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More Than Just Spines

Do you remember that childhood song, dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones, knee bone connected to the thigh bone, thigh bone connected to the hip bone, hip bone connected to the backbone…  So simple, so accurate and so obvious and yet with all our advanced health care, we can easily overlook this connection.  

You may ask, what does chiropractic have to do with this? Patients often come into my office and mention a problem with their wrist or ankle in passing and are surprised to find that chiropractic can help improve and promote better function in all joints; toes, fingers, ankles, wrists, knees, shoulders, hips and even your jaw--there is more to it than just the back and neck!  Those of you who are engaged in repetitive or intense physical movements associated with work, sport or fitness will know that it can put great strain or challenge some of these smaller joints.  Similarly, a chronic poor posture can cause a level of compensation that can also put greater strain on some of these smaller joints making them more vulnerable to injury.  Potential problematic areas may present themselves initially as stiffness, intermittent soreness, or even just a lack of mobility.  As a chiropractor, sometimes it takes a little detective work to figure out that the chronic stiffness you have in your knee or hip is a response to the limp you developed after you injured your big toe or ankle 6 months ago.  The body has an incredible ability to adapt to a loss of function or pain.  When one area stops doing its job, the body quickly adapts; another area picks up the slack and compensates but in doing so, becomes vulnerable to injury, unable to continually handle the combined stress of this new load and primary function.  

Chiropractic can help restore extremity joint function. This improvement in simple biomechanics can ease stress and irritation and promote a more complete healing of an injury. 

  • A chiropractor’s first goal of treatment would be to ease pain and inflammation.   

  • From there, appropriate therapies targeting joint motion with gentle mobilizations or adjustments would be utilized to return proper joint mechanics and function.  Sometimes spinal adjustments are necessary to address larger compensatory changes associated with the injury itself.  

  • Key elements to promote healing involve soft tissue therapies that are essential to restoring optimal muscle, tendon or ligament function by reducing scar tissue and adhesions  

  • Rehabilitative exercises are the final aspect to help promote healing and help prevent recurrence with balanced strength and better posture. 

Integrated healthcare can become a key factor at any point in the treatment plan to ensure a full response to decreased pain and inflammation, better function, and a targeted, effective home exercise program. Evidence-based chiropractic care helps improve joint biomechanics and overall health by reducing wear and tear and improving the amount of nutrition that can reach a joint through better motion.  


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