BACK TO BASICS: Chiropractic care today involves managing pain, help with diet

Brian D. King | Daily Press

Chiropractor Shannon Grimes, right, explains the spinal column to his office manager, Cindy Stevens.

October is National Chiropractic Care Awareness Month, and the American Chiropractic Association describes chiropractic as "a natural, whole-person, patient-centered and drug-free approach to health and wellness."

This month offers an opportunity to learn about chiropractic treatment and its benefits. Chiropractors are primary care physicians who help with a wide range of issues and make appropriate referrals to other doctors and specialists as needed.

Dr. Shannon Grimes describes his field as one that focuses on the whole person as part of a hands-on, non-drug approach to pain management and health promotion.

While many people think of chiropractors as doctors who "crack backs" after an injury, Grimes seeks to bring awareness to the expanded definition of chiropractic health care. As well as back pain, Grimes corrects issues such as oyhrt aches, balance issues, headaches, and others. His office seeks to promote prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries.

“In addition to their expertise in musculoskeletal and spinal care, many chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, and to provide nutritional dietary and lifestyle changes,” said Grimes. “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure."

Maintaining and rebuilding good health is a primary goal of chiropractic care, and proper function is the key to quality of health. Grimes outlines three keys to attaining proper chiropractic function.

First, there is appropriate body stimulation and activation. Grimes encourages mental and physical activities to promote body and brain growth. Second, those in good health require healthy stimulation with enough long-term frequency. Lastly, Grimes encourages quality nutrition or body fuel.

To explain this concept, he gives the example of attending the gym. Those in good health may choose to work out, but to gain full benefit of the exercise they must use the gym equipment properly; exercise frequently and over a long period of time; and eat properly. Abandonment of any of these key principles will negate effects of the exercise, and he implements similar tools in his office.

“Brain function is a big part of how we look at our patients. We work with people having the expected muscle and joint issues but pay very close attention to the patients’ overall function. Recognizing and finding those imbalances through neurological testing and making corrections with appropriate exercises and therapy is a root part of our practice,” said Grimes.

Grimes he once asked a patient to close his eyes and make a fist. He checked for his ability to sway his arms. He then asked the patient, eyes still closed, to take different fingers and touch his nose. After the patient was unable to touch his nose, Grimes explained that these were underlying dysfunctions. He told the patient there was a blockage between his hand, brain, and nose, and that the issue could be resolved by stimulating the left cerebellum and the right cortex.

Many come into the office because they experience arthritis, which he explains is not a problem, but a body’s natural short-term solution to body dysfunction. Grimes encourages patients to receive treatment early on to prevent bone growth that causes arthritis.

“Arthritis isn't, however, a disease we catch. Instead, it is a defense mechanism the body uses to stabilize joints and prevent injury,” said Grimes.

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