Introduction to Chiropractic

Brief Background

The word “chiropractic” comes from the Greek words cheir (hand) and praxis (action) and literally means “done by hand.”  Instead of prescribing drugs or performing surgeries, chiropractors use manual treatments of the spine and joints, exercise therapy, massage, trigger point therapy and lifestyle changes to allow the body’s natural state of health to fully express itself.

Like conventional medicine, chiropractic is based upon scientific principles of (1) diagnosis through testing and empirical observation and (2) treatment based upon the practitioner’s rigorous training and clinical experience.  But unlike conventional medicine, which focuses on treatment of the symptoms once they occur, chiropractic attempts to focus on finding the cause of the symptoms and also to improve the health of the individual in an effort to avoid illness in the first place.  Most people would rather be healthy and avoid illness, if they could.  This is one of the main reasons for the big upsurge in the popularity of chiropractic.  People are recognizing the benefit of seeking an alternative to traditional medicine; one that will help them achieve and maintain optimal health.

Okay, so prevention is not an issue for you at this time.  You already suffer with the condition and its symptoms.  So what can chiropractic offer you?  Chiropractic works to focus on addressing the cause of your problem.

We understand that one of the main causes of pain and disease is the misalignment and abnormal motion of the vertebrae in the spinal column called a vertebral subluxation complex(VSC).  Chiropractic works by removing these subluxations in the spine, thereby relieving pressure and irritation on the nerves, restoring joint mobility, and returning the body back to a state of normal function.  We’ll talk more about subluxation in the following chapter.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that chiropractic care is one of the most effective treatments for back pain, neck pain, headaches, whiplash, sports injuries and many other types of musculoskeletal problems.  It has even been shown to be effective in reducing high blood pressure, decreasing the frequency of childhood ear infections (otitis media), improving the symptoms of asthma, improving the body’s immune system, and many other visceral (organ related) issues.

The chiropractic approach to healthcare is holistic, meaning that it addresses your overall health.   We recognize that many lifestyle factors such as exercise, diet, rest and your environment impact your health.  For this reason, we recommend changes in lifestyle— eating, exercise, and sleeping habits—in addition to chiropractic care.

Again, its all about getting to the root cause of the problem in the first place.

The History of Chiropractic

Manual manipulation of the spine and other joints in the body have been around for a long time.  Ancient writings from China and Greece dating between 2700 B.C. and 1500 B.C. mention spinal manipulation and the maneuvering of the lower extremities to ease low back pain.  In fact, Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician who lived from 460 to 357 B.C., published a text detailing the importance of manual manipulation. In one of his writings he declares, “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases”.  Evidence of manual manipulation of the body has been found among the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Babylon, Syria, Japan, the Incas, Mayans and Native Americans.

The official beginning of the chiropractic profession dates back to 1895 when Daniel David Palmer restored the hearing of Harvey Lillard by manually adjusting his neck and something told him that he was into something good.  Two years later, in 1897, Dr. Palmer went on to begin the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, which continues to train doctors of chiropractic to this day.

Throughout the twentieth century, the profession of chiropractic has gained considerable recognition and scientific support.  Research studies that have clearly demonstrated the value of chiropractic care in reducing health care costs, improving recovery rates and increasing patient satisfaction.  In fact, one very large study conducted in Canada, the 1993 Manga Study, concluded that chiropractic care would save hundreds of millions of dollars annually in work disability payments and direct health care costs.   Several major studies conducted by the U.S. Government, the Rand Corporation and others, have all demonstrated the incredible value of chiropractic care.  Unfortunately, there are still many people who have never been to a chiropractor and don’t understand what we do.  Our hope is that this book will help educate more people about this wonderful field of health care.