Chiropractic is a healing profession that treats the spine and extremity joints to improve function and health. It does this by focusing on alignment of the joints through mobilization and/or manipulation. The goal is to correct misalignment so the structure, movement and nervous system can function better.

Chiropractic can come in a wide variety of forms, similar to how there are many different types of exercise.

Some just do a roller table, electrostim, a few quick pops, and you’re done.

Some just treat the upper cervical area.

Some use a clicker device on your neck or back.

Some try to sell you a year care plan.

However, we were always interested in more complete care in a shorter time frame.

We believe in treating the whole person. This might be a big toe that won’t move which affects your running. It might be a tight IT band that affects the muscle firing in the glutes limiting your soccer game. It might be a tight diaphragm muscle that is amplifying your heartburn. It might be numbness in the fingertips from your forearm muscle that is too tight. It could be a low back pain from your SI joint that is locked on one side and too loose on the other. It could be a frozen shoulder that has stopped you from picking up your grandkids.

Part of these scenarios is treating the joints of the spine and extremities. There are other modalities to help with soft tissue restriction, flared up nerves and weak muscles, but we can’t ignore the vertebrae and other joints.

The body is an amazing creation. We still don’t understand all of it. Every year there are new discoveries and ideas on how we can allow it to heal. The idea of removing miscommunication in the body and allowing to self-heal is one of the major premises of chiropractic.

The joints in the neck, mid back and low back called vertebrae form the central column for our posture but also protect our spinal cord. The spinal cord is our central conduit for sending and receiving signals from the rest of the body. Spinal misalignment can affect your body balance and nerve firing.

The joints in the extremities of ribs, shoulder, elbow, wrist, fingers, hip, knee, ankle and toes can be misaligned, stiffened or too loose. They can affect your ability to move which affects your overall function in life. A lot of chiropractors focus on just the neck and back, so it is helpful to find a chiropractor trained and skilled in extremity chiropractic.

Nerves inside the extremity and spinal joints called proprioceptors send signals to the brain and spinal cord which affects balance, movement, pain intensity and muscle tone. One of the theories on how chiropractic is successful is the stimulation of certain proprioceptors that aren’t affected by other movement methods.

There are many different ways to move a joint. Some involve “popping,” some involving a gliding mobilization and some involve using an instrument such as an Activator or Arthrostim. We make an educated decision which ones to use depending on the individual patient. Some patients tolerate and like adjusting with a popping manipulation; some do better with a slow, low-force manual glide; some do well with trigger point holds; and some do great with an instrument-assisted adjustment like Activator. We treat a variety of patients so treatments become specific to the individual. For example, we might only use low force techniques for fibromyalgia or infant patients; whereas, we might use more intense techniques for a rugby player.

Several specialties and diplomats exist in chiropractic similar to the medical world. These include sports, radiology, neurology and internal disorders. Dr Michael Van Antwerp is one of the few Certified Chiropractic Sports Physicians (CCSP) in the state of Oklahoma.

Chiropractic is regulated in all 50 states by state Chiropractic licensing boards.

In summary, chiropractic is a natural healing art that works on the structure of the body to allow it to heal itself. It can include many other non-invasive methods including nutrition, soft tissue work and corrective exercise.