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Learn about the History of Chiropractic Care

Origins How does it work? Science and Research

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 or 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."

Origins


D.D. Palmer,
father of chiropractic

The "founding father" of chiropractic, Dr. D.D. Palmer, developed a theory that spinal misalignment caused nerve pressure or irritation which in turn caused various ailments. He realized that the structure and condition of the body influenced how the body functioned and its ability to heal itself, without the use of drugs or surgery.

This simple philosophy has healed people and has prevented unwanted injury and illness for over a century! But to fully understand the chiropractic perspective, one must learn a bit about the nervous system, or how our bodies are "wired."

Our wiring

The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. The brain is divided into sections and stores and receives an incredible amount of information. But this information needs a way to get in and out. Nerves provide a pathway for this information to travel, and the spinal cord is made up of bundles of these nerves. The spine both houses and protects the spinal cord.

Nerve dysfunction can result from any number of factors, such as falls, accidents, stress, tension, or over-use. These events can alter our "wiring" and create pain or discomfort in our bodies.

Getting to the source

Doctors of chiropractic are trained to locate the source of the pain or discomfort— it may actually be far from the actual location where the symptom is occurring— and then we correct or adjust the joints in the body and set it up to heal on its own.

Of course, the type of correction or adjustment employed by the chiropractor depends on the condition being treated, but you get the main idea. The important thing to remember is that chiropractic success occurs by addressing the source of the problem, not just masking the symptoms.

How does it work?

Chiropractic doctors practice natural, drugless, non-invasive health care and rely on the body's ability to self-heal. Sounds ideal, but just how does it work?

We look at the whole picture

Like other health-care providers, we follow a standard routine to gain information about the patient. We consult, review the case history, conduct a physical examination, and we may request laboratory analyses and/or x-rays.

Unlike other health-care providers, however, chiropractic physicians also conduct a careful analysis of the patient's structure and pay particular attention to the spine. We also ask you about your life— Do you eat well? Exercise at all? How do you deal with stress? Do you have children? What do you do for work? And so on.

We seek the origin of the problem

Using this information, a diagnosis is made. Included in the diagnosis is the probable reason for your pain or discomfort. It is important to note that chiropractors seek the origin of the illness in order to eliminate it-we do not simply treat the symptoms.

If you are driving in your car and the oil light comes on, you do not just cover the light with tape and say everything is OK. Similarly, if the migraine headache you've had all week is being caused by misaligned vertebra and an irritated nerve, do you continue to take pain killers indefinitely, or do you realign the vertebra to prevent the pain? You get the picture.

Chiropractors have a term for misalignments: subluxations or joint dysfunction. A vertebral subluxation is a misalignment of the bones that protect the spinal cord. It's the oil light. Or a kink in the wiring of your nervous system.

The severity of the subluxation can vary, and there are a number of potential contributing factors that can be physical, emotional, mental, or chemical. The subluxation can be caused by any number of incidents, from birth trauma to an auto accident to simple repetition or over-use.

Then we help you fix it

When a subluxation occurs, a chiropractor can correct the misaligned bone and allow it to return to its proper position. This procedure is appropriately called a manipulation, and the adjustment enables the body to heal. The wiring is fixed. Information is flowing again.

To keep the wiring fixed and the information flowing, several adjustments over a course of time may be necessary, in addition to massage, physical therapy, stretching exercises, or strengthening exercises. In the chiropractic world, keeping the problem fixed and preventing its reoccurrence is just as important as the initial remedy.

Another important aspect of chiropractic care is this: the patient's improvement is the responsibility of both the doctor and the patient. You will be active in your own care-this is essential in optimizing the care you receive

Science and Research

Over 100 years ago, chiropractic health care was founded by Dr. D.D. Palmer. He had a simple theory: that good health can be sustained naturally, without the use of drugs or surgery, by removing vertebral subluxations and allowing the nervous system to function properly.

His theory has stood the test of time. This section will briefly explain how the theory was proven by taking you "behind the scenes," into the field of chiropractic research.

1895–Present: Scientifically Proven

Since the first chiropractic adjustment in 1895, the chiropractic profession has rapidly grown to be the third-largest field of health care behind medicine and dentistry. The reason for the growth of chiropractic is simple: chiropractic is based on sound, scientific principles that have been proven with thorough research and it works!

Investigations and inquiries have been conducted worldwide by government agencies, universities, health-care facilities, and private- and public-sector research organizations. The following paragraphs summarize some of the landmark research studies that have resulted in widespread recognition of chiropractic as a sound health-care choice.

Government of New Zealand. The New Zealand Commission Report was published in 1979 and was the culmination of two years of interviews from health-care experts on the efficacy and safety of chiropractic. The government of New Zealand funded the study, which concluded that modern chiropractic is a "soundly-based and valuable branch of health care in a specialized area."

Wilk, et al, vs. American Medical Association (AMA) Lawsuit. Another inquiry that further validated chiropractic came about in 1987 through an antitrust suit filed by four doctors of chiropractic against the AMA. A federal appellate court judge ruled that the AMA had engaged in a "lengthy, systematic, successful, and unlawful boycott" of chiropractic.

During the legal proceedings, studies comparing chiropractic care to medical care were presented that showed how chiropractors were "twice as effective as medical physicians, for comparable injuries, in returning injured workers to work at every level of injury severity."

Since the court findings and conclusions were released, a growing number of medical practices, hospitals, elite athletes, sports organizations and health-care organizations in the United States now include the services of chiropractors.

Ontario Ministry of Health. In 1993, the Ontario Ministry of Health published the Manga Report, which was a review of literature on the most effective and cost-effective treatments for low-back pain. After reviewing all available international evidence, the researchers concluded that chiropractic is "greatly superior to medical treatment in terms of scientific validity, safety, cost-effectiveness, and patient satisfaction."

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR). In 1994, the AHCPR of the United States Department of Health and Human Services released guidelines for the management of lower-back pain.

The guidelines, which were intended to assist primary-care physicians, were developed by a panel of 23 professionals, including medical doctors, chiropractic doctors, nurses, experts in spinal research, and physical therapists. The panel concluded, among other things, that chiropractic treatment (specifically, spinal manipulation) is recommended for acute low-back problems in adults and should be pursued (in most cases) before pharmaceutical or surgical treatments.

Present-Future: Ongoing Research

Health-care practitioners in all fields rely heavily upon data made available as a result of clinical research. As the chiropractic profession continues to grow, so does our need to conduct research. The acceptance of and the increase in the utilization of chiropractic care depends largely upon research addressing questions of effectiveness, safety, practicality, and cost-effectiveness.

Who does the research?

The following is just a sampling of organizations, publications, and private and public institutions where chiropractic research may be conducted.

There are entire organizations devoted to chiropractic research (e.g., the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research, the Consortial Center of Chiropractic Research), as well as journals (e.g., the Chiropractic Research Journal, the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research).

In addition, there are research departments associated with each of the 23 chiropractic colleges around the world (e.g., the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, the National University of Health Sciences). Professionals from different organizations commonly collaborate on research projects.

Research has also been conducted around the world by governmental organizations (e.g., the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Ontario Ministry of Health), academic institutions (e.g., University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Duke University, Welsh National School of Medicine), medical journals (e.g., the British Medical Journal, the Journal of Family Practice), and private research organizations (e.g., RAND, the Gallup Organization).

What do they study?

Topics of research vary widely and include anatomy, neurology, biomechanics, neurophysiology, instrumentation, public health, geriatrics, and human performance. The fundamental goals of the researchers are to promote and further chiropractic education and health care.

In conclusion

The purpose of chiropractic research has been (and still is) to provide information needed to document and improve chiropractic health care worldwide. Our profession has seen advances once thought impossible due to the impact of scientific research.

For example, federal grants for chiropractic research are now a reality. The Department of Defense formed a committee to introduce chiropractic services into the United States military. Several managed-care organizations now recognize us as qualified primary-care providers. And there is an ever-growing public awareness of the benefits of chiropractic care.

Feel free to do your own research— at work, at school, at your health club or rec center. Ask around. You will hear countless success stories on how chiropractic has helped people recover from an accident, an injury, a tense period in their life, etc., or how chiropractic has helped them develop new, healthier lifestyle habits.

Collect more data by making an appointment with us today. You will be pleased with the results.

 

THE LORD HEALETH THE BROKEN IN HEART,
AND BINDETH UP THEIR WOUNDS. PSALM 147:3

What can Chiropractic
care help?
  • Back & neck pain
  • Stress
  • Trauma
  • Preventative Care
  • Sports injuries
  • Headaches
Signs & symptoms
of spinal stress
  • Pain of any type
  • Numbness/tingling in arms or legs
  • Fatigue
  • Limited mobility
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle tension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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