Dr. Thomas Kopsch
Chiropractic care is a natural, safe, and effective approach to better health. It’s based on the scientific fact that your body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism. These important functions are controlled by the brain, the spinal cord, and all the nerves of the body. The skull protects the delicate tissues of the brain. The moving bones of the spine protect the vulnerable communication pathways of the spinal cord and nerve roots. If the nervous system is impaired, it can cause malfunction of the tissues and organs throughout your body. Doctors call this the Vertebral Subluxation Complex. “Vertebral,” meaning the bones of the spine. “Subluxation,” meaning less than a total dislocation. And “complex,” meaning consisting of more than one part.
Chiropractic is the science of locating offending spinal structures, the art of reducing their impact to the nervous system, and the philosophy of all things natural.
What Do Chiropractic Doctors Do?
Helping to restore proper spinal biomechanics and improved nervous-system function begins with a case history. This gives the doctor a background about your health, such as surgeries, accidents, the onset of your condition, and other details affecting your current health.
After reviewing your history and discussing your specific problem, a thorough orthopedic, neurological, and chiropractic examination is performed. X-rays may be taken to uncover structural and functional problems associated with your spinal column. These examinations help identify areas of spinal malfunction and resulting nervous-system deficits.
The findings of these examinations are then explained, and a plan of chiropractic adjustments may be recommended. Progress is then monitored with periodic examinations and follow-up reports. Since the word “doctor” comes from the Latin “doctoris” (meaning “teacher”), Dr. Kopsch maintains a strong commitment to patient education.
How Does Chiropractic Work?
Chiropractic works by restoring your own innate ability to be healthy. With a properly functioning nervous system, all the cells, tissues, and organs of the body can resist disease and ill health. The chiropractic approach to better health is to help remove any interferences to your natural state of health.
The human spinal column consists of 24 moving bones, which can commonly be a source of interference to our nervous systems. A loss of normal motion or positioning of these bones can impair the function of the nervous system, disrupting the transmission of controlling nerve impulses.
But improved spinal function is often accompanied by a correlating improvement in the nervous system function, and your chiropractic doctor can help remove interferences that may be impairing your health.
Since the primary focus of your care is on improved nervous system function, chiropractic can have a positive effect on many health conditions not normally thought of as “back problems.”
The Education of Chiropractic Doctors
Today’s doctor of chiropractic is well-educated.
The science of chiropractic requires a special emphasis on anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, biomechanics X-ray, and spinal-adjusting techniques. This demanding curriculum prepares chiropractic doctors to locate the Vertebral Subluxation Complex and help correct the resulting nervous-system dysfunction.
To graduate with a doctor of chiropractic degree, each candidate passes the demanding National Board Examination. Candidates then apply to a governmental or professional licensing board and must pass an even more difficult test before being granted the privilege to practice.
A chiropractic education never ends. Most doctors complete postgraduate instruction for license renewal and keep current on the latest scientific research.
Just What Is an Adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a joint that is fixated, “locked up,” or not moving properly. This adds motion to the joint, helping the bones gradually return to a more normal position. The goal of this safe and natural procedure is improved spinal function, improved nervous-system function, and improved health.
There are many ways to adjust the spine. Usually the doctor’s hands or a specially designed instrument delivers a brief and highly accurate thrust. Some adjusting methods are quick; others require slow and constant pressure. After years of training and clinical experience, each chiropractic doctor becomes highly skilled in the delivery of various adjusting approaches.
Are All Patients Adjusted The Same Way?
Dr. Kopsch evaluates each patient’s unique spinal problem and develops an individual course of care. His resulting recommendations are based upon years of training and experience.
Some patients who complain of headaches may actually have a lower back problem that’s causing a compensation reaction at the base of the skull. Other patients may be experiencing numbness and tingling in their fingers, although the source of the problem is in the neck. Every patient presents a uniquely different spinal pattern.
Dr. Kopsch’s patients appreciate that their chiropractic care is delivered with confidence and precision. Each visit builds on the one before. And while visits may seem similar, each patient’s care is uniquely different from every other patient’s.
Can I Adjust Myself?
Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force — applied in a specific direction to a specific spinal joint — it’s virtually impossible to adjust oneself.
It is possible to bend or twist your body in certain ways to create a “popping” sound, like the sound that sometimes accompanies a chiropractic adjustment. But this type of joint manipulation is usually counterproductive, often making an already unstable area of the spine even more so.
Adjusting the spine is not for amateurs. The best way to enjoy the healthful benefits of chiropractic is to receive adjustments from a doctor. Even your doctor must seek out the services of a chiropractic colleague in order to help restore and maintain proper spinal function.
Is Chiropractic Care Safe?
Chiropractic care is indeed a natural, safe, and effective approach to better health. In 1979, a widely read government study in New Zealand concluded that chiropractic care was “remarkably safe.” Since then, chiropractic has maintained its excellent safety record, the result of a conservative approach to health that avoids invasive procedures and addictive drugs.
A thorough case history and examination help reveal areas of the spine that may be causing nervous-system malfunction. The information is then used to determine the best course of care for each patient.
Can I Speed the Healing Process?
While there aren’t any shortcuts to expedite your body’s natural healing process, there’s plenty you can do to give yourself the best chance of a quick recovery. A good starting point is to learn proper sitting and lifting methods. Dr. Kopsch might also suggest specific exercises to help retrain the muscles that support your spine. Proper rest is an important aspect of the healing process, too. Get the appropriate amount of rest your body needs and avoid sleeping on your stomach.
Throughout the healing process, proper nutrition is crucial. Be sure to eat balanced meals, and if you’re overweight, now would be a good time to slim down and reduce unnecessary stresses on your spine. Perhaps most important of all, keep your appointments and follow your chiropractic doctor’s recommendations for optimum results.
Do I Have A Pinched Nerve?
Many patients consult a chiropractic doctor because they think they have a pinched nerve.
Because of the way your spine is designed, abnormal spinal function caused from physical trauma, emotional tension, or chemical toxins can affect the delicate tissues of the spinal cord and nerve roots.
While commonly associated with the spine, a pinched nerve (compressive lesion) is actually quite rare.
Researchers suggest that only 10% to 15% of spine-related problems are caused by direct pressure of bone on nerve tissue. This can result in numbness, burning, or a “pins and needles” sensation. More frequently, patients suffer from an irritated nerve (facilitative lesion). This is caused when nerve tissue is rubbed, scraped, stretched by a loss of spinal curve, or irritated by malfunctioning spinal joints.
Do I Have A Slipped Disc?
Technically, a disc can’t “slip.”
The intervertebral disc is a pad of cartilage-like material situated between spinal bones. Each disc serves as a connector, spacer, and shock absorber for the spine. Layers of fibrous tissue surround a soft, jellylike center. Healthy discs help allow normal turning and bending.
Because of the way each disc is attached to the vertebrae above and below, a disc cannot “slip.” However, trauma or injury to the spine can cause discs to tear, bulge, herniate, or even rupture. This can be quite painful, as the soft center of the disc begins to leak, putting pressure on the adjacent nerve roots and spinal cord. Although optimum results cannot be guaranteed, many patients have avoided needless surgery and a dependency on pain pills by choosing chiropractic care for their disc-related health problem.
How Long Will I Need Chiropractic Care?
Spinal problems that have been neglected since early childhood can require ongoing supportive care for optimum spinal function. Longstanding spinal problems are often associated with muscle weakness, soft-tissue damage, and degenerative changes to the spine.
Most patients find that periodic chiropractic checkups help keep them in tip-top shape. Those who are active, who have stressful jobs, or who want to be at their very best often find that a schedule of preventive visits is beneficial in maintaining good health.
Some patients seek chiropractic care only when their pain becomes unbearable. While this style of “crisis management” is usually more costly and time-consuming, our office stands ready to help all patients, regardless of their health goals.
How long you decide to benefit from chiropractic care is always up to you.
Do Children Need Chiropractic Care?
Because significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns checked for Vertebral Subluxation Complex.
Throughout adolescence, learning to walk, to ride a bicycle, and other childhood activities can trigger spinal problems. While a bandage and comforting words can soothe a skinned knee, the unseen damage to a child’s spine is the unique domain of a chiropractic doctor.
Many childhood health complaints brushed off as mere “growing pains” can often be traced to the spine. Regular chiropractic checkups can identify these problems and help ward off many health issues in adulthood.
Naturally, chiropractic adjustment procedures can be modified accordingly for a child’s spine. Most parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and seem healthier than other children.
Am I Too Old for Chiropractic Care?
Today, more and more people — especially those in their later years — are consulting chiropractic doctors. With growing concerns about over-medication and the side effects of combining various prescription drugs, chiropractic care is growing in popularity as a safe, natural alternative.
Restoring better spinal function can help improve mobility, vitality, endurance, and appetite. Many patients report improvement with arthritic symptoms and other chronic ailments often associated with the aging process.
The adjusting technique used by your doctor will be modified for maximum comfort and results.
As we get older and wiser, the simplicity and effectiveness of chiropractic care becomes more and more obvious.