|What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a natural, holistic healthcare therapy. It is both drug-free and non-surgical in nature. Chiropractic maintains that disease results from a lack of normal nerve function. Therefore, chiropractic uses manipulation and specific adjustment of body structures (for example, the spinal column) to treat such disease. Many factors, including accidents, overexertion and stress, can cause displacements of the spinal column, resulting in irritation to spinal nerve roots. Chiropractic believes that reducing or eliminating this irritation can cause a person's body to operate more efficiently and comfortably.
As part of its holistic approach, chiropractic recognizes the importance of many interrelating factors in a person's overall health and well-being including structural, spinal, musculoskeletal, neurological, vascular, nutritional, emotional and environmental.
Philosophically, chiropractic is both conservative and naturalistic. The discipline believes that the human body is able to heal itself without invasive therapies such as medicines or surgery. To that end, chiropractors strive to prevent disease by maintaining a patient's body at its optimum condition and by treating diseases in a noninvasive, holistic manner. Because of their commitment to a naturalistic approach, Doctors of Chiropractic are on the leading edge of noninvasive healthcare.
Chiropractic, as a holistic discipline, recognizes the importance of nutritional and exercise programs, as well as lifestyle modifications for promoting optimal physical and mental health.
History of Chiropractic
Chiropractic is one of the oldest forms of healthcare. Evidence of its use dates back thousands of years to China. The famed Greek physician Hippocrates advised his students of the importance of the spine in many diseases by advocating a thorough understanding of the spine's anatomy. (He wrote in On the Articulations in 400 BC, "In the first place, the structure of the spine known, for this knowledge is requisite in many diseases.")
Daniel David Palmer founded modern chiropractic in 1895 in Davenport, Iowa. Palmer was convinced of the benefits of manipulation after the conditions of two patients, a deaf man and one with heart trouble, greatly improved after he performed manipulations on them. He went on to found the Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1897, which still exists and continues to be one of the finest chiropractic colleges in the country.
Over the last 100 years, chiropractic has become one of the leading and most well respected healthcare disciplines in the world. Its safety was proven long ago (especially relative to drug and surgical approaches); its efficacy and cost effectiveness have now also been proven in study after study.
Education of Chiropractic Doctors
Doctors of Chiropractic are highly educated and trained. They must complete four to five years at an accredited chiropractic college. The course of study is rigorous and includes both classroom and clinical training. Doctors of Chiropractic are trained both in diagnostics and therapeutics. In addition, all chiropractors must pass the national board exam as well as separate state examinations in the state(s) in which the chiropractor wishes to practice.
Scope of Practice
Although Doctors of Chiropractic often treat neuromusculoskeletal conditions, such as low back pain, chiropractors also diagnose and treat non-neuromusculoskeletal conditions such as asthma. They do so not only because of their training but also because of the recognition that many disease processes are not local in origin but are, in fact, multi-factorial and interrelational in nature.
Chiropractors do not use drugs or surgery; however, they do consult with and refer patients to other health practitioners when necessary. In fact, chiropractors now often work collaboratively with healthcare professionals from many other disciplines, such as medical doctors, physical therapists, etc., to ensure that a patient receives the comprehensive care that he or she requires.
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