Chiropractic Questions and Answers

Q. How long will it take me to get well under adjustments?
A. The length of time will depend upon how long the vertebrae (spinal bones) have been displaced, how successful the adjustment is in reducing the displacements, how much damage has been done to the nerve tracts and fibers, the vitality of the patient, and the rate of response of the nerve fibers to the adjustment.

Q. What brings about healing under adjustments?
A. The function of the adjustment is to restore misplaced bone structures to their normal positions and reestablish the normal pathways for the nerve tracts and fibers so that performance of the nervous system can improve, thus promoting healing.

Q. How can the chiropractor determine if the patient is making progress?
A. Patient progress is determined by the degree of the presence or absence of the objective and physical signs of imperfect performance of the nervous system: leg length checks, mobility checks, thermographic pattern measurements, spinal column distortion measurements, and evaluation of symptoms as compared to the objective signs.

Q. Why is an adjustment not given on the basis of how I feel?
A. If correction made by the adjustment is still holding, the sensitivity of the nervous system may increase, making the patient more aware of his distress. This is important to the recovery of the patient, and is usually temporary. Adjusting the patient on the basis of increased sensitivity or in reaction to his previous adjustment, will retard his progress. Adjustments are given only on the basis of lack of proper performance of the nervous system.

Q. Why is time required to obtain results?
A. Most subluxations have existed for years, causing harm to the nervous system and its control of the bodily functions. When the subluxation is removed by the adjustment, repair of the damage caused must take place before the patient can recover. Repair of tissue takes time.

Q. Does the chiropractor treat every case alike?
A. No two subluxations are identical; therefore every adjustment is different.

Q. Why am I adjusted in the neck when my pain is in my back and legs?
A. The neck (cervical) vertebrae, when interfering with the nervous system, cause problems throughout the body and the pain from a subluxation is most
frequently expressed some distance from the location of the subluxation. Muscular imbalance will twist or distort the pelvis as well as the entire spine.

Q. Why do I notice differences in my body after the adjustments which don’t seem related to the reasons I consulted the chiropractor?
A. Many benefits accrue to the chiropractic patient other than those for which he sought chiropractic care. Some of these are:

  • Better performance of the nervous system resulting in improvement in respiration, cardiac rate control, circulatory improvement, better functioning of the digestive tract, better elimination
  • Improved spinal balance through correction of the pelvic alignment
  • Realignment of the gravity center of the body, causing better posture
  • Correction of spastic contracture in skeletal (body framework) muscles, thereby resolving back pain
  • Equalization of leg lengths providing better body-weight distribution and protecting spinal discs
  • Improved positions of internal organs.

Q. Do I get an adjustment each visit?
A. If the nervous system is steadily improving in its performance no adjustment will be given.

Q. If I get adjusted more frequently will it speed up my recovery?
A. No, it will retard your recovery. Recovery is sped up by the degree of correction obtained through the adjustment, by the care that the patient takes of the adjustment, by good living habits, and by the length of time the adjustment holds.

Q. Is it possible to feel fine yet have a subluxation interfering with my nervous system?                                                                                                A. Yes, sensation of any kind is conveyed from the sense organs in the body to the spinal cord and brain over those nerves referred to as sensory. If the subluxation decreases the ability of these sensory nerves to convey messages to the central nervous system, the patient may feel quite well yet be very ill. This is somewhat like certain drugs given to relieve symptoms and which act by lowering or blocking the sensory input to the central nervous system.

Q. If I become subluxated again after holding my adjustment for a period of time, will the same symptoms return?                                                                  A. Yes, if the same subluxation recurs and to the same degree. The intensity of the symptoms agrees rather closely with the severity of the subluxation. However, if the adjustment has held for a considerable period of time, it will require time for the symptoms to recur. Just as it takes time to get well, it takes time to get sick. This is the reason you should check after a fall, not wait for symptoms to appear again.

Q. Does it always require an injury to produce a subluxation?
A. No, we are subject to our environment and must continually adjust to it. Within that environment are disease-producing organisms, pollutants, poisons, and other irritants to which the body is subject and must adapt. It the body cannot adapt through the nervous system mechanisms, a subluxation can be produced.

Q. How can I tell if I need an adjustment?
A. The only sure way is to have your chiropractor check you for the physical signs.

Q. What does it indicate if the physical signs change, such as the contracting of an opposite leg?
A. It indicates strongly and positively that a major change has taken place in the subluxation factors. The area should be x-rayed again.

Q. Can my subluxation correct itself?
A. Very rarely does this happen and only after injury. Patients who suggest that a correction has occurred are judging by the symptoms. They feel better and believe that the reason for feeling better is that the subluxation has corrected itself. Frequently, an increase in the subluxation factors due to some injury will make the patient symptom-free, but only temporarily; later he/she will become more ill if an adjustment is not given. If the subluxation recurs slowly, the patient will feel exceptionally well for a day or two before subluxation sets in.

Q. Do vertebrae “snap” out of place?
A. Not unless there has been a rather severe injury. The vertebrae of the cervical (neck) spine have little to hold them, especially the atlas which is held only by ligaments and muscles and must support the weight of the head. It is more vulnerable to injury than are the other vertebral segments.

Q. After I have held my adjustment for a period of time, and suddenly require another, what has happened if I have had no injury?
A. The nerve fibers have had time to increase in size following the adjustment, and the bony pathways through which the nerve fibers pass must be further enlarged by the adjustment to accommodate them.

Q. Should everyone be checked for subluxation?
A. Imperfect performance of the nervous system is an integral part of the inception of every disease process. Checking the nervous system’s performance to uncover conduction blocks, and removing them, could help prevent many conditions from developing.

Q. Should I check for a subluxation after recovery from my condition?
A. An occasional check is advisable after the patient has been dismissed from care. There is always the possibility of a recurrence of the subluxation or of a new and different subluxation giving rise to a new condition with different symptoms. Further, keeping a check on the functioning of the nervous system will help prevent many illnesses.

Q. What care should I take of my adjustment?
A. Following an adjustment, use care in moving the head; avoid sudden movements.

  • Avoid looking up as in reaching above the head; raise eyes rather than the head.
  • In order to avoid hitting your head when getting in your car, some people like to put the head in first, and then follow with the body.
  • When lying down do not use the head to lift or turn the body to another position.
  • Do not permit anyone to massage the neck, or manipulate your spine without consulting your chiropractor.
  • Do not sleep on the stomach.
  • Never put strain on the neck muscles.
  • Have a spinal exam following any fall, jar, or external force against the body.
  • Do not “pop” neck or pull on head.
  • Do not sleep while sifting in chairs or in automobiles.
  • Sit upright in chairs; do not sit on the lower back (sacrum). Do not sit in chairs that place pressure against the back of the head, forcing it forward.
  • Avoid emotional stress.
  • Check with your chiropractor if you have a cold or other feverish condition.

Chiropractic Patient Instructions

Regarding the leg check    Please wear a pair of dress shoes with good soles and heels. (Ballet Slippers, sneakers, galoshes, and similar footwear present too many variables for an accurate leg check.)

Regarding X-Rays    Please cooperate with the doctor by standing erect, not moving and not talking while being x-rayed.
Please remove all x-ray opaque objects from about the head and neck; such as chains, hairpins, barrettes, and earrings.

Regarding placement on the table for the adjustment     Please remove earrings, rollers or barrettes.


REMEMBER: The longer the vertebrae remain in alignment and the interference is off the central nervous system, the greater the benefit to your health. Your chiropractor can adjust the vertebrae, but only you can take the necessary precautions to help maintain the correction. It is our intention to render the finest chiropractic treatment available.

Appointments    If you find it necessary to change a scheduled appointment we would like a 24 hour notification if possible, so we can use this scheduled time for another patient in need.

NOTE: While these things may seem simple, it is important to remember that every time you create a subluxation you also cause injury (trauma) to your nervous system.

Dr Raymond R Rickards
Rickards Chiropractic
1111 E Washington Ave Suite D
Escondido CA 92025
(760) 745-1511