How Chiropractic Helped Me
My chiropractic journey started when I was expecting my child. Prior to that I never really understood much about chiropractic and it kinda weirded me out. I never had a desire for someone to “crack my back” and it seemed uncomfortable and scary to me, especially for the neck. “No thank you”, I said.
Fast forward to me sitting in my OB’s office at 34 weeks pregnant talking about how I can feel every joint in my pelvis being sore, and I had a concern about a previous injury to my tail bone and if that would affect a natural birth. The OB referred me to a chiropractor certified in prenatal care. If it hadn’t been my concern for a smooth natural birth I likely would not have gone. Even still I thought that I would just go for the assessment and decline an adjustment. The chiropractor examined me and with my consent patiently and gently adjusted me. Guess what. My pelvic soreness reduced dramatically, and I have been receiving regular chiropractic care ever since.
What is Chiropractic?
In short, chiropractic helps keep muscle and skeletal structures comfortable and nerves happy. This in turn helps keep the entire body happy as nerves govern all organs and systems of the body. When the nerves are functioning optimally, the internal organs can function better too. We could say it like: "If the nervous system ain't happy, ain't nobody happy".
Read on to learn some of the science behind chiropractic and what conditions have been known to particularly benefit from it.
Routine chiropractic care for whole-body health and wellness support in pets is recommended throughout life, from birth onward. Once monthly adjustment is usually recommended for maintenance in healthy animals. More frequent care may be needed if there are disease conditions present such as metabolic or endocrine disorders and musculoskeletal or neurological disorders. Some disorders in which animals can particularly benefit from chiropractic care include arthritis, constipation, cruciate ligament tears (knee/stifle injury, CCL/ACL tear), ear infections – a contributing factor believed to be inflammation in the ear canal stemming from an irritated nerve, feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC, a cause of urinating outside the box), hip dysplasia (deformation in hip joint), intervertebral disc disease or extrusion (IVDD/IVDE, bulging or ruptured disc, "slipped disc", "pinched nerve"), lick granulomas or over grooming – region of the skin affected by irritated nerve (dermatome affected), lumbosacral stenosis (narrow space in spinal canal), luxating patellae (loose knee caps), seizures, spondylosis (arthritis of the spine), sprains/strains, urinary incontinence, etcetera.
Chiropractic care is integral for whole-body health and wellness. With chiropractic care, normal range of motion is restored to the joints of the spine and limbs which in turn reduces inflammation around the nerves and allows the nerves’ functioning to improve. The practitioner’s hands are used to correct the areas of restricted motion, known as subluxations, by applying a specific movement to the bone of the joint. This is known as the adjustment.
Subluxations occur with the normal everyday stressors of life, both physical and emotional. And they occur frequently – weekly or daily even. It does not mean that the joint is out of place. In the chiropractic definition of subluxation, the bones are within the normal joint space, but they are slightly off placement within that space. It has been scientifically demonstrated that just this slight change causes increased pressure on the nerves in the region and inflammation; this interferes with the neurological signaling. Neurological signaling is essential for life and comes from the brain to the spinal cord which is housed within the spine and then to the nerves exiting the spine which supply the entire body. Thus, a subluxation in one joint of the spine can negatively affect all of the organs and systems that the associated nerves supply. This is why every creature with a spine benefits from regular, continuous chiropractic examination and adjustment. Chiropractic is about more than being able to walk and move freely. It is about the health and optimal functioning of every system of the body.
What Do All the Terms Mean?
Ruth Lacey is a Chiropractic Veterinarian, or a Veterinarian Certified in Animal Chiropractic. The term Animal Chiropractor is reserved for chiropractors (DCs, doctors of chiropractic for humans) who have additional certification in animal chiropractic. And the term Veterinary Chiropractor is reserved for a person who holds a dual degree as both a chiropractor and veterinarian (DC and DVM). Our own founder of animal chiropractic in the USA was one, Sharon Willoughby-Blake, DVM, DC! Animal chiropractic can also be referred to as veterinary chiropractic, but it is most commonly referred to as animal chiropractic to be more clear that it includes both the veterinarians (DVMs) and chiropractors (DCs) certified in it. Certification in animal chiropractic for both chiropractors (DCs) and veterinarians (DVMs) occurs through either the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) or the International Veterinary Chiropractic Assocation (IVCA). Each is a joint program for both chiropractors (DCs) and veterinarians (DVMs).
My Journey into Animal Chiropractic
When was the first time you heard about animal chiropractic? Were you surprised that you had not heard of it before? Such was the case for me, and I was a veterinarian when I first heard the words animal chiropractic.
The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) was officially formed in 1989. However, a chiropractor named BJ Palmer was adjusting animals in the early 1900’s and it is likely that chiropractic-like care has been performed for animals in previous centuries as that is known to be the case for humans. Even with this being the case, I never heard about animal chiropractic in veterinary school when I graduated in 2016. It is my hope and prayer that this changes for the future generations of veterinarians.
When I started receiving chiropractic care for myself, I was already a veterinarian and also pregnant with my child. I remember during that first year of visiting my chiropractor I would sit in the office wondering if I had missed my calling, feeling the desire to be a chiropractor. I found chiropractic fascinating. I had also become disheartened within my veterinary career; that is a story for another essay. Then a veterinary colleague of mine whom I had become acquainted with through a social media group shared that she was becoming certified in animal chiropractic and that it brought her so much joy. That story was like glory shining down from heaven giving me hope and excitement. I can be a part of chiropractic as a veterinarian?! Count me in! When I learned that one of the only 5 post graduate animal chiropractic programs approved by the AVCA in the United States was being offered locally at Parker University in Dallas it was almost too good to be true. I knew that I could not say no and eagerly awaited the next enrollment period. I further fell in love with chiropractic during the program and met many amazing chiropractors and veterinarians. It has been a true joy to create Nose to Tail Animal Care.
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