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
Before the early 1970s, seat belts and shoulder restraints were not standard equipment in automobiles. And it wasn't until 1985 that the first airbags began appearing in cars.
The positive impact those two innovations have had on the reduction of spinal cord injuries cannot be underestimated. In fact, motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of spinal cord injury. Motor vehicle accidents have accounted for more than a third of all reported cases of spinal cord injury, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Database. In addition, motor vehicle accidents also account for other spinal-related injuries, such as whiplash, fractures, and herniated discs.
A respected eight-year-long university study, for example, confirmed without a doubt that the combination of airbags and seat belts effectively reduced spinal injuries from automobile accidents.
Larger vehicles, such as trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs), have statistically trailed the safety requirements for passenger vehicles, as well as such innovations as padded dashboards, collapsible steering columns, anti-lock brakes and side airbags.
Airbags have been controversial over the years because some people have been severely injured or killed from their deployment. Significant advancements have been made to airbags in recent years, resulting in greater safety. The important lesson is this: Always wear your seat belt and allow 10 inches between your breastbone and the steering wheel to prevent injury from airbag deployment. Children age 12 and under should ride in the back seat properly restrained. Children riding in the front passenger seat should sit as far back from the airbag as possible.