is a branch of the healing arts which is concerned with human health
and prevention of disease. Chiropractic medicine pays special attention
to spinal biomechanics, and musculoskeletal, neurological, vascular
and nutritional relationships. Chiropractic has become the second
largest primary health care field in the world.
is a holistic therapy which recognizes the overall health of the
patient and the body's innate ability to heal itself from physical,
mental, and emotional stress and trauma. Chiropractic medicine is
concerned with the relationship between the spinal column, afferent
and efferent neurons, and the entire nervous system. Just to review,
the human nervous system is comprised of the central nervous system
(brain and spinal cord), the autonomic nervous system, and the peripheral
nervous sytem (includes the somatic nervous system). All of the
body's tissues and organs are connected electically to the spinal
column, or backbone, which is protected by twenty-four bones called
vertebrae. It is the belief of chiropractic that the misalignment
of the spinal cord affects other portions of the body and creates
pain, sometimes disease, and other musculoskeletal abnormalities.
This firm belief is followed through in diagnosis and treatment;
just ask the 15 million Americans who turn to chiropractic physicians
ever year to heal physical injury such as lower back pain, neck
pain, and certain internal disorders. Chiropractic medicine is an
excellent alternative for those who want to avoid surgery for injuries
such as loose discs in the neck, slight scoliosis, and out of place
to chiropractic, pathological disease may be influenced by disturbances
of the nervous system. The following factors can contribute to impaired
health: genetic/hereditary factors, improper rest, lack of exercise,
inadequate and improper nutrition, overindulgence, foods tainted
by pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers and preservatives,
improperly cooked and/or processed foods, contaminated water, air
pollution, stress, bodily trauma, and bacteria and viruses. Almost
any component of the nervous system may directly or indirectly cause
reactions within any other component by means of reflex mediation.
Correction of the spinal (manipulative) lesion is imperative for
effective management of common functional disorders of motor structure
and for pelvic discomfort.
modern-day system of chiropractic was founded in 1895 by Daniel
David Palmer, despite the fact that the practice of spinal adjustment
has existed in virtually every ancient civilization, including that
of Egypt. Palmer felt that the task of chiropractic was not to treat
conditions but to remove nerve interfence caused by subluxations
so that the body's inherent capacity to heal itself would be able
to take over and restore health and homeostasis. His approach appealed
to those who demanded a more natural approach to healing.
medicine has contributed greatly to modern medicine's knowledge
of human biology, physiology, and anatomy, specifically of the spine
and pelvic areas. Posture, kinesiology, neurology, roentgenology,
orthopedics, and osteopathy have been stressed, as has the relationship
between structural disorders and mental health.
chiropractic physician must be able to diagnose spinal illness as
well as a host of cases of dysfunction. The physician might utilize
the following procedures in diagnosing and/or treating the patient:
spinal adjusting, manipulation, physical rehabilitation, nutritional
and psychological counseling, and emergency first aid. The manipulation
procedure, arguably the most notable aspect of chiropractic, involves
manipulation of the spinal column, soft tissue, and articular functioning.
The practice of structural adjustment of the body is what distinguishes
chiropractic from other field of medicine. Chiropractic doctors
may also refer their patients to specialists in either the field
of alternative medicine or western (conventional) medicine for special
testing or treatment from time to time.
a consultation with a patient, the chiropractic physician will ask
the patient for a personal health history. He or she will also ask
what the patient's chief complaint (general regional area of complaint
is the spinal area). The physical examination then comes next, and
may include observation, inspection, palpation, percussion, and/or
ausculation. The spinal neuromusculoskeletal examination that the
doctor will often turn to tests for range of motion, muscle movement,
neurological status, biomechanical status and mensuration. At the
end of the session, the doctor may mandate that some lab work be
done on the patient if he or she is still unsure of what exactly
is ailing the patient. A laboratory examination usually consists
of bio-analytical procedures, x-ray, roentgenological procedures,
physiological instruments procedures, and behavioral testing procedures.
are several types of structural adjustments that are made by the
chiropractic physician. There are several types of chiropractic
physicians. There are those who combine chiropractic with other
therapies and disciplines (mixers) and those who deal only with
locating and removing subluxations (straight chiropractors). Within
these two groups there are many variations and subgroups. In addition,
a new branch of chiropractic is network chiropractic (spinal analysis).
This emerging field advocates the detection of energy fields, suppressed
emotions revealed in spinal subluxations, and the body's chakras.
it has been suggested in the Journal of the American Chiropractic
Association that acupuncture is becoming chiropractic's perfect
partner. Acupuncture and chiropractic share many similarities in
their principles and in their treatment. Acupuncture works well
in combination with chiropractic to treat musculoskeletal injury.
also shares a close bond with applied kinesiology. Kinesiology is
the study of muscular movements. Since muscles, bone, and spinal
vertebrae are often intertwined and functionally related, so too
have become applied kinesiology and chiropractic. Chiropractic also
is affiliated with orthopedic medicine and osteopathy. Furthermore,
chiropractic medicine has become associated with many addiction
centers because of the positive effects it can have on patients
suffering from the withdrawal symptoms of addiction.
than probably any other alternative medicine therapy, chiropractic
enjoys wide acceptance by the medical community. There are few towns
on both the east and west coasts of America that do not have at
least a few chiropractors residing and practicing in them. Many
hospitals now have chiropractors on staff regularly, and they are
now appointed to the workers' compensation medical examination boards.
Chiropractors abound at sporting events because they have becoming
a leading influence in sports medicine. Interestingly enough, there
is a growing number of chiropractors who are medical doctors as
well; this serves to lessen the tension and animosity between western
and eastern medicine. Insurance companies and health maintenance
organizations are recognizing patients of chiropractic for financial
health benefits. Perhaps in the future, chiropractic will build
the bridge that unites alternative medicine and conventional medicine
to form complementary medicine.
Here is some evidence that corroborates the effectiveness of chiropractic
and shows that it is beginning to be accepted by modern medicine:
30 percent of the U.S. population, aged 18 and older, have used
chiropractic, according to The Gallup Organization. 1991.
of ten chiropractic users felt their treatment was effective, according
to The Gallup Organization, 1991.
percent of those using chiropractic considered it an essential part
of their health insurance package, according to The Gallup Organization,
a two-year study completed in 1990 Britain's Medical Research Council,
chiropractic treatment was found more effective than hospital outpatient
care for low back pain.
to records from the 1986 Worker's Compensation Fund, the average
medical patient was paid ten times more compensation than the average
chiropractic patient for the treatment of low back pain.
Studies conducted by the Florida Department of Labor and the Rand
Corporation in Los Angeles support the conclusions made by the British
Medical Research Council in 1990.