What Exactly is Chiropractic?
The ACA (Association of Chiropractic Colleges) explains chiropractic as the type of health care that focuses on the innate regenerative power of the human body to heal without using drugs and surgery. In practicing chiropractic the focus is placed on the interrelationship between the human structure, primarily the spine, and the body’s functionality, as coordinated by the central and peripheral nervous system, and how the relationship between the two can preserve and restore health.
What are The Goals of Chiropractic?
Chiropractic treatments are mostly directed toward the spinal region but that does not mean that chiropractors only treat back and neck conditions. Back and neck pain can be quickly and effectively treated and eliminated but there are other goals with chiropractic treatments. The overall objective is to restore the patient to health and to optimize it long-term. The Association of Chiropractic Colleges says that the entire purpose and focus of chiropractic is on the optimization of health.
How Chiropractic Actually Works
Some people ask… how can the type of chiropractic treatment that treats back pain so effectively also optimize a patient’s overall health? The answer lies in the relationship between the patient’s spine and their nervous system. As we all understand, the nervous system controls all our living cells, our tissues and organs. It orchestrates and coordinates all our cellular functions. Our nervous system, consisting of the spinal cord and our nerve roots, is encased by the spinal column, which is designed to protect it.
Because of this confined space, structural and biomechanical problems occurring in the spinal column can often irritate parts of the encased nervous system. Irritation can come from an injury to tissue resulting in inflammatory biochemicals being released or can even be caused from mechanical pressure applied directly to it. In any case, the wellbeing and functionality of the nervous system can be adversely affected along with the wellbeing and functionality of the cells, tissues and bodily organs being supplied by the adversely affected or impaired nerve(s).
The kind of ailment(s) that result from this is determined by which cells, tissues and bodily organs have been negatively impacted, along with how much the nervous system has actually been compromised.
The long and short of it is that since the body’s innate powers of recuperation are impacted by and coordinated by the nervous system, treating spinal abnormalities, which are irritating the nervous system, can result in a number of favorable outcomes in patients that may be suffering from certain health conditions that do not seem related to the spine at all.
What Do Chiropractors Really Do?
Basically, chiropractors are mostly concerned with finding and treating any vertebral subluxations – a vertebral misalignment that affects the nerve function.
A vertebral subluxation is a group of structural and/or functional and/or pathological changes in the joints that can adversely affect neural integrity and possibly have an influence on the functionality of organ systems and overall health.
Using a variety of specialized and very refined skills, a chiropractor examines the patient’s spine, looking for fixations, misalignments, or any other abnormalities, which are referred to as vertebral subluxations. If any are found, the chiropractor will usually apply some force in a gentle manner using a corrective maneuver, to the area affected in the spine.
There are many different specialized chiropractic techniques used to identify and correct these spinal abnormalities in optimizing overall health. In addition to making spinal adjustments, massage may be used on soft tissue, dietary and nutritional advice can be given, physical therapies may be employed and an overall modification in lifestyle may be in order and these programs are commonly recommended.
How Chiropractic Differs from Traditional Medicine
Chiropractors and medical doctors have a significantly different approach to treating health conditions. Chiropractors use a holistic approach when evaluating and treating their patients. They look for and treat the underlying cause(s) of their patients’ health conditions. On the other hand, a medical approach would normally focus on treating the patient’s symptoms, rather than making the main focus the actual cause(s) of their condition.
Chiropractors have a fundamental belief that by treating and correcting the cause of the condition provides the patient with significant benefits for the long-term, which doesn’t necessarily happen when treating only the symptoms.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care
Short-term chiropractic care, as well as ongoing care provides a number of health benefits including:
- Decrease in muscular spasms and stiffness
- Decrease in inflammation
- Enhanced coordination and balance
- Headache relief
- Improvement in joint health
- Improved healing in tissue
- Increase in range of motion and general mobility
- Increased energy and performance
- Joint pain relief due to arthritis
- Lowers risk of injury
- Pain relief in spine and extremities
- Provides relaxation and sense of wellbeing
- Reduces degeneration