Chiropractic: It’s More than Just Back Cracking!
When the average person hears the word “chiropractic,” that unpleasant sound of creaking vertebrae most likely comes to mind. Those with minimal exposure to this practice might even assume that chiropractic sessions are painful. However, those who experience this mode of alternative medicine for themselves know the opposite is true.
In fact, chiropractic has been found to mitigate pain rather than exacerbate it, and the restorative benefits of this treatment method extend to various regions of the body including the musculoskeletal, nervous, respiratory and neurological systems, among others. While some conventional medicine practitioners have not legitimized the value of chiropractic as a healthcare adjunct, an increasing number of chronic pain sufferers have sought this modality––and discovered remarkable, sustainable results in the process.
To gain a more thorough understanding of how chiropractic can enhance wellness from a holistic standpoint, I turned to the expertise of Dr. Eric Winder who has practiced this healing technique for 20 years and operates Chiropractic here in Sarasota. Our conversation was both fascinating and insightful, as you’ll note in the Q&A session below!
Natural Awakenings: How does a chiropractic treatment reduce or alleviate pain, and can you describe the mechanics of this process?
Dr. Winder: Chiropractic typically aims to reinstate proper joint function in areas of restriction, excess motion or misalignment. My practice focuses on the underlying causes of joint problems within soft tissue, specifically the fascia. When the cause is corrected, you achieve lasting relief. Treating restrictions in the fascia consists of stretching, gentle bodywork or pulsed pressure, depending on the area being treated. Low-level laser therapy can also help to soften and release tight fascia.
NA: Which parts of the body are most targeted, and what types of physical conditions can benefit from a chiropractic adjustment?
Dr. Winder: Fascia covers just about every tissue in the body––muscles, bones, organs, nerves, blood vessels, and even the brain and spinal cord. Restrictions in the fascia, which is a sheet-like connective tissue, can trigger problems from head-to-toe, depending on where there is distortion or restriction. Migraines, back pain, stiff joints, vertigo and tendinitis are often caused by fascia restriction, and in my experience, using hands-on fascia release is successful in treating these conditions.
NA: After how many sessions do patients tend to experience pain relief, and how often would you recommend this treatment?
Dr. Winder: The average treatment plan at my office is between eight and 12 visits, although some people just need one or two treatments. Some patients with deep, debilitating issues like severe spinal stenosis or failed back surgery might require up to twenty treatments. Most patients come twice per week at first if the pain is severe and one per week for less acute cases.
NA: What are the most common misconceptions about chiropractic in mainstream medicine, and can you debunk them individually?
Dr. Winder: Myth One is “you have to keep coming back.” My practice reputation is based on helping people achieve wellness and maintain it long-term, so most of my patients don’t need to return on a regular basis for continuing care. Some might come in occasionally for a “tune-up” which could range from once a month to once a year. However, I do have patients who choose to come in regularly because of challenging issues like severe scoliosis or joint arthritis. These people benefit from ongoing treatment to maintain their health.
Myth Two is “chiropractic is just for neck and back pain.” The scope of a chiropractic treatment includes the whole body, and as a soft-tissue practitioner, I treat elbows, knees, shoulders, feet, wrists and other areas. Joint problems and fascia restrictions can also affect the organs, so several of my patients notice improvements with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux and asthma too.
NA: Which factors influenced you to pursue a career in alternative medicine, and what makes you passionate about helping others?
Dr. Winder: I’m in excellent health now, but during my twenties, I was disabled for almost three years with severe headaches and chronic fatigue. I visited a dozen different specialists and alternative healthcare providers, but none could offer the help I needed. Finally, a chiropractor named Dr. Jacqueline was able to reduce my pain to the point that I could resume my education. I was impressed with the health improvements of the people in her waiting room, and she inspired me to change career paths. Instead of continuing toward a PhD in biology, I enrolled in chiropractic school. Then, once I learned fascia release therapy, I was able to completely relieve the headaches that were plaguing me.
In some traditional cultures, a person could not become a “healer” unless they had experienced a great personal injury or illness. My own bout with pain and disability gave me a tremendous drive to help other find that same relief, and I’ve been fortunate enough to learn treatment methods which allow me to successfully achieve just that!
Eric Winder, DC, has been practicing chiropractic for 20 years, having focused specifically on fascial treatment and soft tissue therapies for the past 17 years. His practice Chiropractic is located at 3131 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Dr. Winder relieves pain and restores alignment with soft-tissue therapies which don’t involve forceful manipulation. For more information, call 941-951-8390 or visit GentleBay.com.
Mary-Elizabeth is the Managing Editor of Natural Awakenings Sarasota–Manatee. She also works as a freelance writer, blogger and social media marketer based in Southwest Florida. Her personal blog HealthBeAHippie.Wordpress.com features practical tips for embracing an active, nutritious and empowered lifestyle.