Phone: (606)549-4811 * Fax: (606) 549-4814 * E-mail: christopherchiropractic@gmail.com * 410 Sycamore Street, Williamsburg, KY 40769

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How do I know if I need to be checked by a chiropractor? Range of Motion

At Christopher Chiropractic we strive to get patients well and discharge them from care after only a few visits at the most.  Patients then either come back if they ever have other problems that the want us to address or they set their own schedule for preventative check-ups as they feel necessary. After we discharge patients because the problem that brought them into our office is resolved many of them ask, "How do I know that I have another stuck joint that needs to be corrected before it gets so bad that I have symptoms there?" 

The only sure way to know if you need to be adjusted is to see a chiropractor, but the next few blog entries will give you some tips to help you know if you are more likely to benefit from getting checked by a chiropractor. 

When you see our doctors, one way that we can tell if you need to be adjusted is that chiropractic misalignments cause decreased range of motion.  Indeed, most patients have heard one or both of our doctors say, "If a joint is stuck, I will adjust it; if it is moving, I will leave it alone." 

Although you do not have the training that your chiropractor has that enables him or her to feel the motion of specific joints, you can observe your general range of motion to see if it is greatly limited in any direction.  To do this, you stand in an upright, relaxed position.  Just like when you stretch, all of your motions should be slow and gentle and you should never "push thorough" any pain.  Indeed, pain with motion is a good indication that you may want to see a chiropractor for evaluation.  Perform the following tests and observe yourself in the mirror to see how you do.

Look To The Side:  Turn your head slowly to either side without moving your upper body.  If you cannot turn your chin so that it is almost directly over your shoulder without feeling pain or if you can turn it one way more than you can the other, you may have a stuck joint that needs to be corrected.

Touch Your Ear to Your Chest:  Bend your head slowly to the right and then to the left without lifting your shoulders.  If you cannot bring your ears within an inch or two of your shoulders without pain or if you can lean to one side more than you can to the other, you may have a stuck joint that needs to be corrected.

Look At The Floor and The Ceiling:  Bend your head slowly to the front and then to the back.  If you can't look up or down without pain, you may have a stuck joint that needs to be corrected.

Do The Twist:  Without moving your feet or your hips, turn from the waist to to the right and to the left while keeping your head in line with your upper body.  If you can't turn about forty-five degrees in each direction without pain or if you can turn more to one side than you can to the other, you may have a stuck joint that needs to be corrected.

Lean To The Side:  Bend from the waist to the right and then to the left.  If you can't lean about forty-five degrees to each side without pain or if you can lean more to one side than you can to the other, you may have a stuck joint that needs to be corrected.

Bend Your Body Forward and Backwards:  Keep your mid-back straight and lean forward and backwards without bending your knees.  Most people can bend forward until they are at least parallel with the floor and bend backwards until they can look at the ceiling.  If you cannot do this without pain, you may have a stuck joint that needs to be corrected.

As you do these tests, remember that your body is unique and you may not have "average" ranges of motion that we describe above.  Some people are extremely flexible, while others have conditions that limit their range of motion in one direction or another even when they don't need to be adjusted.  Regardless of what your "normal" is, it should be pretty easy to establish how far you can move in each of these directions after you have been adjusted and you are free of chiropractic misalignments.  Once you do that, you can compare yourself to your "normal" range of motion periodically and make sure you are moving like you should.  Whenever you can't move as far as you could after your last chiropractic visit, it is probably a good time to get checked by a chiropractor again, even if you don't feel any pain yet.

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