Chiropractic involves the manipulation of the bones of the spine to put them back in "their proper place." Chiropractic is based on the belief that a person's health is a reflection of the relationship between the spinal column and nervous system.
Chiropractic is based on the belief that a person's health is controlled by the nervous system. The spine is the focus of the structure of a person's body, with the nervous system closely aligned to the spine. The nervous system regulates the functions and activities of the body. When a problem interferes with the nervous system, other parts of the body may respond in ways that are not "normal." Such responses may include pain or other symptoms of disease or dysfunction.
Chiropractic treatment is therefore popular for many neuromuscular problems, such as: spinal painneck painheadachestemporal mandibular joint (TMJ) syndromepain caused from nerve problemsbursitisother conditions that may involve the spine or nerves
Sometimes the vertebrae, or the bones of the spine, are not aligned properly or become misaligned for some reason. This can cause damage or irritation to the nerve roots that run through the spinal column. This, in turn, causes a problem in the way nerve impulses are sent to the rest of the body. This can result in pain and other symptoms all over the body.
Chiropractic treatment is usually done by spinal manipulation or adjustment. These adjustments are made by the chiropractor applying pressure to the spinal column in certain spots and manipulating the vertebrae in a certain direction to realign them properly. Usually the chiropractor applies pressure and manipulates the vertebrae with his hands. This is often done with a sudden thrust, and leads to the distinctive cracking sound of manipulation. Other times, he or she may use instruments to apply the correct pressure and to make the adjustments.
Usually chiropractic therapy does not cause pain. Sometimes, however, the person may feel some discomfort due to swelling that already exists. A person may sometimes feel a tingling sensation in the limbs. This happens when nerves that are being pinched are relieved of pressure.
Much controversy exists about the safety of chiropractic manipulation of the neck. A small number of serious injuries, including stroke and death, have been reported after neck manipulation. An artery in the neck is prone to injury when the neck is rotated suddenly as done by some chiropractors. However, the evidence for a connection between neck manipulation and stroke does not convince all practitioners.
Given the lack of evidence to support the effectiveness of neck manipulation, the small, but serious, risk of injury is problematic. In contrast, manipulation of the lower spine is relatively safe.
Chiropractic claims that problems in the nervous system arise from many conditions, including: sleeping in the wrong positionpoor body posturepoor nutritioninjury, including injury to the spine and neckobesitymental or physical stressheavy liftingspinal disorders or conditions.
A Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) earns a degree after completing a 4-year program at an accredited school for chiropractic. He or she is usually not able to prescribe medication or perform surgery. When considering treatment by a DC, a person might ask the DC about: his or her experiencebeliefs in care of certain diseaseswhat type of preliminary care is used in diagnosing problems, such as x-rayswhen a referral would be made to a medical healthcare professional any other concerns the person may have
Chiropractic treatment of the lower spine is safe and popular with many people. Many controlled studies have found that it is more effective than placebo or ineffective treatments. For treating low-back pain, chiropractic has been found to be of similar effectiveness to conventional back care. However, patients consistently report higher satisfaction levels with chiropractors than with conventional medical care.
There is no compelling medical evidence that chiropractic is effective for other conditions unrelated to musculoskeletal problems, such as asthma, allergies, painful menstrual periods, or cancer.
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