What is Chiropractic?

Questions and Answers About Chiropractic

How Does Chiropractic Work?

Santa Barbara Family Chiropractic works to raise the quality of your life. Whether symptoms such as a headache, foot pain, or debilitating back pain; or you just want to feel better, to have better digestion, more energy, a clear head or a faster mile time, chiropractic has the ability to help you achieve the life you deserve.


Through movement, the joints of your body send positive information through your nerves and then to your brain. When a joint becomes injured (subluxated) through a micro-trauma like poor posture (stop slouching!), or a macro-trauma like car accidents, it no longer sends that positive information to your brain. Instead, it causes a body-wide stress response that works to stop your digestion, stop your concentration, stop your libido, and stop muscle building. Instead that stress response works to increase your blood pressure, increase your cholesterol, increase your breathing and pulse rates, increase your fat storage, increase your aging…and it can also cause PAIN. However, these subluxations or joint injuries/misalignments often begin just like cavities, in silence.

Chiropractors work to find and correct subluxations through specific adjustments to the joints of your body, helping your body to function better while reducing pain and stress.

What is a Chiropractic adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is used to restore proper function, motion and alignment to dysfunctional (subluxated) joints. These joints are primarily in the spine although chiropractors can and do adjust feet, ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, and even ears and noses as needed! Here at Santa Barbara Family Chiropractic, Dr. Nick practices a chiropractic technique called Gonstead. There are literally hundreds of chiropractic techniques, but what makes Gonstead so special is SPECIFICITY. Dr. Nick uses five assessment tools to ensure he is on the correct (subluxated) joint every time. Finding the subluxation (misaligned/dysfunctional) joint is paramount to Gonstead chiropractic; it is the difference between helping someone with stomach pain and just pushing on stuff and making noise. Gonstead chiropractors use their hands to make small adjustments to the position of a patient’s spinal bones, essentially “putting them back in place.” Often there is an associated “popping” sound, but do not fear, it is simply a gas (CO2) bubble being formed in the capsule of the joint and then dispersing quickly. You can liken it to the sound of wet glass on a countertop being suctioned apart. Adjustments release endorphins in your body, and so it usually feels fantastic, and can help people to feel lighter and more connected to their body. Chiropractic adjustments are the BEST!!

Is Chiropractic Safe?

Chiropractic health care is incredibly safe. Dr. Nick is able to walk you through exactly how he will treat you and why. Because Dr. Nick practices with his hands, he’s able to change his treating style and pressure to accommodate people of all ages and conditions from infants to the aged. In terms of absolute safety, the easiest way to explain the safety of chiropractic care is to inform you what Dr. Nick’s chiropractic malpractice insurance is: $1,287/year. This is roughly 8 x lower than the malpractice insurance of a medical internist and incredibly lower than the $25-125,000/year for a non-surgical pediatrician’s malpractice. Insurance companies understand the safety of health care better than anyone, and they set the cost of malpractice based on the safety of each profession.

I heard you adjust children in your clinic…but aren’t children too young to be adjusted?

Chiropractic care is for everyone, especially children. Here at Santa Barbara Family Chiropractic we understand that the majority of problems adults have are largely degenerative, meaning old problems that began when the adults were much younger. In fact, the most common first spinal subluxation (injury/misalignment) happens during the birthing process, which is why we are so adamant about checking the health of each family member’s spine. This approach ensures that the children seen at Santa Barbara Family Chiropractic have the best chance to grow up healthy, and develop optimally.


Dr. Nick has had a great deal of experience working with children. Before starting Santa Barbara Family Chiropractic, he completed a two year post-doctoral program at Franson Family Chiropractic that sees roughly 30% pediatric. Franson Family Chiropractic is one of the largest wellness based chiropractic clinics in the world.

Children usually love getting adjusted. Like adults, it can be a little scary for them at first, but Dr. Nick’s calm demeanor and educational style put children at ease, and before long they are eager to get adjusted and ride the “rocket ship.”

Check us out on the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA): http://icpa4kids.org/


Do I need to get x-rays?

innerimageSanta Barbara Family Chiropractic weighs each case individually, striving to only take x-rays when necessary, making sure that if X-rays are required, that the benefits far outweigh the risks. The information provided by X-rays is useful for understanding exactly what your problems are (diagnosis), how long they have been there, and most importantly if we can help you.

Your spine is essentially a suit of armor for your nerve system (your master regulatory system). Just like your skull protects your brain, the bones of your spine protect your spinal cord, which is an extension of your brain. Because chiropractic works to restore and maintain the proper alignment of your spine, ensuring the utmost health to your nerve system, it can be important to have a blueprint of those structures. Dr. Nick uses the information collected from the consultation and chiropractic exam to determine whether X-rays are necessary, and if so, it is the last exam performed.


Could Chiropractic help problems other than just back pain?

Most definitely!  Chiropractic is unique among the health professions in that it’s focus is to not only treat symptoms (like drugs/surgery), but more importantly help make you a healthier person (like exercise), and remember: HEALTHY PEOPLE HAVE FEWER SYMPTOMS!

This is how chiropractic improves your overall health: Stress is responsible for 75% of all deaths in the form of chronic diseases.  Stress comes from three areas; physical (bodily injuries), chemical (foods/drugs) and emotional (thoughts).  Damage to your spine from poor posture (sitting, driving, poor sleeping or lifting habits), combined with sports injuries, auto accidents and slips and falls adds to the stress of your life.  This added stress can manifest itself as joint and muscle pain, headaches, indigestion, breathing issues, circulation problems, inability to concentrate, allergies, IBS, autoimmune disorders, fertility problems, bowel and bladder problems…etc.  Having a well adjusted spine lowers your stress, decreases dis-ease and improves your health.  How cool is that?!

For more on specific symptoms please see http://www.123chiropractors.com/conditions


Is it okay to see a Chiropractor if I’m pregnant?

Yes, in fact it is incredibly beneficial!  Pregnancy is a time when a woman needs to make the best decisions not only for her health, but also the health of her child.  Having a properly aligned spine and pelvis will not only alleviate a mother’s lower back pain and nausea, but can also help with a healthier pregnancy and quicker and safer birthing process.  Misalignments of a mother’s spine can result in uneven ligament forces on the uterus resulting in poor positioning of the baby.  This can cause lengthier, more painful and more complicated births.  So please get checked today!  For more info please see the international chiropractic pediatric association at:  http://icpa4kids.com/index.php

I’m curious about Chiropractic, but I feel fine! Should I still see a Chiropractor?

YES!  Like exercising and eating a proper diet chiropractic is a piece of your health puzzle.  Missing any of the pieces ensures that you are not as healthy as you could be and sets the stage for chronic disease.  This is the difference between SURVIVING and THRIVING!  Often, people make the mistake of WAITING until they are symptomatic (or very symptomatic) before seeing a chiropractor; this is like to not caring for your teeth and then going in to the dentist and having to get a root canal.  This approach is disastrous for your health; it becomes more painful, more expensive and harder to correct the longer you wait.

Your spine protects your nervous system, which runs your body.  Chances are you’ve had your ears, eyes, lungs, and heart checked, isn’t it about time you get the system that regulates all the other systems checked too?  Everyone should get a spinal checkup by a chiropractor!

What is a Health Coach?

Health Coaches are experts in human health. Ironically they are unlike most health care professionals, in that they study health not sickness, and so they are able guide their clients toward health through education, accountability, communication and motivation.
Just like sports coaches, financial advisors and therapists can be invaluable to help improve a person’s life in the specific arena; health coaches coach people to health. They help their clients to understand the latest information in Wellness Science as well as the easiest way to implement it into their own life. This leads to better behaviors in eating, moving and thinking which ensures healthier happier people.

Through Dr. Nick’s certification as a Chiropractic Wellness Expert (the only in Santa Barbara county), Santa Barbara Family Chiropractic is able to offer Health Coaching as another valuable service unheard of in most health care facilities.