If you frequently deal with symptoms like joint pain, backaches or headaches, but are yet to ever visit a chiropractor for help, then you may be missing out on an effective and natural treatment option. Millions of people around the world have experienced the incredible benefits of chiropractic care, a holistic, non-invasive treatment approach that has been shown to help treat dozens of different conditions.
One of the best things about receiving chiropractic adjustments is that they are a completely drug-free path to healing the body naturally. Chiropractic benefits including helping to naturally improve problems such as:
- Back pain
- Bowel regularity
- Improved mental clarity
- Ear infections
- Neck pain
- Arthritis and joint pain
- Blood pressure
- Healthy pregnancy
- Organ function
- Surgery prevention
Despite its popularity, there are still a lot of misconceptions about the field of chiropractic care, including how the practice works and how chiropractors are trained. For example, did you know that many chiropractic programs incorporate an entire year of PhD-level advanced nutrition training?
Below you’ll learn more about the philosophy, history and evidence-based research behind chiropractic care — shedding light on why studies have proved, objectively and subjectively, that chiropractic patients commonly experience “overall increased bodily function.”
What Are Chiropractic Adjustments?
What is the meaning of chiropractic? There are a number of chiropractic definitions depending on who you ask. According to the World Federation of Chiropractic, the meaning of chiropractic medicine is: (1)
A health profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health. There is an emphasis on manual treatments including spinal adjustment and other joint and soft-tissue manipulation.
Here’s another chiropractic definition, this time according to the Association of Chiropractic Colleges:
Chiropractic is a healthcare discipline that emphasizes the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery. The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the spine) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health. In addition, doctors of chiropractic recognize the value and responsibility of working in cooperation with other health care practitioners when in the best interest of the patient.
Indeed, chiropractic can be a complementary medicine since most chiropractors are used to working with medical doctors to get people pain-free and prevent future injuries.
How Chiropractic Treatments Work:
Most of the benefits associated with chiropractic care are due to patients receiving specific chiropractic adjustments. Chiropractic adjustments work by helping to place your body in the proper position that then allows the body to heal itself. Safety is paramount. Indeed, as a holistic and alternative treatment approach, chiropractic adjustments can reduce stress placed on someone’s immune system, freeing up energy to be used towards disease prevention and maintaining homeostasis. Chiropractic care aims to address the whole body, enhancing patients’ ability to think, move and perform.
- Chiropractors pride themselves on taking a natural, drugless approach to helping their patients reach their health goals. Essentially, the basic principle upon which the entire profession is built is that the body has the amazing, innate ability to heal itself (under the right conditions); it is the chiropractor’s job to help create an environment that facilitate this inner-healing process and where safety is assured.
- Because the nervous system controls every cell and organ in your body, chiropractors focus their attention on the health of the spine being properly aligned. If the spine shifts out of its proper place, then adjustments are used to help bring the spine back into alignment.
- At the core of numerous chiropractic miracle stories is a concept known as “vertebral subluxation.” When chiropractors use this phrase, they refer to mechanical compression and irritation to spinal joints and nerves.
Case in point: the very first chiropractic patient in history was named William Harvey Lillard, who experienced difficulty hearing due to compression of the nerves leading to his ears. He was treated by “the founder of chiropractic care,” David. D. Palmer, who gave Lillard spinal adjustments in order to reduce destructive nerve compressions and restore his hearing. After doing extensive research about physiology, Palmer believed that Lillard’s hearing loss was due to a misalignment that blocked the spinal nerves that controlled the inner ear (an example of vertebral subluxation). Palmer went on to successfully treat other patients and eventually trained other practitioners how to do the same. The first college of chiropractic was founded in 1897 and named after Palmer, called the Palmer Chiropractic School & Cure.
Lillard is just one example of a patient who was able to overcome a serious problem in part by receiving targeted chiropractic adjustments. For someone else, it could be that sciatica (nerve pain down the back of their legs) is compromising their quality of life, or for another person, gastrointestinal discomfort. When you consider how most cells and organs in your body are controlled by nerves traveling through your spinal canal, it’s mind-blowing to consider how vast the positive outcomes of realigning these nerves can be.
Complementary treatments to chiropractic include Spinal Decompression Therapy, which involves stretching the spine, using a traction table or similar motorized device, in order to relieve back pain and/or leg pain. Deep tissue massage therapy, acupuncture and physical therapy are considered other common complementary therapies.
Why Get Chiropractic Adjustments?
Many things can lead to a vertebral subluxation. Some of the more common causes include:
- A vertebra going out of place (“misalignment”) because of a slip or fall (i.e., “macrotrauma”).
- The entire spine misaligning globally due to poor posture.
- Joint swelling caused by damage done to the intervertebral joint.
- An inflammatory response caused by a poor diet, lack of pure water or psychological stress.
- Osteoporosis or degenerative changes of the spine or intervertebral discs.
- Trigger points and tight back muscles that pull the vertebrae out of place.