What do I do before, during and after my treatment?
To receive and hold a good adjustment, your spine must be at rest before and during the adjustment. Before every adjustment, we advise that you lie on the adjusting table face down with your arms hanging to the floor to rest your spinal muscles and fan out the vertebrae so they may be adjusted easily. (If in your case there is a more suitable resting position, we will advise you).
During your adjustment, your spine and skeleton should be in a resting, neutral position. Do not cross or bend your legs during the adjustment, unless your doctor specifically asks you to do so.
After your adjustment you should get up from the adjusting table by rising up from your side. Do not do a “sit up” or “straddle” the bench, as these movements can destabilize the joints of the pelvis. (Note: getting up from your side is the healthiest and safest way to rise from any horizontal position).
Do not rub, probe or poke the areas your doctor adjusts.
What to do inbetween treatments?
Soreness may occur after an adjustment, particularly if the vertebra was significantly subluxated (out of place) prior to being adjusted. If you do have any discomfort, we suggest that you ice the area, no longer than 20 minutes, once every two hours for twenty minutes. (In fact this is the general recommendation for applying ice for any inflammation). Do not use heat! If you continue to experience discomfort the next day, contact our office to schedule a follow-up adjustment with the doctor, as a fine-tuning adjustment may be necessary.
What if I feel sore, stiff or tense?
Awkward and uncomfortable symptoms can be expected in the first two to six weeks of care, particularly in the case of patients who have never been adjusted, or suffer from chronic conditions.
Avoid bending at the waist or “stooping” sharply to pick up objects, big or small! Instead, keep your spine straight, bend your knees and let your legs bear the strain. Hold the object as close to your body as possible.
A healthier spine will improve your body’s ability to adapt to its environment. Therefore, listen to your body! Truthfully, there is no “one right way” to stand, sit, walk, or sleep. A well-adjusted spine will empower your nervous system to be well “connected” so you may better trust your body’s own clues.
Can I stretch or exercise?
As your spine changes, you may notice strengths and weaknesses you were not aware of before you started receiving chiropractic care.
Participate in exercises which strengthen your body, and avoid jarring activities which place harmful stress on your neck and spine. Yoga and pilates are focused on your core and associate well with chiropractic care.
In all forms of exercise, keep your neck in an upright position. Avoid forward flexion of your neck, particularly during work-outs with weights, as this movement can reverse the proper forward curve in the neck, and therefore interfere with your adjustment (which aims to restore and maintain proper alignment).
Many activities in our culture, such as using computers, driving vehicles, and reading books, tend to subluxate the neck into a damaging position. Make a habit of stretching your cervical spine “up and backward” several times per day. Further specific home exercise may be advised for your particular case.
Sit-ups on an exercise ball are preferable to floor sit-ups, to avoid compression of your spinal joints, and to promote elongation and stretching of your spine.
When doing any sort of low back exercise, avoid extending your spine backward beyond 180ْ . There is no need or purpose for your spine to be exerted beyond the normal standing posture (which is 180ْ ) and doing so can compress the joints of the lumbar vertebrae.
When stretching, avoid sudden twists, or movements beyond normal limits of motion, particularly in the neck. Stretching to the end of your range of motion is encouraged. If you hear an audible sound come from your spine during proper stretching, do not be alarmed. However, under no circumstances should you attempt to “force” an audible sound by stretching of “cracking” any part of your spine. Research has shown this type of activity to cause spinal damage, ligament laxity, and disc irritation. Chiropractic adjustments specifically address subluxated vertebrae, while gross manipulations of the entire regions of the spinal column can aggravate vertebrae that are already subluxated.
Rest, Relaxation, Sleep & Posture
Remember the 3 sources of subluxation: physical, chemical, and emotional stress. Set aside a special time each day for complete mental and physical relaxation. This is important in the restoration and maintenance of normal health.
Recognize that sitting is an unnatural position. Our spines and skeletons are healthier squatting, standing, or lying down, since sitting transfers all weight to our lower lumbar spines. If you must sit at your job, we recommend you take regular stretch breaks. We recommend you try either a kneeling chair or use a stability ball in place of a typical office chair.
Cross you legs only at the ankles, not the knees. Crossing your legs at the knees could aggravate an existing spinal condition as well as interfere with the circulation to the lower limbs. If you carry a wallet, do not keep it in your back pocket. Sitting lop-sided on your wallet can subluxate your pelvis.
Be sure to get plenty of sleep to allow your body to recuperate and repair.
Sleep on a firm mattress, preferably one which is neither too hard nor too soft. Your body should be held level while your shoulders and hips depress into the mattress. Your spine should be straight when you are sleeping on your side. Likewise, the ideal pillow is one which supports you head so that your neck vertebrae will be level with the rest of your spine. For this reason, a feather pillow is preferable over a foam pillow. If you are allergic to feathers, be sure to find an alternative that adapts to the contours of your head, neck, and shoulders.
Avoid sleeping on your stomach, which forces you cervical spine into rotation. “Belly-sleepers” are highly prone to severe cervical subluxation.