What is Chiropractic?
A field of healthcare that focuses on the musculoskeletal and nervous system, chiropractic is broadly concerned with the relationship between the structure of the body and its overall function. Focusing chiefly on the spinal column, chiropractors most often treat cases of pain and degeneration in the back, neck, pelvis, and extremities. Patients have also sought chiropractic care to help alleviate conditions that range from headaches to constipation and acid reflux.
Are Chiropractors Doctors?
Trained medical professionals, chiropractors use their hands to perform physical adjustments to the bodies of their patients. Because they are required to hold neither a Doctor of Medicine (MD) nor a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree, chiropractors are not generally medical doctors. However, like doctors, they must obtain and maintain official licensure in order to practice legally. This means that each chiropractor must pass a comprehensive exam and stay current in the chiropractic field by completing regular continuing education classes.
Most chiropractors begin the road to licensure with a science-based undergraduate degree from a reputable institution of higher learning. After graduation, they must complete a four-year chiropractic program that offers both classroom instruction and hands-on learning. All chiropractors who practice in the United States are required to hold a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree from a college with full accreditation from the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE).
What is a Chiropractic Adjustment
Also known as chiropractic, manual, or spinal manipulation, a chiropractic adjustment typically involves the strategic movement of one or more vertebrae in the human spine. This movement is generally engendered by a short, high-velocity, low-amplitude, arm thrust.
As a chiropractor performs an adjustment, the patient can expect to experience a sense of relief and hear an audible pop as various gasses (oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide) are rapidly released from spinal joints in a process called cavitation.
Chiropractors will likely recommended adjustments to correct any vertebrae that exhibit irregular patterns of movement or simply fail to support normal function. When vertebrae are properly aligned and exhibit little to no subluxation, the patient should exhibit a reduction in pain/nerve irritability, an increased range of motion, and an overall improvement in health.
Should I See a Chiropractor?
Countless people have reduced or eliminated lower back pain by seeking chiropractic care (and incorporating a better mattress for back pain). As previously mentioned, people also commonly turn to a chiropractor for musculoskeletal pain of the neck, pelvis, and extremities, as well as for particularly acute and/or consistent headaches. Multiple scientific studies have shown chiropractic care to be beneficial in all of these instances. Research has also suggested that chiropractic care may be effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.
If you suffer from one or more of the above conditions, chiropractic care may be right for you.
How Can I Secure Quality Chiropractic Care
When searching out a skilled and knowledgeable chiropractor, it is absolutely essential to vet all potential practitioners in terms of education and licensure. Other important things to consider when looking for chiropractic care include the potential for insurance coverage and specialized training in the particular issue(s) for which you are seeking care.
When consulting with chiropractors, it is absolutely essential that you divulge any and all medical conditions that you might have as well as any and all medications that you may be taking. In short, patients must give their chiropractors a full picture of their medical history and health management efforts.