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Chiropractic Facts
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The doctor of chiropractic is an effective source of preventative and wellness care.

The anatomical focus of the DC on the human spine has created the perception of the DC as just a "back doctor." Although this perception is not entirely incorrect, it is very much incomplete. Doctors of chiropractic are a highly appropriate resource in matters of work-place safety, stress management, injury prevention, postural correction and nutritional counseling."
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Chiropractic Care and Back Pain

Chiropractic ("kye-roh-PRAC-tic") is a form of health care that focuses on the relationship between the body's structure, primarily of the spine, and function. Doctors of chiropractic, who are also called chiropractors or chiropractic physicians, use a type of hands-on therapy called manipulation (or adjustment) as their core clinical procedure. While there are some differences in beliefs and approaches within the chiropractic profession, this Research Report will give you a general overview of chiropractic, discuss scientific research findings on chiropractic treatment for low-back pain, and suggest other sources of information. Terms that are linked are defined in the "Definitions" section of this report.

Key Points

  • Chiropractic is most often used to treat musculoskeletal conditions--problems with the muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissue such as cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.

  • Research studies of chiropractic treatment for low-back pain have been of uneven quality and insufficient to allow firm conclusions. Nonetheless, the overall sense of the data is that for low-back pain, chiropractic treatment and conventional medical treatments are about equally helpful. It is harder to draw conclusions about the relative value of chiropractic for other clinical conditions.

  • The risk of experiencing complications from chiropractic adjustment of the low back appears to be very low. However, the risk appears to be higher for adjustment of the neck.

  • It is important to inform all of your health care providers about any treatment that you are using or considering, including chiropractic. This will help each provider make sure that all aspects of your health care are working together.

What is chiropractic?

The word "chiropractic" combines the Greek words cheir (hand) and praxis (action) and means "done by hand." Chiropractic is an alternative medical system and takes a different approach from conventional medicine (see box) in diagnosing, classifying, and treating medical problems.

The basic concepts of chiropractic can be described as follows:

  • The body has a powerful self-healing ability.

  • The body's structure (primarily that of the spine) and its function are closely related, and this relationship affects health.

  • Chiropractic therapy is given with the goals of normalizing this relationship between structure and function and assisting the body as it heals.

What is the history of the discovery and use of chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a form of spinal manipulation, which is one of the oldest healing practices. Spinal manipulation was described by Hippocrates in ancient Greece.1-3 In 1895, Daniel David Palmer founded the modern profession of chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. Palmer was a self-taught healer and a student of healing philosophies of the day. He observed that the body has a natural healing ability that he believed was controlled by the nervous system. He also believed that subluxations, or misalignments of the spine (a concept that had already existed in the bonesetter and osteopathic traditions), interrupt or interfere with this "nerve flow." Palmer suggested that if an organ does not receive its normal supply of impulses from the nerves, it can become diseased. This line of thinking led him to develop a procedure to "adjust" the vertebrae, the bones of the spinal column, with the goal of correcting subluxations.

Some chiropractors continue to view subluxation as central to chiropractic health care.2 However, other chiropractors no longer view the subluxation theory as a unifying theme in health and illness or as a basis for their practice. Other theories as to how chiropractic might work have been developed.

The full article can be read on webmd.com.

Chiropractic Care & Back Pain : Back Problems & Injuries : Low Back Pain
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