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Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.
Doctors of Chiropractic – often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians – practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.
The most common therapeutic procedure performed by doctors of chiropractic is known as “spinal manipulation,” also called “chiropractic adjustment.” The purpose of manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile – or restricted in their movement – as a result of a tissue injury. Tissue injury can be caused by a single traumatic event, such as improper lifting of a heavy object, or through repetitive stresses, such as sitting in an awkward position with poor spinal posture for an extended period of time. In either case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain, and diminished function for the sufferer. Manipulation, or adjustment of the affected joint and tissues, restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, and allowing tissues to heal.
Chiropractic adjustment rarely causes discomfort. However, patients may sometimes experience mild soreness or aching following treatment (as with some forms of exercise) that usually resolves within 12 to 48 hours.
In many cases, such as lower back pain, chiropractic care may be the primary method of treatment. When other medical conditions exist, chiropractic care may complement or support medical treatment by relieving the musculoskeletal aspects associated with the condition.
Doctors of chiropractic may assess patients through clinical examination, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging and other diagnostic interventions to determine when chiropractic treatment is appropriate or when it is not appropriate. Chiropractors will readily refer patients to the appropriate health care provider when chiropractic care is not suitable for the patient’s condition, or the condition warrants co-management in conjunction with other members of the health care team. (Source: American Chiropractic Association)
Benefits of Chiropractic
Chiropractic is the method of natural healing most chosen by those seeking complementary/alternative health care for acute and chronic conditions.
While you may first visit a chiropractor to relieve pain in the lower back or to treat sciatica, neck pain, whiplash or headache, you will find that a chiropractor views you as a whole person and not the sum of your parts. A chiropractor will work in partnership with you to ensure your optimal health and wellness.
Triggers your body’s ability to heal
Chiropractors recognize that many factors affect your health, including exercise, nutrition, sleep, environment and heredity. Chiropractic focuses on maintaining your health naturally to help your body resist disease, rather than simply treating the symptoms of disease.
Starts with a thorough evaluation
When you visit a Doctor of Chiropractic, you will be evaluated using time-honored methods, including consultation, case history, physical examination, laboratory analysis and X-ray examination. In addition, you will receive a careful chiropractic structural examination, with particular attention paid to the spine.
Involves no drugs or surgery
A broad range of techniques are used to locate, analyze and gently correct vertebral misalignments (subluxations) in the spine. Chiropractors may use manual adjustment, electrical muscular stimulation, ultrasound or massage. But they never use pharmaceutical drugs or invasive surgery. Chiropractic is a natural method of healing that stimulates the body’s communication system to work more effectively to initiate, control and coordinate the various functions of the cells, organs and systems of the body.
Partners with other healthcare professionals
Doctors of chiropractic work in tandem with other healthcare professionals. If your condition requires attention from another branch of the healthcare profession, that recommendation or referral will be made.
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