Chiropractic Basics

Chiropractic is probably the most prejudged and misunderstood profession on earth. Most people think chiropractic is a treatment for back pain. The truth is that chiropractic is that and so much more. It is an alternative approach to health.

Chiropractic is based on the scientific fact that your nervous system controls the function of virtually every cell, tissue, organ, and system of your body. Nervous system dysfunction, caused by the misaligned bones of the spine can be a common cause of ill health. This is called a subluxation.


A subluxation is a condition that occurs when a vertebra or group of vertebra misalign to the extent that they cause an interference to the tiny nerve fibers that travel through the spinal column.

A subluxation may produce just about any symptom you can imagine, yet often times has no symptoms at all. It can take many years after the spine has misaligned before a symptom may appear. Chiropractic is the science, art and philosophy of locating and correcting subluxations. An adjustment is a chiropractic method of correcting subluxations.

The adjustments are performed utilizing drop pieces on adjusting tables. We use no rotational type adjusting procedures and there is no such thing as a routine adjustment. We adjust subluxations only when present. The soft tissue is also a part of the musculoskeletal condition, so we also do trigger points to the muscle to eliminate muscle spasm or hypertonicity.

Dr. Kathy O’Connor

Dr. Kathy O’Connor is a graduate of the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa in 1994.  Dr. O’Connor has been in practice in Petaluma since 1995.

Dr. O’Connor’s welcoming office utilizes the best of the older techniques combined with the latest technology to correct your spine and/or extremities to get you pain and symptom free and keep you that way.  Results are paramount

Our chiropractic technique, founded by Dr. Walter Vernon Pierce, was established in the early 1970’s and is also known as the “Pierce Results System”. It involves analysis of spinal motion to identify loss or limitation of spinal function.

Palmer8Dr. Pierce was taught by BJ Palmer, the developer of Chiropractic.  Both were avid pioneers and researcher in the Chiropractic field.  Dr. Pierce took the teachings of BJ Palmer to a higher level.Dr. O’Connor had the honor of studying with Dr. Vernon Pierce personally.

Dr. Pierce was a world renowned chiropractor who spent his life trying to find better ways to get the best chiropractic results.  Dr. Pierce traveled the world teaching his technique to both chiropractic students and chiropractors already in practice. In our opinion, the most important idea Dr. Pierce stressed was results. The Pierce Technique brings both physical/objective and x-ray findings together to determine where the subluxations exist. He believed patients should be x-rayed to identify structural distortion and restriction in motion.

The Heart of Healing

HeartOfHealing_600Dr. Kathy O’Connor is a co-author in this book “The Heart of Healing”. She is in the good company of Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, Bernie Siegel and Dean Ornish.

Heart of the New Healer is a compilation of original essays from many of today’s leaders in the healing arts. Both world-famous authorities, and intriguing new voices, are combined in this unique survey assembled by award-winning editor Dawson Church. Fifteen years ago, Dawson edited a best-selling book called The Heart of the Healer (New American Library, 1989). It was an influential book, reviewed in Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal and many other places, excerpted in the LA Times and other national media, and used by many colleges as a supplementary text.

Now, Heart of the New Healer surveys some of the most fascinating healers and thinkers of a new generation. From the most cutting-edge scientific studies to ancient techniques like Hindu Pranic healing, with humor, wisdom, and vast experience, the authors chart the seismic changes that are radically reshaping our society’s concept of health. If you want to know where the future of health care is headed, or get a spectrum of brilliant and current perspectives and practices to support your personal health, this book is essential reading.  Click here to buy now.

Dr. Kathy O'Connor

Fatigued? Aches and Pains? It’s Not You – It’s Your Spine!

Feeling out of sorts happens to everyone once in while — full-time work, kids, taking care of a household — all of these daily responsibilities can take a toll on anyone’s health, leading to feelings of fatigue, stress, headaches, back pain, but after some downtime will usually start to lessen.

But what if these symptoms don’t go away? Believe it or not, a trip to the Chiropractor may be what you need.  Chiropractic is based on the scientific fact that your nervous system controls the function of virtually every cell, tissue, organ, and system of your body. Nervous system dysfunction, also called Subluxation, is caused by the misaligned bones of the spine, which causes an interference to the tiny nerve fibers that travel through the spinal column. This interference can cause symptoms of ill health.

Subluxation is easy to overlook because the basic signs include:

Joint pain in the arms: Everyone gets sore arms once in awhile — especially if they garden, lift weights, or play sports. But sore muscles are different than pain that’s deep in the joints, and if that pain isn’t going away, it may be time to talk to a chiropractor.

Joint pain in the legs: Just like joint pain in your arms, pain in the legs is sometimes overlooked or mistaken for muscle pain, especially if you run, walk, hike, or spend a lot of time on your feet at work. But if you’ve taken days off to rest and still find that you have pain in your legs — especially your knees, ankles, and feet — it may be time to try a different approach. Chiropractors can adjust your knees,ankles and feet, especially for common conditions such as plantar fasciitis and achilles tendonitis.

Headaches:  Headaches are common, but don’t mistake them for normal. Aspirin is not the answer and it will only temporarily fix the deeper problem. Headaches are commonly caused by subluxation. When the vertebrae in your neck are misaligned and/or aren’t able to move properly, it irritates or puts pressure on the nerves. A chiropractor can gently adjust the vertebrae, and these headaches will disappear.

Neck pain: Subluxations are most common in the neck and can be due to any number of factors, including trauma, poor posture, and arthritis. Arthritis is on this list because it leads to joint destruction, which invariably causes mis-alignments and dysfunction.

Middle back pain: Also known as thoracic spine pain, the nerves contained within the thoracic spine control healing and the sympathetic nervous system; when they aren’t functioning they prevent normal healing and can lead to some hard-to-ignore pain. Middle back pain is most common after trauma, such as a car accident, but can also be caused by less obvious factors like posture or sleeping position.

Lower back pain: This pain is located in the lumbar region of the spine, usually at the transition between the lower spine and the sacrum. Subluxations originating here can lead to debilitating lower back pain, as well as sciatica, and should definitely get taken care of as soon as possible.

Besides these symptoms, Subluxation can cause pain, numbness or tingling in the extremities, headaches, fatigue, and dizziness or balance problems. If these symptoms persist, it may be time to see a Chiropractor. A skilled chiropractor uses an adjustment to correct subluxations. An adjustment is the use of a specific force in a precise direction that helps normalize spinal function.  Adjustments help return the bones to a more normal position; restoring the body’s natural healing.If you’ve been feeling under the weather, now may be the time to visit Chiropractor Kathy O’Connor. She offers a “No Obligation Exam” which consists of a unique, low dosage x-ray spinal motion analysis, thermographic and computerized spinal motion testing and a detailed report of the findings. This exam is at no-charge, and will help identify if Subluxation may be what’s been keeping you from feeling your absolute best.


What our clients say

“I Was Able to Throw Away My Walker”

My experience with back pain and problems goes back many years. Five years ago I proposed marriage to my present wife. Upon rising from my knees, I needed assistance to stand. Within one year, I was on a walker, barely able to walk, and out of ER’s for back pain. I began experiencing dizzy spells. One morning while trying to take a MRI, for the possibility of a brain tumor, shoulder pain of such intensity caused me to be unable to withstand the test.

I realized at that time that I needed to go see Dr. Kathy O’Connor. Upon conferring with her, an examination, X-rays and treatment, within 1 month’s time, I have thrown away my walker and am able to walk again. My arm pain and dizziness are almost gone. My future now looks very bright. The near future will be to take my new bride dancing.

Sincerely, Emmett Keller

P.S. My wife thanks you also!

Emmett Keller

“When I met Dr. O’Connor I was in pretty bad shape. I was hobbling around in constant discomfort due to severe back issues: to be exact, I had scoliosis, stenosis and sciatica. I had been to 3 chiropractors without relief and an orthopedic surgeon who was advocating surgery.

Long story short, after a few months of care, I noticed significant improvement. After 1 year, I was fully functional and again using my pitching wedge for playing golf, NOT a cane! I cannot say enough good things about Dr. O’Connor and her work!”
— Steve Terre

Steve Terre

“I had constant severe low back pain, neck pain and headaches from an Auto Accident one year earlier. No one else was able to help me. I am now pain free thanks to Dr. Kathy O’Connor’s treatment.”
— Todd Vine

Todd Vine