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Chiropractors - They've Got Your Back

Aug 17, 2007
Today, there seem to be two very distinct streams of medicine growing before our eyes - conventional medicine and alternative medicine. Conventional medicine is characterized by the ones who practice it - there are people who hold degrees and those who are in allied fields. So there are the general physicians, the ones who have an MD or Doctor of Medicine degree, the DO or Doctor of Osteopathic degree and of course the registered nurses, psychologists and therapists. Anything that is not part of this mainstream medical flow is called alternative or complementary medicine. It can be resorted to as an alternative means of treatment or can be used alongside conventional methods of treatment.

Chiropractic falls under the alternative stream and has been used for centuries to treat and heal. In fact, it finds mention in Hippocrates' works. This alternative line of medicine takes its name from two Greek words - cheir and praxis which mean hand and action. At the heart of this treatment is healing by manipulation using the hands. Or as people who practice this prefer it to be known, adjustment rather than manipulation. So physicians of chiropractic or chiropractors as they are also called, diagnose and treat conditions differently from conventional medical practitioners. It is most often used in conditions pertaining to the joints, bones, muscles and the connective tissues like the tendons, cartilage and the ligaments.

What is the basis of this science? It is rooted in the belief that the body is its own best healer. What the chiropractor does is to bring about an alignment between the body and its structure because when this is askew, like the spine going out of synch with the rest of the body, it results in bad health and maybe even pain. At the end of the 19th century, a man named Daniel Palmer set up a practice in Iowa. He was self-taught and he believed that the body could heal itself with a bit of help from external sources. According to him, it was the misalignment of the spine that blocked the perfect flow of energy or 'nerve flow'. Once this was corrected, everything literally flowed smoothly and all was well with the body. Every organ has to have the benefit of the nerve or energy flow for it to work perfectly. Adjustments in the vertebra helped to make the flow better and smoother.

Is chiropractic in vogue today? What are people using it for? How many go? Towards the end of the last century, there were over 190 million people all over America who went in just one year. Nearly half of them went to get their back or stiff neck problems treated. More recently, a survey showed that many people went to a chiropractor for their back or low-back problems. Many of them suffered from chronic back pain. People also went for sports injuries, strains and headaches. Whatever the ailment, the very fact that so many go seems to indicate that chiropractic must be easing their pain. And if an alternative system of treatment can offer to relieve pain, especially chronic pain without having to resort to medication, why not?
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