ISHPEMING - A chiropractor might spend most of an appointment dealing with your back and neck, but the practice is really about more than just the spine.
"Chiropractors are trying to educate the public as to how much of a preventative medicine this is," said chiropractor Sarah Paveglio, who works with Turino Chiropractic in Ishpeming.
Chiropractic care, which has its roots in ancient Greek and Chinese practices, is the practice of spinal manipulation to provide a natural, non-invasive method of treatment and prevention of diseases and conditions throughout the body, according to the American Chiropractic Association.
Wrestler Leigh Jaynes gets her spine adjusted by Dr. Sandra McLean at McLean Family Chiropractic & Wellness during a visit to the facility. Jaynes has trained at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and visits a chiropractor on a regular basis. (Journal file photo)
While patients often seek chiropractic care for complaints relating to the neck and spine, a chiropractic adjustment can improve function in almost every other area of the body.
"More so we're dealing with the body's nervous system," Paveglio said.
The brain is connected to the body through the spinal cord, which is protected by the spine. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that then connect to every other part of the body, delivering messages from the brain.
Occasionally, however, the vertebrae that make up the spine can come out of alignment.
"When nerves are being impinged, the brain isn't sending out those signals," Paveglio said. "Basically, your vertebrae can go out of alignment and cut off communication in those nerves."
Called subluxations, those misalignments can be corrected by a chiropractor, which helps the body function as it should, alleviating pain and promoting healing. Subluxations can occur due to any number of physical, chemical or emotional factors.
"We help your body work at its highest potential so it can heal on its own," Paveglio said.
Although many patients begin seeing a chiropractor because of lower back pain they might be experiencing, from the chiropractors perspective, the primary goal of the practice is improving that nerve function. Besides back pain, chiropractic care can also treat joint and neck pain, osteoarthritis, spinal disk conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome, sprains and strains, as well as allergies, asthma and some digestive disorders.
Headaches and migraines can also be effectively treated through chiropractic adjustments.
Appointments, which can be as short as five minutes, usually begin at several times per week, then tapering off to once a month, depending on the physician, Paveglio said.
"When you first start, when we push the bone back (into place) we're retraining the muscle," she said.
As the muscle is retrained to hold the spine in its proper position, appointments aren't needed as frequently.
During the appointment, the chiropractor palpates or manipulates the spine, which can cause a cracking sound similar to cracking your knuckles, as both are caused by the release of gas from the joints.
"It's not dangerous at all," Paveglio said.
Because the techniques are gentle, anyone from infants to senior citizens can benefit from chiropractic care, realizing better sleep, decreased pain and increased energy, Paveglio said.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401.