Effects of Subluxation

The word “subluxation” is thrown around quite a bit in the chiropractic field. If you’ve spent any amount of time in a chiropractic care facility or read up on the practice, then you might understand that subluxation is a reference to a misalignment of the spine. But what does it actually mean? What kind of negative effects might it have on your body? And how, ultimately, is it corrected? We’ll address these and other questions below.

First, what exactly constitutes a subluxation? How is it officially defined by licensed chiropractors? Simply put, a subluxation is a misalignment of the vertebrae that make up the spine. Vertebrae are not entirely stationary and may be dislocated slightly if exposed to certain stressors. Subluxation is not always the result of a major trauma. It can occur naturally due to minor irregular body movement, prolonged physical activity, or even gravity.

So, in what ways might a subluxated spine have negative effects on your body? There are several, and it’s important to understand why that is. The spine is a central part of your nervous system, which works behind the scenes to control your senses, thoughts, movements, and other bodily processes such as heartbeat and digestion. So if your spine is misaligned, the information that travels through the spinal cord cannot efficiently reach its destination or return to the brain. Here are a few of the ways subluxation can negatively impact your body:

  1. Physical Pain. A dislocated vertebra can lead to physical health problems such as pain, tenderness, and headaches.
  2. Emotional Instability. In extreme cases, untreated subluxations can lead to emotional issues such as anxiety and depression.
  3. Immune Deficiency. While impaired, your body cannot fully or effectively fight infections. This means that your ability to defend against pathogens is severely decreased, and you are more likely to get sick.
  4. Decreased Mental Capacity. A subluxated spine can lead to a foggy brain. You may find it difficult to concentrate on your work or other household tasks.

So how does one correct a subluxated spine? A chiropractor is trained in performing focused, unobtrusive manipulations to the spine. These manipulations, or adjustments, can push the vertebrae back into alignment without excess pain or discomfort. If you’re suffering the effects of subluxation, consider making an appointment with your local chiropractor. Dibella Chiropractic Center is located in Gastonia, NC. If you’re looking for a chiropractor to call home, we would love to have you. Give us a call or swing by our offices today!

Chiropractic Licensing Requirements in North Carolina

When you go to the chiropractor, you are entrusting the doctors with your health and the health of your spine. You want someone who is knowledgeable and skilled in their field, someone who has put in the time and effort to be good at what they do. Fortunately, there are regulations in place that require a certain level of training and certification before one can begin their own practice. If you’re standing in a chiropractic care center, then you can rest assured that the doctors and nurses have completed the necessary prerequisites.

The North Carolina Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NCBOCE) is responsible for setting specific standards and fielding applicants in our state. So what are today’s requirements for receiving chiropractic licensure according to the NCBOCE, you may ask? Let’s take a closer look at the process.

  • First things first, the proper educational background is essential. Applicants must submit proof that they have received a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree before applying for licensure in North Carolina. This should be presented in the form of an official college or university transcript.
  • Applicants must also acquire three certificates of “Good Moral Character” for submission. These are equivalent to references, though the NCBOCE requires that two of the three references be from currently-licensed chiropractic physicians in good standing with the board.
  • To ensure complete disclosure, as well as the safety and of future patients, the licensure application process requires that applicants undergo a background check. This includes a fingerprint-based scan of past criminal history.
  • The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) administers an exam in four parts. These scores must be sent to the NCBOCE along with your licensure application, and the applicant must have received a passing score on each part in order to qualify.
  • On top of everything, once the above materials have been acquired and submitted, an applicant must then take the NC Jurisprudence Presentation and Exam. This tests the applicant’s legal knowledge regarding the NC chiropractic system. The exam ensures a holistic and well-rounded knowledge of chiropractic care, with regard to ethics as well as health and wellness.

Indeed, the chiropractic licensing requirements in North Carolina are quite rigorous. The process contains a number of steps and requirements ultimately designed to ensure the patients’ safety and wellbeing. So, you can rest assured that your chiropractor is held to the highest of standards. If you’re looking for a chiropractor to call home, consider DiBella Chiropractic Center in Gastonia, NC. We would love to have you join our family!

Could A Stomach Problem Actually Be A Nerve Problem?

A chiropractor specializes in correcting and realigning one’s spine. The spine is one of the most important parts of the body. Made up of many individual vertebrae, the spine surrounds and protects the spinal cord, which travels from your brain. Together, the brain and the spinal cord make up your central nervous system. This is the information highway of your body. Similarly, the peripheral nervous system is made up of nerves branching from the spinal cord to all parts of your body. As a whole, your nervous system is responsible for movement, speech, sensation, thoughts, and involuntary processes such as heartbeat and digestion.

The primary focus of the chiropractor is to keep that information highway running smooth, free of traffic jams. If any vertebrae are out of place or misaligned, that bone may cause a blockage. This, in turn, may have varying degrees of effect on the nervous system and the functions listed above: movement, speech, sensation, thoughts, and involuntary bodily processes.

When people think of symptoms that typify the presence of subluxation in their spine, they think back pain, headaches, numbness or loss of feeling, and decreased range of motion. But what about something as simple as digestion? Might your subluxation cause pain and discomfort in the stomach? Absolutely!

The reality is that your nervous system and your digestive system are closely connected. Whether you realize it or not, your nervous system is responsible for efficiently digesting the food you eat. Gastrointestinal issues are frequently associated with poor nutrition, including eating too much or eating the wrong kinds of food. But that’s not always the case. Occasionally, when our spine is misaligned, our digestive system may not work as efficiently as it should. Often, the misfiring of the nerves in our spine can prevent our body from absorbing some or all of the nutrients in the foods we eat. This makes them more difficult to digest, which may lead to gastrointestinal issues with symptoms such as cramps or general abdominal pain.

If you’re experiencing stomach troubles, you may not have to jump on that new diet just yet. It could be that your body is just processing your nutrition inefficiently. If that’s the case, see a chiropractor and explain your symptoms. Through a series of minor, unobtrusive spinal adjustments, they should be able to help restore full functionality back to your body. DiBella Chiropractic Center is located in Gastonia, NC. Stop by our offices or give us a call to make an appointment today!

At-Home Exercises for Spinal Health

Going to the chiropractor is wonderful for your overall health. By adjusting and re-aligning your spine, you are boosting your body’s natural defense mechanisms against aches, pains, and illness. A chiropractor is trained in the practice of spinal manipulation, so office adjustments are typically most effective.

But what about the time between appointments? Is there anything you can do to maintain your spinal health? There are, in fact, ways to keep yourself in shape from the comfort of your own home. Here is a list of exercises that you can try to maximize and lengthen the positive benefits of chiropractic care.

  • The Cobra. This is one of the simplest poses physically, but it will give you a great stretch. Begin flat on your stomach, preferably on a yoga mat or other non-slip surface. Use your forearms to push your chest and head upwards. For maximum stretching, hold this pose at arm’s length with your hands flat on the ground.
  • The Child’s Pose. The Cobra pose transitions nicely into the Child’s Pose. Ease yourself downward, and fold your legs under your body in a kneeling position. Hands still placed on the mat, stretch them forward as far as you can reach and bring your forehead to meet the ground in front of your knees. It’s recommended that you hold this pose for several minutes, allowing the tension in your spine to dissipate.
  • Cat & Cow. Begin by kneeling on all fours, back parallel to the ground. Push your chest, stomach, and lower back forward and tilt your head backward to perform the cow stretch. Do the opposite to perform a cat stretch.
  • Knees to chest. Begin by lying flat on your back. Bring both knees up toward your chest and hold them in place with your arms, stretching the lower back. Hold only one leg at a time to perform an additional stretch. With one knee raised, turn toward your other leg and lower your raised knee to the ground.
  • Pelvic bridge. Like in the previous exercise, you will begin laying flat on your back. Raise your legs so that your feet are resting flat on the ground, and ensure your arms are resting on the ground parallel to your body. Use your arms to lift your lower back off the ground. Hold this pose for several seconds, lower, then repeat for several reps.

It’s true, chiropractic adjustments are beneficial to your health. But you can continue to improve your wellness at home with these simple exercises. Spend 10-15 minutes every day with these stretches, and you may find that your spine doesn’t need quite as much correction when it comes time for your next adjustment. If you’re looking for a chiropractor to call home, DiBella Chiropractic Center in Gastonia, NC would be happy to work alongside you. Contact us today and schedule an appointment today!

Identifying and Treating Your Neck Pain

Your neck is a very sensitive part of your body, particularly prone to damage and injury. Neck pain can be extremely uncomfortable, and these unpleasant sensations can have an effect on the rest of your life. You may also feel tired, low energy, irritable, or unfocused. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, perhaps it’s time to face the pain and reclaim your life.

So what can be done? How can you identify the root cause of your discomfort and then fix it? Luckily, neck pain is not uncommon and is fairly treatable. We will first walk you through how to diagnose your problem and any symptoms, then address the potential sources of this issue, then discuss how to treat it.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Neck pain is, as the name suggests, concentrated in your neck. That doesn’t mean that the rest of your body is unaffected, however. In fact, it can travel down your back and legs, and it can cause severe, debilitating headaches. Other symptoms include tightness or muscle spasms, as well as difficulty moving your head or holding a certain position (say sitting at your computer, driving your car, etc.). You may want to get a doctor’s opinion if your symptoms are completely debilitating.


There are a number of factors that can lead to neck pain, and many are simple to adjust. For example, poor posture, grinding your teeth, and carrying a heavy bag or purse on your shoulder can place unnecessary strain on your neck muscles. Accidents, such as whiplash or sports injuries, may also leave your neck feeling sore. Your neck pain may also stem from a pinched nerve, courtesy of one or more subluxated vertebrae in your spine.


How you treat your pain will depend somewhat on the cause of the pain. If it’s muscular in nature, try alternating between cold (to reduce swelling) and hot (to soothe the muscles). Medicinal treatments, such as painkillers and muscle relaxers, can be a good short-term solution, especially if the pain is completely unbearable. Use this time to find a more permanent solution, or instigate some lifestyle changes that will make neck pain a thing of the past.

If your neck pain is the result of a pinched nerve, consider visiting a chiropractor. These doctors can help monitor your spine and correct any subluxations. We here at DiBella Chiropractic Center would be happy to guide you through that journey. Our offices are located in Gastonia, NC. Contact us and make an appointment today!

5 Types of Headaches

Practically everyone has had a headache at one point in their life. Headaches can range in severity from a minor annoyance to completely debilitating. But what causes it and how to treat it are dependent on the type of headache. Some are chronic, and some are brought on by heat, stress, seasonal allergies, and other environmental factors. Here are the 5 different types of headaches and how to identify them.


Migraines are one of the more severe types of headache. They can last for hours or even days, causing the patient a tremendous amount of discomfort. Migraines are often accompanied by increased sensitivity to stimuli such as light, sound, or smell, which may then lead to nausea and vomiting.

Migraine victims report a throbbing pain that affects one or both sides of the head. Warning signs of an attack include erratic mood swings, stiffness of the neck, and an aura. An aura can come in many forms, all of which stem from the nervous system: pins and needles, bright spots or shapes, loss of feeling, etc.

Sinus Headache

A sinus headache is concentrated in the cavities behind your eyes, nose, and forehead. Symptoms include pain and pressure from within your sinuses, aching in the roof of your mouth, and fatigue. Migraine symptoms are often confused with sinusitis. True sinusitis does not lead to nausea or vomiting as migraines do.

Tension Headache

A tension headache is almost exactly like it sounds: patients report the sensation of a tight band around their head. While this pain is concentrated in the front, sides, and back of the head, patients may also feel tenderness in the shoulders, neck, and scalp. Like the sinus headache, tension does not usually evoke nausea and vomiting, again differentiating it from a migraine.

Cluster Headache

Cluster headaches (so called because they occur in regular cycles or “clusters”) affect the areas behind and around the eye. While sinus headaches can also occur in this cavity, cluster headaches are typically one-sided. Symptoms include redness and tearing of the eye, stuffy or runny nose, and swelling around the affected area.

Mixed Migraine

Mixed migraine headaches are a hybrid tension and migraine. Patients display symptoms common to both at the same time, and it is generally thought that the onset of one leads to the other. Symptoms include light sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, muscle tenderness, and numbness of face or limbs.

Try Chiropractic First!

Headaches have a variety of symptoms and triggers. But expensive medication doesn’t have to be your first treatment option. Sometimes headaches are the result of a pinched nerve, courtesy of a subluxation spine. If you suffer from frequent or intense headaches, make an appointment with DiBella Chiropractic!

How Does Chiropractic and Insurance Work?

Health insurance covers several expenses related to medical treatments or emergencies. Doctor appointments, hospital visits, prescription medication, and even therapy sessions are covered under certain health insurance plans. But what about chiropractic care? Can you use your health insurance coverage to offset the cost of regular treatments?

The good news is that many health insurance providers will cover at least part of the cost. They may not pay in full, requiring you to uphold co-payments, but it will certainly relieve some of the burden of the expense regardless. Given this caveat, there are a few other things to keep in mind if you want to start seeing a chiropractor under health insurance.

First, determine if you are eligible under your current insurance plan. Many agencies have included chiropractic as a part of their services, but some still consider chiropractic care an alternative form of medicine. Alternative medicine is typically not insured. If you’re unsure whether of not chiropractic is included in your current plan, contact your insurance agency and double-check the list of services.

Next, depending on where and how you receive coverage (employee benefits, health insurance, etc.), you may be subject to certain limitations. If chiropractic care is included at all, whether full coverage or through co-payments, the provider reserves the right to dictate how and when you spend their money.

For example, you may be limited in the number of times you can visit the chiropractor per month/year. Similarly, you may not be covered if your health begins to stabilize, at which point the treatment becomes maintenance. Insurance typically only covers treatment for traumatic injuries, during which your body must show signs of improvement. You may even be asked to use a certain pre-approved chiropractor or receive direct recommendation from a doctor to begin treatment at all.

Finally, if your insurance plan does not provide any coverage for chiropractic care, don’t give up just yet. Have your physician contact your insurance company. They may be able to work out a solution that works for both parties. If all else fails, you may be able to pay out of pocket without breaking the bank. Chiropractic treatment has been known to start as cheap as $30 per visit.

Chiropractic care is a great way to keep your body feeling good. Contact your insurance company today and see if you’re covered under your current plan. We here at DiBella Chiropractic would love to make an appointment with you and get you started on the path to wellness!

Back to School & Backpack Safety

Autumn is almost here! With the changing of the season comes cooler weather, cozy sweaters, colored leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, and back-to-school sales. As you pick up your pencils, scissors, notebooks, and glue for the school year ahead, be sure to monitor the backpack usage of your student. This is important for all ages, kindergarten through adult.

While it may not be the first thing on your mind, backpack safety is incredibly important. Students spend the majority of their school days, five days a week, carrying their book bags between classes. How does this affect spinal health and posture? Is there a wrong way to carry a backpack? How can I make sure my student is practicing healthy backpack habits? Let’s answer a few of those questions now.

First, how can carrying a backpack be detrimental to your student’s health? If the bag is too heavy or throws off your center of balance, then you’re more likely to strain your back muscles or misalign your spine. Here are four ways you and your student can stay safe when carrying a backpack:

  1. Select an appropriate size. The backpack should not be too big for the student, especially the younger ones. If the bag is too bulky and heavy, the student will have to constantly overcorrect their posture, which places unnecessary exertion on the spine and back muscles.
  2. Choose one with adjustable padded straps. The keyword here is “adjustable.” Size is one thing, but the straps that go over the shoulders, chest, and sometimes even the stomach should be snug to the student’s frame. Shoulder straps are often padded, which serves to protect your shoulder muscles and distribute weight. These features all alleviate the pressure on your back, protecting your spine.
  3. Use both shoulder straps. It may be tempting to carry your backpack using only one strap, especially when you don’t have to travel a great distance. Nevertheless, a backpack comes with two shoulder straps to evenly distribute the weight between the left and right sides of your body. Using only one will throw off your natural balance. Constantly having to correct your posture to the right or the left is hard on your back and spine.
  4. Stick to the essentials. If you don’t need it, don’t carry it around. Extra books, notebooks, and supplies can add unnecessary weight to the bag. If you’re able, leave it in your locker, in the classroom, or at home.

Chiropractic care is extremely helpful in keeping your spine healthy and strong. Misaligned vertebrae can be corrected, but it’s best to practice preventative measures to avoid causing any permanent damage.

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