Chiropractic

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Chiropractic is a method of healing in which manipulation of spine is done to diagnose and treat medical problems. A practitioner of chiropractic would apply a precise pressure to the affected vertebrae to bring about fine adjustments to the spine.

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Why should I be aware of this?

Chiropractic is based on the premise that human body has ability to self-heal. Also that the structure and function of the body, especially that of the spine are inter-related, and chiropractic attempts to normalise this relationship. By influencing and normalising this relationship chiropractic induces self-healing in the body, and can benefits for a range of diseases.

Chiropractic and health

Chiropractic is frequently used to treat neuromuscoskeletal problems, for example low back pain, joint pain, migraines, osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. However, chiropractic’s benefits are not limited to neuromuscoskeletal problems; it can help people with a variety of problems including digestive disorders, allergies, etc.

All about Chiropractic

The word “chiropractic” means “done by hand”. It has Greek origins and combines the Greek words cheir (hand) and praxis (action). The therapy is based on the premise that a spinal misalignment can interfere with the nervous system and cause various illnesses. The practitioners of chiropractic give special attention to the biomechanics, structure and function of the spine and its linkages to the mucoskeletal and neurological systems.

The origins

Though the manipulation of spine has been practiced in many societies since centuries and was also described by Hippocrates in ancient Greece, the modern practice of chiropractic is attributed to D D Palmer, a self-taught healer in the US who began this profession in 1895. Palmer was a keen student of various healing philosophies and believed that the body had a natural ability to heal itself. He postulated that this ability was controlled by the nervous system. A concept of misalignments of the spine, also called vertebral subluxations, was prevalent in traditions of osteopathy and bone-setting. Palmer suggested that the misalignment of the spine can interrupt the “nerve flow” to an organ and if an organ does not receive its normal supply of impulses from the nerves, it can become diseased.

Following this reasoning, D D Palmer developed a procedure of adjusting the vertebrae, the bones of the spinal column, to correct the misalignment, or subluxation, and restore the “nerve supply” to the diseased organ, thus inducing healing. Following this theory of vertebral subluxation and its cure, and his experiences, D D Palmer asserted that 95 percent of all health problems could be prevented or treated by adjustments of the spine and other joints.

Present status

Over the past 100 years the practice of chiropractic has become widespread and is prevalent in many countries. There are differences in the way chiropractic is practiced. While many chiropractors continue to view subluxation as central to chiropractic, others no longer hold it as central to the understanding of chiropractic. Some practitioners strictly use only spinal manipulation in their therapy, others may use a variety of methods including massage and traction. Some chiropractors specialise in treating only muscoskeletal problems, while others practice it to provide overall health benefits.

Difference between Chiropractic and Osteopathy

There are a variety of opinions on the subject of Chiropractic and Osteopathy. Broadly speaking, chiropractors manipulate the spine, while osteopaths employ other techniques such as stretching, pressure and mobilisation apart from manipulation. Osteopaths are also trained in cranial osteopathy or craniosacral therapy, techniques seldom used by chiropractors.

References:

  • An Introduction to Chiropractic