or share it online.
Have a healthy baby,
-Kelly Baltuska, DC

Call 913-283-9803 to schedule

The previous information is presented in a clinical and theoretical framework. Dr. Baltuska DOES NOT practice Obstetrics or Gynecology.

Stress Relief

Stress has become a fact of life, and for some, the daily norm. Although occasional stress can help improve our focus and performance, living with chronic stress can backfire by causing anxiety, depression, and serious health problems.

Understanding who we are, knowing our major struggles, putting them in perspective, and taking action can help us deal with stress. The following strategies can also improve stress tolerance and help lessen the effects of stress on our health.

Think Positively

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into positive,” said Hans Selye, author of the groundbreaking work around stress theory. When optimism is hard to muster, cognitive-behavioral therapy, which trains people to recognize negative thinking patterns and replace them with more constructive ones, can also help reduce the risk of chronic stress and depression.

Get Out and Enjoy Nature

While modern civilization has made our lives more convenient, it has deprived us of an essential source of stress relief—connection with nature. Studies show that interacting with nature can help lessen the effects of stress on the nervous system, reduce attention deficits, decrease aggression, and enhance spiritual well-being.

“Smell the Roses” for Better Mood

Aromatherapy, or smelling essential plant oils, recognized worldwide as a complementary therapy for managing chronic pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and stress-related disorders, can help you unwind. Orange and lavender scents, in particular, have been shown to enhance relaxation and reduce anxiety.

Relax with a Cup of Tea

During stressful times, coffee helps us keep going. To give yourself a break, however, consider drinking tea. Research shows that drinking tea for 6 weeks helps lower post-stress cortisol and increase relaxation. Habitual tea drinking may also reduce inflammation, potentially benefiting your heart health.

Laugh It Off

Humor relieves stress and anxiety and prevents depression, helping put our troubles in perspective. Laughter can help boost the immune system, increase pain tolerance, enhance mood and creativity, and lower blood pressure, potentially improving treatment outcomes for many health problems, including cancer and HIV. Humor may also be related to happiness, which has been linked to high self-esteem, extroversion, and feeling in control.

Build a Support System

Relationships are also key to health and happiness, especially for women. Women with low social support, for example, are more likely to increase blood pressure under stress. Loneliness may also contribute to stress in both men and women, also leading to poorer outcomes after a stroke or congestive heart failure. On the other hand, active and socially involved seniors are at lower risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Social support also helps cancer patients to boost the immune system and maintain a higher quality of life.

Employ the Relaxing Power of Music

Music, especially classical, can also serve as a powerful stress-relief tool. Listening to Pachelbel’s famous Canon in D major while preparing a public speech helps avoid anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure, which usually accompany public speaking.

Singing and listening to music can also relieve pain and reduce anxiety and depression caused by lowback pain. Group drumming also showed positive effects on stress relief and the immune system. Music therapy can also elevate mood and positively affect the immune system in cancer patients and reduce fatigue and improve self-acceptance in people with multiple sclerosis.

To help people deal with stressful medical procedures, music can help reduce anxiety before surgery. When played during surgery, it can decrease the patient’s post-operative pain. Aiding recovery, a dose of calming music may lower anxiety, pain, and the need for painkillers.

Calm Your Mind

In recent decades, many forms of meditation have gained popularity as relaxation and pain relief tools. Focusing on our breath, looking at a candle, or practicing a non-judgmental awareness of our thoughts and actions can help tune out distractions, reduce anxiety and depression, and accept our circumstances. In cancer patients, meditation-based stress reduction enhances quality of life, lowers stress symptoms, and potentially benefits the immune system.

Guided imagery, such as visualizing pictures prompted by an audiotape recording, also shows promise in stress relief and pain reduction. Based on the idea that the mind can affect the body, guided imagery can be a useful adjunct to cancer therapy, focusing patients on positive images to help heal their bodies.

Enjoy the Warmth of Human Touch

Just as the mind can affect the body, the body can influence the mind. Virginia Satir, a famous American psychotherapist, once said that people need 4 hugs a day to help prevent depression, 8 for psychological stability, and 12 for growth. While asking for hugs may not work for some, massage can help us relieve stress and reduce anxiety and depression. Massage has also been shown to reduce aggression and hostility in violent adolescents, to improve mood and behavior in students with ADHD, and to lead to better sleep and behavior in children with autism.

Massage has other therapeutic properties, as well. Regular massage may reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension and may lead to less pain, depression, and anxiety and better sleep in patients with chronic low-back pain. Compared to relaxation, massage therapy also causes greater reduction in depression and anger, and more significant effects on the immune system in breast cancer patients.

Give Exercise a Shot

To get the best of both worlds, affecting the mind through the body while getting into good physical shape, try exercise. In one study, a group of lung cancer patients increased their hope due to exercise. Exercise can also reduce depression and improve wound healing in the elderly. Tai chi, which works for people of all ages, may enhance heart and lung function, improve balance and posture, and prevent falls, while reducing stress.
No matter what stress-relief methods you choose, make it a habit to use them—especially if you feel too stressed out to do it. As someone once said, the time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.

Reference: The previous information was brought to you by the American Chiropractic Association

Chiropractic Care for Stress Relief

Our central nervous system cycles between two primary modes or settings. First, the sympathetic or “fight or flight” stage is one that is utilized during the most active part of our days. Second, the parasympathetic or “rest and digest” stage is one that is utilized when winding down, using the bowel and bladder, and sleeping. It is very common that the patient in acute pain or crisis has been stuck in the sympathetic “fight or flight” stage for too long without properly switching over to the parasympathetic “rest and digest” stage. This patient can receive great benefit from chiropractic adjustments and may experience sudden and profuse perspiration or a “flop-sweat” immediately after a spinal adjustment, right on the chiropractic table. This is a tell-tale sign that a truly natural healing process is taking place and that the innate responsibility of the body’s self regulating system is returning to balance.

-Kelly Baltuska, DC

10 Things Most People Don’t Know About Chiropractic

1. Pain is the last symptom of dysfunction.

A patient’s back is often restricted or unstable for months or years before it presents as a problem and they show up in a chiropractor’s office. In addition, the absence of pain is not health. While medication may be needed, if you take a pill and the pain goes away, the dysfunction that caused it still persists. Muscle, ligament and joint injuries often occur as a result of long-term biomechanical dysfunction, sometimes from past injuries, making the area more susceptible to future injury.

2. Athletes use chiropractors to stay well and perform better, not just for the occasional injury.

Athletes choose chiropractors because we are movement specialists. Chiropractors were spotted all over the Olympic coverage last year, and top athletes such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, Tom Brady, Evander Holyfield, and Arnold Schwarzenegger have all been proud patients of chiropractors. These days it’s far more common than not for major athletes and sports teams to keep chiropractors nearby to help prevent injuries, speed injury recovery, improve balance and coordination, and give them a greater competitive edge.

3. The body does not perform as a cluster of separate mechanisms, but rather a cascade of events that all starts with proper control by the central nervous system.

The nerves that travel through and control every function of your body originate at the spinal cord and their transmission may be disrupted if the joints of the surrounding spinal column are not moving properly. This disruption in biomechanical integrity combined with altered physiological function is what chiropractors call a subluxation. Below is a chart that illustrates the relationship of the spinal nerves exiting the vertebra branching off to the various organ systems. You can see why it is not uncommon for a chiropractor to treat a patient with mid-back pain who also suffers from irritable bowel system, a patient with a subluxated sacrum who has been unsuccessfully trying to become pregnant, or a patient with an upper back fixation and acid reflux.

10 Things Most People Dont Know About Chiropractic

4. Doctors don’t do the healing.

Sorry to disappoint you, but a chiropractor will never fix your back. What we are able to do is restore proper motion in the joints, which relieves tension on the nerves and muscles and allows your body to do the healing that it is inherently made to do. As chiropractors, we believe that the body is a perfect organism in its natural state, and all disease comes from a disruption in the body’s proper transmission of signals by the nerves which affects its ability to heal and to defend against disease-causing agents. We never treat disease. We assess to find which spinal levels are causing the dysfunction, and we adjust it to restore proper nerve flow so the nervous system may work as efficiently and effectively as possible.

5. Chiropractic is for all ages.

Many seniors aren’t aware of the benefits of chiropractic care which can help them not only with pain relief, but also increase range of motion, balance and coordination, and decrease joint degeneration. There’s no patient too young for chiropractic either! Chiropractors check infants moments after birth for misalignments of the upper vertebrae that may occur as a result of the birth process. In addition to supporting overall health and well-being, parents also take their children to chiropractors to encourage healthy brain and nervous system development, to assist with colic, asthma, allergies, bed-wetting and sleeping problems, and to assist with behavioral disorders.

6. We know about more than your backbone!

This surprises many people who had no idea that chiropractors give advice on nutrition, fitness, ergonomics and lifestyle, screen for conditions unrelated to the musculoskeletal system and refer out to other practitioners when necessary. Chiropractors are also able to complete specialties in other areas such as pediatrics, sports rehabilitation, neurology, clinical nutrition, and addictions and compulsive disorders.

Other than particular specialties and the differences in learning to adjust and learning to prescribe medication, our training hours are not dissimilar from that of medical doctor. The following are the classroom hours for basic science requirements compiled and averaged following a review of curricula of 18 chiropractic schools and 22 medical schools.

10 Things Most People Dont Know About Chiropractic

7. Successful chiropractic patients accept responsibility.

When somebody says that they tried chiropractic and it didn’t help, I cringe and get the feeling that they really missed the boat. Of course, there are cases with complicating factors, but I have heard this from people with straightforward chiropractic problems when it is very clear what has happened here. In most cases, one doesn’t acquire back pain over night, and it’s not going to go away over night. If a weak core from years of sitting at your desk is to blame for the additional stress on your joints, I would expect an adjustment to provide relief, but once the condition is no longer exacerbated, I would most definitely prescribe some exercises for you to do at home. I might also suggest we evaluate your nutrition if I suspect an inflammatory diet may be wiring you for pain. Sure, I’m always happy to adjust someone and make a living, but if you’ve been given homework and you don’t do it, I better not hear you say chiropractic didn’t work when you’re hurting again!

8. Chiropractic may help you get sick less.

Studies have indicated that adjustments consistently reduce the production of pro-inflammatory mediators associated with tissue damage and pain, and may also enhance the production of immunoregulatory complexes important for healthy immune system defense. As far back as the deadly flu pandemic of 1917-1918, chiropractors noticed that their patients seemed to have fewer fatalities than among the general population and were able to publish their work in an osteopathic journal since no scholarly journals were accepting chiropractic data. The estimated death rate among patients of conventional medical care in the U.S. was estimated at 5 to 6 percent while the fatality rate among influenza cases receiving spinal adjustments was estimated at 0.25%.

9. “I heard I’ll have to go forever” is a myth.

You may want to go to your chiropractor forever once you’ve started because you didn’t realize how great getting adjusted is, but your doctor won’t expect you to come for continuous care without symptoms. Generally, if you come in with pain, once you’ve been treated for your initial complaint, you’ll be scheduled for a few more appointments to make sure proper motion is being maintained, then it will be recommended you return occasionally to be checked just like you would go to the dentist to get checked for tartar buildup and cavities. Of course, many people still choose to see their chiropractor weekly or monthly for wellness or maintenance care.

10. Adjustments don’t hurt.

There is no bone snapping or warrior-style pulling heads off spinal columns! The neck adjustment some chiropractors use causes anticipation for many new patients, but is actually much more gentle than they imagined, and involves a quick, direct thrust to a specific spinal bone. The sound an adjustment makes is called a cavitation and is only space being created within the joint causing gasses to be released from the joint capsule, which creates the popping or cracking noise. Also, chiropractic adjustments will not wear out your joints, as some imagine because they have been warned not to “crack their knuckles” for this reason in the past. Adjustments, unlike “knuckle cracking” or having your friend stomp on you while you lay on the carpet, are applied specifically to improve the motion of your joints and limit the small dysfunctions that over time can lead to arthritis. Most people after an adjustment describe the feeling as being “lighter”, having greater ease in moving the body, and being able to stand up taller.

Written by: Erin O’Maley, DC

February 27, 2013