Chiropractic medicine is the manipulation of the spine, a realignment of the skeletal system to a balanced state. With proper realignment, the body releases pain and returns to its proper functioning. This modality is a hands-on practice that is grounded in the belief that our bodies have the innate ability to heal themselves once balance is restored.
The word chiropractic comes from the Greek word cheir (hand) and prakis (practice), meaning a therapeutic treatment utilizing the hands. Although the hands are the primary tool, special instruments may also be used. And although this practice is most well-known for the manipulation of the spine, it is also used for other joints in the body, the surrounding muscles, and the nervous system.
Chiropractic care has been around for thousands of years for a number of civilizations. The earliest evidence comes from ancient writings from China dating back to 2700 BC. These writings describe the use of spinal manipulation for the relief of lower back pain.
It was not until 1895 that the chiropractic profession was officially founded by Daniel David Palmer. In 1897, he went on to establish the first chiropractic school in Davenport, Iowa, now known as the Palmer School of Chiropractic.
The process begins with an exploration of one’s medical history and a physical examination. Diagnostic testing may also be required to clearly determine the medical issues at hand and best treatment. An individual management plan will then be created and evaluated throughout care.
In addition to spinal manipulation, other alternative medical modalities, exercises, and nutrition may be integrated. Patients may also receive education on proper positioning at a desk, when standing, and when lying in bed.
Following a chiropractic session, there may be minor side effects for 1-3 days such as headaches, and soreness or fatigue where the body was treated. Those who undergo regular sessions are seldom affected afterwards. In very rare cases, treatment has resulted in medical issues, including herniated disks, pinched nerves, and stroke. Be sure to use a licensed and reliable practitioner.
Many health insurance companies will cover chiropractic care. Check with your health plan provider.
Conditions for Chiropractic Treatment
A variety of conditions may be treated with chiropractic medicine, addressing muscle, bone, and joint pain or maladjustment. Some of these conditions include:
Lower back pain
Joint pain (jaws, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, pelvis, knees, ankles)
In the United States, a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) is earned by attending an accredited 4-year chiropractic school, following 3 years of undergraduate education. In order to practice, a comprehensive exam by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners must be passed, and a state license must be obtained. Continuing education is then required to maintain licensure, helping to ensure up to date knowledge and best practice.