Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions from patients and other health care practitioners. Hopefully the answers to these questions will answer some of your questions you may have before starting your chiropractic treatments or give you further knowledge of the benefits if you are an existing patient.

This could not be further from the truth! Through a thorough spinal, joint, muscle and nervous system examination, muscles are tested for strength, painful points, and spinal segments and range of motion are assessed. The segments that chiropractors choose to adjust will often have corresponding muscle tightness and tenderness when pushed upon. The joint will also have abnormal movement. In the end I very carefully choose specific spinal segments to adjust.

The spine is protective armour for the delicate spinal cord. The spinal cord is like a nerve highway full of information flowing between the brain and the body. A vertebral subluxation is not a condition of a bone being out of place. It is that the bone is functioning or moving in a less than ideal way and affects the signals received by the brain from the body, and how information from the brain can be carried out by the body. The brain retains its ability to adapt to its ever-changing environment throughout life and can accurately create and update an inner map of the location of our muscles and joints in 3D space and relative to each other. “Most of what you perceive as reality is simply what your brain considers reality to be, or your brain’s translation and interpretation of all the information it gets from its sensory receptors. Your eyes, ears, skin, muscles and etc”. Through Doctor Haavik and other neuroscientists work, chiropractic care seems to impact our brain’s inner reality, by restoring the proper processing and integration of sensory information which alters the way our brain controls our body. By treating the spine and ultimately the nervous system, chiropractic care treats the whole body as the brain is the “master computer” where all functions are derived and controlled.

Benefits of spinal adjustments from 15 years of research is summarised by Dr Haavik and her fellow researchers below:

  • Improved or altered visual acuity and visual field
  • Reduced joint position sense error
  • Decreased reaction times
  • Altered brain processing
  • Changes in the way that our brain integrates sensory and motor information
  • Altered spinal cord reflex excitability
  • Changes to specific messages that get sent to muscles from the central nervous system
  • Increased muscle strength to the legs
  • Reduced (or prevented) muscle fatigue developing

The answer to this question is similar to the story of “the last straw that broke the camel’s back”. That pain that ‘appeared all of a sudden’ may not be ‘all of a sudden’ after all. Your pain and often other symptoms may in fact have been developing for some time without you knowing about it. Your brain does background processing which you are not consciously aware of. Like the saying goes 999 straws can be on the camel’s back but only when the last straw is added and the “camel’s back breaks” is when you feel or become aware of the issue. The “straws” building up in your body are from habitual and repetitive movements, bad posture, too little sleep, incorrect body movements, negative mind-set and minor accidents. Accumulating small things can lead to you getting injured.

The brain is highly adaptive which can be both good and bad. The presence of pain alters how muscles are controlled by the brain and therefore the muscles function changes as well. When you get injured your brain undergoes changes and alters your brains processing ability of sensory information creating an oversensitive stimulus and develops a protective mechanism. If this carries on for a long time it can change the way your brain perceives reality and sets up chronic pain conditions. Quoted from Dr Haavik’s book “under normal circumstances if you wish to raise your arm or leg, your brain will first send messages to other muscles than the ones you consciously want to move, such as the core abdominal muscles, to stabilise the body. In many painful conditions like lower back pain, it has been found that the brain does not send these so called ‘feed-forward’ protective messages and therefore does not stabilise the body, which in itself is likely to worsen the patient’s condition. We know that patients with mechanical lower back pain display alterations in the way their brain recruit the trunk muscles compared to people who do not have severe lower back pain”.

This varies between patients and depends on your individual health goals. Some patients are looking for short term pain relief, whereas others want correction or long term wellness care. Most people will notice results within a few weeks of regular chiropractic care. The frequency of adjustments usually decreases as the spine heals and stabilises.

Research in this area is ongoing to identify or predict which types of people will respond best to various types of chiropractic care and whether someone has had a sufficient amount of chiropractic care to resolve the dysfunction. Chiropractic adjustments are vital in maintaining sensory and neurological control, abnormal feedback to the brain from an area of spinal dysfunction (not necessarily with pain) alters the environment which subsequent feedback from the rest of the body will be received and processed. In short getting your spine adjusted prevents future problems from occurring and chiropractic is a preventative medicine that has profound effects on the entire nervous system and not only at a local joint and muscle level.

Once pain has started something has already broken down and the process of breakdown has been over a long period of time. With chiropractic care pain can often be quickly fixed and so the patient stops receiving care, but the bulk of the problem remains under the surface. A lack of symptoms disguises the issue but is ready to resurface again due to the numerous bad habits of human beings. Maintenance care treats the body through the nervous system and stops these recurring problems. Frequency in my opinion can depend on many factors. The more patients take control of their lives in terms of good nutrition, adequate rest and sleep, together with exercise, enhances and sustains the powerful effects of chiropractic adjustments.

The answer is a resounding YES. Spinal adjustments re-establish neural control of muscles. Subluxated joints cause dysfunction in your spine and joints which changes the way the brain perceives what is happening in other body parts. This leads to the brain controlling that body part in a less than ideal way, creating micro-trauma and eventually pain. Spinal adjustments restore communication between the spine and brain, enhancing control of any joint.

Childbirth can be quite traumatic and can have an effect on the baby’s spine, combine this with hundreds of falls in the first few years of life and there is a good chance of subluxations developing. A baby’s nervous system is highly adaptive, ensuring the brain and spine are functioning optimally for all forms of growth.

Colic, reflux, digestive problems all respond well to chiropractic care.

Yes. Studies have shown that adjustments are “remarkably safe.” Your chiropractor will assess you thoroughly to determine if chiropractic care is unsuitable for you.

Pain is a sign that something in your body isn’t right; it’s the bodies warning system. Our bodies often adapt and these aches and pains are shrugged off. While the pain may go away, the underlying condition often remains unattended and can slowly worsen until it becomes more difficult and costly to resolve. Pain should never be ignored, just like you wouldn’t ignore your fire alarm if it was going off.

Yes. Often spinal surgeries produce compensation reactions in the spine above and below the area of surgery. It’s important that these areas are assessed and adjusted if necessary.

Making your joints crack is not the same as a chiropractic adjustment. Adjustments are very specific with just the right amount of force and thrust and can take years to master. Even your chiropractor will consult another chiropractor for adjustments.

This does depend on what kind of chiropractor you see. In South Africa we are trained to treat sports injuries. ‘Diversified’ in the style of chiropractic care taught and trained to treat nerves, bones, joints, ligaments and muscles on or off the sports field.

A practitioner of the system of complementary medicine based on the diagnosis and manipulative treatment of misalignments of the joints.

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Bruce treats patients using a mixture of spinal corrective procedures,
soft tissue and rehabilitative treatments

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