What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a branch of the healing arts which is concerned
with human health and disease processes. Doctors of Chiropractic
are physicians who consider man as an integrated being and give
special attention to the physiological and biochemical aspects
including structural, spinal, musculoskeletal, neurological,
vascular, nutritional, emotional and environmental relationships.
The practice and procedures which may be employed by Doctors
of Chiropractic are based on the academic and clinical training
received in and through accredited chiropractic colleges and
include, but are not limited to, the use of current diagnostic
and therapeutic procedures. Such procedures specifically include
the adjustment and manipulation of the articulations and adjacent
tissues of the human body, particularly of the spinal column.
Included is the treatment of intersegmental aberrations for
alleviation of related functional disorders. Chiropractic is
a drug-free, non-surgical science and, as such, does not include
pharmaceuticals or incisive surgery. Chiropractors are first-contact
physicians who possess the diagnostic skills to differentiate
health conditions that are amenable to their management from
those conditions that require referral or co-management. Chiropractors
provide conservative management of neuromusculoskeletal disorders
and related functional clinical conditions including, but not
limited to, back pain, neck pain and headaches. Chiropractors
are expert providers of spinal and other therapeutic manipulation/adjustments.
They also utilize a variety of manual, mechanical and electrical
therapeutic modalities. Chiropractors also provide patient evaluation
and instructions regarding disease prevention and health promotion
through proper nutrition, exercise and lifestyle modification
Danial David Palmer
Chiropractic is a natural form of health care with a rich history.
Spinal manipulation, chiropractic's primary treatment, is used
instead of drugs or surgery to promote the body's natural healing
process. One of the earliest indications of soft tissue manipulation
is demonstrated by the ancient Chinese Kong Fou Document written
about 2700 B.C., which was brought to the Western World by missionaries.
Chiropractic became more recognized about 100 years ago when
Daniel David Palmer gave an "adjustment" to what was felt to
be a misplaced vertebra in the upper spine of a deaf janitor.
The janitor then observed that his hearing improved. The word
"chiropractic" is derived from the Greek words "cheir" and "praktkos"
meaning "done by hand". From these simple beginnings, chiropractic
became more sophisticated as a formal educational program evolved,
requirements by the schools were developed, and state and governing
laws were established.
Benefits of Chiropractic
Thirty-one million Americans have low back pain at any given
time. One half of all working Americans admit to having back
symptoms each year. One third of all Americans over age 18 had
a back problem in the past five years severe enough for them
to seek professional help. And the cost of this care is estimated
to be a staggering $50 Billion yearly--and that's just for the
more easily identified costs!. These are just some of the astounding
facts about Americans and their miserable backs! Is there any
wonder why some experts estimate that as many as 80% of all
of us will experience a back problem at some time in our lives?.
Because back problems are this common it's probably going to
happen to you too! Shouldn't you find out what to do about it
before it happens rather than after? Why wait until you're hurting
to learn about your treatment options? When you're hurting you
may not give this important decision the time and attention
it needs to make the best choice. Here are the facts about manipulation
as a treatment for back problems: Manipulation is one of several
established forms of treatment used for back problems. Used
primarily by Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) for the last century,
manipulation has been largely ignored by most others in the
health care community until recently. Now, with today's growing
emphasis on treatment and cost effectiveness, manipulation is
receiving much more widespread attention. In fact, after an
extensive study of all currently available care for low back
problems, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research--a
federal government research organization--recommended that low
back pain suffers choose the most conservative care first. And
it recommended spinal manipulation as the ONLY safe and effective,
DRUGLESS form of initial professional treatment for acute low
back problems in adults!
As the recent Federal Agency for Health Policy and Research
(AHCPR report states, "In the areas of training, practice and
research, chiropractic has emerged from the periphery of the
health care system and is playing an increasingly important
role in discussions of health care policy." And, notes a March
1998 article in Business and Health magazine, "Many companies
say chiropractic coverage has lowered their medical and workers'
comp costs, while raising overall health and productivity. 'It's
one of the best benefits possible from a quality, quantity and
pricing perspective,' says George McGregor, president of [a
firm that is a third-party administrator]." The article also
cites an Oregon study, which found that median work time lost
for employees with back injuries who used chiropractic care
was only 9 days as compared with 34.5 days for workers who used
medical care. Quick relief of symptoms and sustained effectiveness
have long attracted consumers to chiropractic care. In fact,
in just one year -- 1997 -- more than 20 million adults used
chiropractic services. The 1994 AHCPR guidelines for low-back
pain concluded that spinal manipulation, chiropractic's primary
treatment technique, is one of only three treatments whose effectiveness
is substantiated by rigorous research. According to a 1992 RAND
Corp. study, patients see a chiropractor primarily for low back
pain and neck pain, though many seek chiropractic care for mid-back
pain, extremity problems, headaches and other symptoms as well.
Because back pain is so pervasive in our society, a recent study
published in the British Medical Journal pointing out that back
pain doesn't go away that easily confirmed what chiropractors
have always known. Only 25 percent of low back pain sufferers
had fully recovered 12 months after their first visit to a general
practitioner, the study said. This low number is in conflict
with the commonly-held notion that low back pain episodes go
away by themselves after a month. "This hardly comes as a surprise
to low back pain sufferers who have been told by their medical
doctors not to worry - the pain will go away on its own," said
Dr. Michael Pedigo, president of the American Chiropractic Association.
"In many cases, further treatment is necessary." Due to years
of criticism -- and even an illegal boycott by the American
Medical Association -- chiropractic training was sometimes called
into question. However, the fact remains, chiropractors must
complete a minimum of 6 and, on average, 7 years of college
and post-graduate study to earn their degrees. Their education
includes at least 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical
experience, and as much -- and sometimes more than -- course
work in anatomy and physiology as most medical doctors. After
they receive their degrees from one of the nation's 17 accredited
chiropractic colleges, they have to pass rigorous exams and
be licensed by the state before they can open a practice. The
practice of chiropractic is licensed in all 50 states, and in
1994 there were approximately 50,000 chiropractors licensed
in the United States. This number is expected to double by the
year 2010, according to the 1997 AHCPR report.
Patient satisfaction with chiropractic care has consistently
rated higher than traditional medical care for low-back pain.
A significant recent study published in Spine magazine found
that "compared to those who sought care from medical doctors,
those who sought care from chiropractors were more likely to
feel that treatment was helpful, more likely to be satisfied
with their care, and less likely to seek care from another provider
for that same episode of pain."
Numerous studies, including an earlier study published in
the British Medical Journal, found chiropractic care to be effective
in the long-term treatment of low back pain. The study stated,
"chiropractic almost certainly confers worthwhile, long-term
benefit in comparison with hospital outpatient management. Chiropractic
patients seem to care little if their low back pain is acute,
chronic, or recurring. They are looking for the best relief
from their pain, and they want relief without drugs or surgery.
Millions of Americans have found chiropractic to be the best
solution. It is also important to point out that chiropractic
is one of the safest forms of treatment available today. According
to a study by the Rand Corporation, a serious adverse reaction
from cervical manipulation occurs once in 1 million manipulations.
Complication rates for manipulation of the lumbar region of
the spine are even lower. When compared to the number of illnesses
and deaths that will occur this year from the appropriate use
of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, the number of serious
complications from chiropractic treatment is extremely low.
A study published in the April 15, 1998 issue of the Journal
of the American Medical Association found that more than 2 million
Americans become seriously ill every year from reactions to
correctly-prescribed drugs and 106,000 die from those side effects.
Doctors of chiropractic are educated as primary care providers
and are extensively trained to diagnosis health care problems,
treat the problems when they are within their scope of practice
and refer patients to other health care providers when appropriate.
I have given the basics as to chiropractic here, but there
is much more as to the effects of the spinal adjustment on the
nervous system than space here permits. In fact a small percentage
of the chiropractors in this area utilize and are trained in
far more than just chiropractic. Nutrition and physical therapy,
exercise, a varriety of muscle techiques round out the approach
of many Doctors of Chiropractic enabling us to effect far more
than just pain relief.
I can be reached at the Wholistic Health Center of Quechee,
802-296-6030 or email
Randy Schaetzke D.C., D.I.B.A.K.