Trauma or disease may compromise the nervous system’s motor activities mediated by the spinal cord.


Trauma may result from a variety of accidents or injuries which stretch, compress, bend, or break the nerve column within the protective spinal sheath. Symptoms may include pain, burning or itching sensation, limited sensation, weakness, etc. Damaged structures may be identified using CT Scans that reveal bone damage or MRIs which explore soft tissue damage. Often both x-ray techniques are needed to identify what structures need rehabilitation intervention.


Weakness (paresis) or total loss of function (paralysis) may result from neurologic disease, space-occupying lesions (e.g., tumor), or circulatory anomalies (e.g., stroke). Symptoms range from weakness with tingling to total numbness. Assessment may require imaging or medical evaluations for specific disease processes, e.g., stroke, M.S., tumor, etc.

Chiropractic Evaluation and Spinal Rehabilitation


Your chiropractic practitioner uses a four-point strategy for determining whether you can be helped by a chiropractic rehabilitation plan. This process begins with a history component where the basic complaint is defined and information concerning symptom onset is described, when symptoms appeared with respect to any trauma or disease. If a patient has been referred by another health care practitioner, the patient may find some questions redundant and repetitive, but a chiropractor will be asking questions from a different point of view.

Physical Evaluation

The second component of assessment relates to observation of function. What physically can the patient do? Where is there weakness? How much pain is there? How intact is the nervous system? Is the dysfunction related to stretching, compression, tortuosity of nerves altered by trauma, etc.? If trauma referral has come from another practitioner, CTs and MRIs may already exist, or they may need to be obtained to complete the diagnostic picture of the spinal problem. In the case of disease, medical diagnoses and tests may already exist.


The third component of a spinal assessment relates to making a judgment as to what problem(s) are present. Depending on that judgment, the chiropractic practitioner may refer the patient to other health care providers for appropriate diagnostic services. For example, a patient with indications for early M.S. or for stroke needs a medical work-up and medical management. When history, observations, and x-ray data are fully established and therapy services are indicated, it is time for recommendations.


The final component of a spinal assessment involves development of a rehabilitation plan. The problem will be defined in a way that the patient will understand that rehabilitation is a process, and a process takes time. The chiropractic practitioner will outline what the therapy strategy is, how success will be measured, and will provide a reasonable estimate of rehabilitation time involved.

Spinal Rehabilitation Options

The chiropractor may employ any or all of a number of therapies in conjunction with efforts to enhance movement, improve balance, build strength, optimize posture, improve range of motion, etc. Commonly used chiropractic procedures employ massage, body manipulation, exercise, application of heat and cool, etc.

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