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What is Chiropractic?

D.D. Palmer

Chiropractic as we know it was discovered on September 18th, 1895 in Davenport, Iowa.  A magnetic healer named D.D. Palmer (pictured) adjusted a deaf janitor named Harvey Lillard.  This adjustment helped Harvey regain his hearing after experiencing 17 years of significant deafness.  D.D. new he was on to something that tapped into the healing capacity of the human body, and the profession of chiropractic was born.

Today, more than 35 million Americans (adults and children) choose chiropractic as a safe, natural, and effective option to help with things like back pain, neck pain, headaches, joint problems, ear infections, hypertension, diabetes, low energy levels, sleep problems, wellness, and more.

What is Chiropractic?

According to the Association of Chiropractic Colleges, "chiropractic focuses on the relationship between the body's main structures - the skeleton, the muscles, and the nerves - and the patient's health.  Chiropractors believe that health can be improved and preserved by making adjustments to these structures, particularly to the spinal column.  They do not prescribe drugs or perform surgical procedures, although they do refer patients for these services if they are medically indicated."

The Goal of Chiropractic

Because chiropractic adjustments are applied to the spine, many people incorrectly assume that chiropractors only help with neck and back pain.  While chiropractic does help in these cases, it is not the ultimate goal of care.  The goal is to restore alignment of the spine, maximize the functioning of the brain and nerve system, and restore optimal health.

How can the same chiropractic adjustment which effectively alleviates back pain also optimize health?  The answer can be found by looking into the relationship between the spine and the nerve system.

As you may already know, the nerve system is the master controller of all living cells, tissues, muscles, glands, and organs; orchestrating and coordinating all cellular functions.  The spinal column encases the nerve system (spinal cord and nerve roots) and is responsible for its protection.

Because of this intimate relationship, biomechanical and structural problems in the spinal column can irritate parts of the nerve system.  This irritation can result from noxious inflammatory biochemicals released during tissue injury or may result from direct mechanical pressure.  In either case, the functioning of the nerve system is negatively influenced as is the functioning of the cells, tissues, and organs which are supplied by the affected nerve(s).  The resulting ailment(s) depends on the cells, tissues, and organs affected as well as the extent of nerve system compromise.

In short, because the body's innate recuperative powers are affected by and integrated through the nerve system, correcting spinal abnormalities which irritate the nerve system can lead to a number of favorable results in patients suffering from various, seemingly non-spinal health conditions.

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What Chiropractors Do

Chiropractic Adjustment

Chiropractors are primarily concerned with locating and correcting vertebral subluxations.

A vertebral subluxation is a complex of functional and/or structural and/or pathological articular (joint) changes that compromise neural integrity and influence organ system function and general health.

Using a number of unique and highly refined skills, the chiropractor checks the patient's spine for any misalignments, fixations, or other abnormalities (vertebral subluxations).  If subluxations or other abnormalities are found, the chiropractor will apply a gentle force in a corrective manner to the affected spinal area.

Chiropractors use many specialized techniques to identify and treat spinal abnormalities and optimize overall health.  In addition to adjusting the spine, soft tissue techniques, dietary and nutritional counseling, physical therapies, and lifestyle modification programs are commonly employed.

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The Benefits of Chiropractic

Short-term and regular chiropractic care has been shown to have the following health benefits:

  • headache relief
  • spinal and extremity pain relief
  • increased mobility and range of motion
  • decreased stiffness and muscular spasms
  • arthritic joint pain relief
  • increased joint health
  • increased performance and energy
  • increased sense of well being and relaxation
  • increased balance and coordination
  • reduced degeneration and risk of injury
  • enhanced tissue healing
  • decreased tissue inflammation
  • improved overall health and wellness

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