Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that often cause a variety of symptoms such as pain, muscle tightness, headaches, or numbness to name a few. Doctors of Chiropractic use a variety of treatments in their practices to heal patients without the use of drugs or surgery. Chiropractic joint manipulations (adjustments) are what chiropractors are more commonly known for. By mobilizing joints in the spine, neck, and even the hips, wrists and feet, a chiropractor can help correct biomechanical imbalances, alleviate pain, restore normal body function, and boost immunity.
How do chiropractic adjustments work?
If you are enduring chronic pain, muscle tightness, headaches, or simply not finding the answers for your health concerns please call to set up a consultation with Drs. Matt and Sara Howard. The doctors are qualified in treating a variety of health conditions. They continue to help numerous patients of all ages and backgrounds find relief and to simply feel better.
How do athletes get injured? They may stretch often and are in good shape, so, why? Usually, there is a very simple formula.
In most cases, we play too hard, too long, or too fast. For others, it may be due to making a lifestyle change. They begin to exercise or participate in sports regularly and their body is not stable enough to withstand the new activity. It is common for these injuries to occur not from one specific injury or trauma, but due to longstanding muscle imbalances, inflammation, or tendon/ligament damage. The way in which one treats these injuries determines how fast their recovery time is, as well as, how quickly they can get back to the activity they enjoy or fitness goals they are preparing to accomplish.
Chiropractic offers a balanced approach to the treatment and the healing of athletic injuries. The goal of Natural Balance Wellness Center is to help restore proper motion and function to the joint by using chiropractic adjustments and supportive therapies to return the body to its normal strength, function and mobility. Chiropractic can help the injured areas heal by relieving nerve pressure, decreasing muscle tightness and increasing ranges of motion allowing athletes to find their way back on the court or field faster. Afterward, better strategies for exercise and stretching will be discussed with the athlete to keep them on the straight and narrow path to better enjoyment of their chosen sport or activity.
Many professional athletes are utilizing chiropractic care more frequently because they realize that it helps them maximize their performance on and off the field. Articles continue to appear in major newspapers and magazines citing professional athletes Aaron Rodgers, Lance Armstrong, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Evander Holyfield, Emmitt Smith and Joe Montana proclaiming the benefits that chiropractic has had on their careers. Many NFL, MLB, and NHL teams currently have a chiropractor on staff and we see more and more professional and college sports teams are utilizing care for the same reasons.
If you can remember that the whole premise of chiropractic care is to restore spinal health so that the body has the best opportunity to heal and maximize proper function, it is not hard to understand why the Pros enjoy what chiropractic has to offer. Luckily, chiropractic can help everyone not just the Pros. We treat many high school athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and those just starting to make new health and wellness goals for themselves.
Our treatments have successfully helped many athletes suffering with:
Limited Range of Motion
Low Back Pain
Chronic Muscle Tightness/Spasm
Numbness, Tingling, Weakness
Making a first appointment to see an acupuncturist can seem like a leap of faith. Many call after hearing about effective treatment results from a friend or in a news article, but have trouble believing that those little, hair-like needles can eliminate a chronic disease or painful condition. How can inserting tiny needles cause pain and disease to disappear?
This is a big question that can be difficult to answer. There are two types of explanations. One is from a Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) point of view that explains Qi flow in the acupuncture channels. The other is a western biomedical explanation that discusses the role of endorphins in the pain pathways of the central nervous system.
Acupuncture, the insertion of tiny, hair-thin needles into acupuncture points on the body, stimulates your body’s Qi, which then sends signals to the nervous and immune systems telling them how to inhibit pain and resolve disease processes. Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) is a Chinese word meaning life energy. By Qi, we refer to the energy we use to move our arms and legs, for our organs to perform their functions of breathing, pumping blood and digesting food and for our brain to think. Without Qi, the body is lifeless.
Like blood, lymph or nerves, Qi flows in a vessel system, called acupuncture meridians or channels. Along the channels are acupuncture points. The points are described as wells that reach the river of Qi in the channel below. By inserting a needle into the acupuncture point, the acupuncturist stimulates Qi in the channel. These points have certain varying functions. Some points are used for pain relief while others are used to help relieve the symptoms associated with a rash. The acupuncturist chooses points by both function and location.
Most of the western, scientific research attempting to discover or explain the mechanism of acupuncture has focused on pain relief. Areas around an acupuncture point have shown to a high concentration of nerve endings and bundles, mast cells (used for immune function), lymphatic’s, and capillaries. 
Nerve fibers travel from acupuncture points to the spinal cord. Ultimately, they communicate to the brainstem and hypothalamus-pituitary gland. Stimulation of these areas in the brain and spinal cord cause the release of neurotransmitters such as endorphins, and enkephalins that cause inhibition of nerve pain fibers, effectively blocking the transmission of pain sensations. 
Studies have shown that acupuncture can alter the release of various hormones, such as prolactin, oxytocin, luteinizing and growth hormone, and modulate thyroid function. ,[ 5], The effect on hormone release might, in part, explain acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating gynecological conditions such as PMS, amenorrhea (no menstrual periods) infertility and premenopausal syndrome.
 Davis R. Acupuncture sticks it to pain, brain MRI shows, USA Today 9Dec 1999: 5D.
 Kendall DE: Parts I and II. A scientific model of acupuncture, Am J Acupuncture 17:251-268, 343-360, 1989.
 Pomeranz B: Scientific basis of acupuncture. In Stux G, Pameranz B: Basics of acupuncture, ed4, Berlin, 1998, Springer, pp 6-47.
 Pullan PT et al: Endogenous opiates modulate release of growth hormone in response to electro acupuncture, Life Sci 32: 1705-1709, 1983.
 Smith FWK: The neurophysiological basis of acupuncture. In Schoen AM: Veterinary acupuncture, St. Louis, 1994, Moxby, pp 33-53.
 Bossut DFB et al: Electro acupuncture-induced analgesia I sheep: measurement of cutaneous pain thresholds and plasma concentrations of prolactin and B -endorphin immunoreactivity, Am J Vet Res 47:669-676, 1986.
 Acupuncture: NIH Consens Statement 1997 Nov 3-5; 15(5): 7-14.
As children grow in the first years of life, the spinal column is developing at a very rapid rate. These tremendous growth and developmental changes make a complete chiropractic examination so important in the early stages of your child’s life.
In adults, severe spinal injuries are often associated with car accidents, falls, work injuries, or lifting excess weight. For many children, minor spinal injuries occur from everyday life. Tasks such as carrying a book bag, riding a bike, falling off the bed, rough play, fighting between siblings, jumping, and running can all cause minor spinal injuries. Unfortunately, injuries from this type of active play rarely leave visible signs of trauma. Instead, by scheduling regular spinal checkups, quick intervention can be done to prevent health problems that may occur in the future.
Pediatric chiropractic care is also often used as a preventative measure. Childhood conditions that may be prevented or improved by chiropractic care include: respiratory problems, sleep disturbances, headaches, spine pain, decreased immune system, colic, headaches, and bed wetting. Many parents also see the benefit of chiropractic care used to care for children affected by behavioral or developmental disorders such as AD/HD. After care, children reportedly display improved behavior, less sensory integration problems, greater flexibility and reduced pain. Those suffering from chronic conditions may be able to use chiropractic care as a means of replacing surgery or long-term medication use.
On the first visit, the child and parents will have a consultation to discuss the reason for their visit and the goals for your family. A complete medical history will also be compiled to help the Dr. Sara develop an individualized treatment plan. Then, she will perform a physical examination to determine if misalignment has occurred, neurological test and x-rays may also be performed, if necessary. If treatment is needed Dr. Sara Howard will complete a gentle treatment modified to fit the child’s size and condition. Parents may be relieved to know that children are likely to require less treatments than adults as their spines are more mobile.
Doctors of chiropractic are qualified professionals who are licensed in all 50 states. Those who focus on children and families, like Dr. Sara Howard typically complete specialized training in pediatric spinal problems. She is certified from the Academy of Family Practice in Pediatric and Pregnancy through the ICPA and Webster Technique Certified
During pregnancy, there are several physiological and biomechanical changes that occur in your body in preparation for creating the environment for the developing baby. The protruding abdomen and increased back curve, center of gravity changes, pelvic changes, and postural adaptations can all lead to spinal and pelvic joint misalignments.
When the pelvis is misaligned it may not only cause pain and discomfort, but more importantly reduce the amount of room available for the developing baby leading to a condition called intrauterine constraint. A misaligned pelvis may also make it difficult for the baby to assume the best possible position for delivery. This can affect the mother’s ability to have a natural, safe, non-invasive birth. Breech and posterior positions can interfere with the natural ease of labor and lead to interventions such as C-sections.
The late Larry Webster, D.C., Founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), developed a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment technique which enables chiropractors to establish balance in the expecting mother’s pelvis and reduce undue stress to her uterus and supporting ligaments. When the pelvis is balanced it has been clinically shown to allow for optimal fetal positioning. The technique is known as the Webster Technique.
It is considered normal for a baby to present breech until the third trimester. Most birth practitioners are not concerned with breech presentations until a patient is 37 weeks along. Approximately 4% of all pregnancies result in a breech presentation.
“The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported in the July/August 2002 issue an 82% success rate of babies turning vertex when doctors of chiropractic used the Webster Technique.” Further, the results from the study suggest that it may be beneficial to perform the Webster Technique as soon as the 8th month of pregnancy when a woman has a breech presentation. 
Currently, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) recommends that women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to establish pelvic balance and optimize the room a baby has for development throughout pregnancy. With a balanced pelvis, babies have a greater chance of moving into the correct position for birth, and the crisis and worry associated with breech and posterior presentations may be avoided altogether. Optimal baby positioning at the time of birth also eliminates the potential for dystocia (difficult labor) and therefore results in easier and safer deliveries for both the mother and baby.” 
For more information on pregnancy and chiropractic care please visit: www.icpa4kids.org or call Dr. Sara Howard at 309-691-9355 for a free consultation.
1 Chiropractic care during pregnancy. http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/chiropracticcare.html. The American Pregnancy Association. 08-Oct 2009
Drs. Matt and Sara Howard often utilize other services to best accommodate the need of their patients beyond chiropractic and acupuncture. Some of these services may include: