Chiropractic has a philosophy on healing and health which differs from the traditional medical view.
Chiropractors approach health in a holistic manner. In other words, chiropractors evaluate the entire person as a whole when assessing and treating a patient's health ailment or disease, rather than focusing solely on a symptom or specific area of the body.
Chiropractors know that the body is able to maintain and heal itself in most cases. We also know that true health is not achieved through the ingestion of chemicals or the cutting away of diseased tissues. Instead, health is something that comes from within and is inherent to our body.
The chiropractic doctor understands that circumstances occur which may require medical intervention, but ultimately, it is the body that conducts and manages the process of healing and not the doctor or externally applied forces.
When the chiropractic doctor corrects spinal abnormalities and eliminates spinal and nerve irritation and interference, pain is alleviated and the body's inborn healing capabilities are set into motion.
What is Chiropractic
According to The Association of Chiropractic Colleges, "Chiropractic is a health care discipline which emphasizes the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs and surgery. The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the spine) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health."
How Does Chiropractic Work
You may be wondering... how can the same chiropractic treatment which effectively treats my back pain also optimize my health? The answer can be found by looking into the relationship between the spine and the nervous system.
As you may already know, the nervous system is the master controller of all living cells, tissues and organs; orchestrating and coordinating all cellular functions. The spinal column encases the nervous system (spinal cord and nerve roots) and is responsible for its protection.
Because of this intimate relationship, biomechanical and structural problems in the spinal column can irritate parts of the enclosed nervous system. This irritation can result from noxious inflammatory biochemicals released during tissue injury or may result from direct mechanical pressure. In either case, the functioning of the nervous system is negatively influenced as is the functioning of the cells, tissues and organs which are supplied by the affected nerve(s).
The resulting ailment(s) depends on the cells, tissues and organs affected as well as the extent of nervous system compromise.
In short, because the body's innate recuperative powers are affected by and integrated through the nervous system, correcting spinal abnormalities which irritate the nervous system can lead to a number of favorable results in patients suffering from various, seemingly non-spinal health conditions.
What Chiropractors Do
Practically speaking, chiropractors are primarily concerned with locating and treating vertebral subluxations.
A vertebral subluxation is a complex of functional and/or structural and/or pathological articular (joint) changes that compromise neural integrity and may influence organ system function and general health.
Using a number of unique and highly refined skills, the chiropractor checks the patient's spine for any misalignments, fixations or other abnormalities (vertebral subluxations). If subluxations or other abnormalities are detected, the chiropractor will generally apply a gentle force in a corrective manner to the affected spinal area.
Chiropractors use many specialized techniques to identify and treat these spinal abnormalities and optimize overall health. In addition to spinal adjustive techniques, soft tissue techniques such as massage, dietary and nutritional counseling, physical therapies, and lifestyle modification programs are commonly employed.
The Art of Chiropractic
The detection of the vertebral subluxation and deliverance of the chiropractic adjustment to correct the subluxation comprises the art of chiropractic.
The detection and removal of the subluxation is not a matter of using a set of simple tests in a yes-no fashion. Mastering the ability to effectively identify vertebral subluxations takes years of study, practice and observation. Similarly, the chiropractic adjustment is a skilled procedure requiring many years of training and practice. In fact, learning to successfully "adjust" the joints of the spinal column and extremities is one of the more frustrating tasks the chiropractic student encounters.
Learning to properly assess and adjust the spine and extremities safely and effectively, is an extremely refined art and should only be performed by a chiropractor.
The Science of Chiropractic
Chiropractic understands and appreciates the significant role the nervous system plays in the health of the entire body. As the master controller of all cells, tissues and organs in the body, the nervous system controls and coordinates the functioning of the body. Any irritation or interference to the nervous system will hamper its ability to communicate with cells, tissues and organs, thus, compromising it's control over the body. Once this occurs, the ability of the body to remain in health is jeopardized and the individual becomes susceptible to injury and disease processes.
By removing nerve irritation and interference via the treatment of vertebral subluxations and other spinal abnormalities, the nervous system is able to correctly manage and control the bodily functions. When the nervous system functions optimally, the body is able to fight off disease processes and maintain a state of optimal health.
The chiropractic spinal adjustment is the key to removing these spinal subluxations and other spinal abnormalities which cause pain and impair nerve functioning. The effectiveness of chiropractic treatment has been well established within the scientific research and has been consistently shown to be significantly more effective than medical management for most commonly encountered back-related ailments.
The Benefits of Chiropractic
Short-term and regular chiropractic care have a number of benefits including:
- spinal and extremity pain relief
- headache relief
- increased mobility and range of motion
- decreased stiffness and muscular spasms
- arthritic joint pain relief
- increased joint health
- increased performance and energy
- increased sense of well being and relaxation
- increased balance and coordination
- reduced degeneration and risk of injury
- enhanced tissue healing
- decreased tissue inflammation
How Chiropractic Differs
There is a significant and very important difference between the way chiropractors and medical doctors approach health ailments.
When evaluating and treating patients, chiropractors take a holistic approach which includes identifying and correcting the cause(s) of the patient's health ailment. In contrast, the medical approach tends to focus more on the treating the symptoms of a condition rather than focusing primarily on the actual cause(s).
Chiropractors believe that correcting the cause of the problem provides significant long-term benefits over only treating the symptoms.