It is estimated that about 27 million Americans visit a doctors of chiropractic each year, and millions more receive chiropractic care throughout the rest of the world. Chiropractic is the third largest primary health care field (after medicine and dentistry).
Chiropractic is a branch of the healing arts which is based upon the understanding that good health depends, in part, upon a normally functioning nervous system (especially the spine, and the nerves extending from the spine to all parts of the body).
"Chiropractic" comes from the Greek word Chiropraktikos, meaning "effective treatment by hand." Chiropractic stresses the idea that the cause of many disease processes begins with the body's inability to adapt to its environment.
It looks to address these diseases not by the use of drugs and chemicals, but by locating and adjusting a musculoskeletal area of the body which is functioning improperly.
The conditions which doctors of chiropractic address are as varied and as vast as the nervous system itself.
We use a standard procedure of examination to diagnose a patient's condition and arrive at a course of treatment. Chiropractors use the same time-honored methods of consultation, case history, physical examination, laboratory analysis and x-ray examination as any other doctor. In addition, they provide a careful chiropractic structural examination, paying particular attention to the spine.
The examination of the spine to evaluate structure and function is what makes chiropractic different from other health care procedures. Your spinal column is a series of movable bones which begin at the base of your skull and end in the center of your hips. Thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves extend down the spine from the brain and exit through a series of openings. The nerves leave the spine and form a complicated network which influences every living tissue in your body.
Accidents, falls, stress, tension, overexertion, and countless other factors can result in a displacements or derangements of the spinal column, causing irritation to spinal nerve roots. These irritations are often what cause malfunctions in the human body. Chiropractic teaches that reducing or eliminating this irritation to spinal nerves can cause your body to operate more efficiently and more comfortably.
We also places an emphasis on nutritional and exercise programs, wellness and lifestyle modifications for promoting physical and mental health. While chiropractors make no use of drugs or surgery, Doctors of chiropractic do refer patients for medical care when those interventions are indicated. In fact, chiropractors, medical doctors, physical therapists and other health care professionals now work as partners in occupational health, sports medicine, and a wide variety of other rehabilitation
When all of your body's inter-related systems-including your musculoskeletal, nervous and vascular systems-are in balance and functioning properly, your body possesses a remarkable knack for healing itself. This state is called homeostasis.
Stress, accidents, sports injuries, even overexertion, can cause your spine to fall out of its natural alignment. When this happens, your nervous system ceases to function properly, and this could lead to back and neck pain, headaches, and other kinds of problems. Moreover, many types of pain and disease can be linked to problems with your spinal cord and nervous system. It is this "mind-body" connection that forms the tenet of the principles under which chiropractors practice their healing art.
The two major, underlying principles are:
- The structure and condition of the body influences how it functions and heals.
- The mind-body relationship is essential in maintaining health and healing.
Put another way:
- Your body's functions are all interrelated, and its ability to heal is contingent on these interrelationships.
- A healthy body comes from a healthy nervous system, especially a healthy spine.
Chiropractors believe in a holistic approach to patient care by focusing on a patient's total wellness, or well being, instead of specific diseases, or ailments. It is this intricate physiological and biochemical interrelationship among various parts of your body-including its spinal, musculoskeletal, neurological, and vascular systems-that chiropractors dedicate themselves to exploring and treating, with special attention to nutrition, exercise, and healthy emotional and environmental relationships. When one or more of these systems is impaired, your body ceases to function normally and your resistance to disease is compromised.