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Find a Chiropractor in your area

Chiropractors work with realigning the skeletal system and work very much with the physical body rather than any form of emotional or spiritual engagement with the client.

The careful manipulation of the spine is a traditional form of therapy that was practiced by many cultures.

Canadian-American Daniel Palmer coined the term chiropractic, in the late19th century to identify a therapy, which has been gaining recognition as a bona fide form of healing.

Spinal cordThis healing art form can be traced back to 2700BC in the Chinese martial art kung fu. It was practiced by the Greeks, Egyptians, and Syrians and is still practiced in East Africa and by some Native American Indians. The Greek physician Hippocrates offered a fair description of it when he said: "One or more vertebra of the spine may or may not go out of place. They are likely to produce serious complications and even death, if not properly adjustedmany diseases are related to the spine" (Drury p.46). The modern art form came to light of day when Harvey Lillard went to see Daniel Palmer in 1895. Lillard had become extremely deaf 17 years previously when he stooped in a cramped position at work. During the examination of his spine, Palmer found a prominent vertebra out of position. Lillard confirmed that this spot had been a source of considerable pain when he lost his hearing. Palmer manipulated and repositioned the vertebra to which Lillards hearing immediately improved. After subsequent treatments, Palmer restored Lillards hearing to its original normal level. Even still, the established medical profession ridiculed Palmer.

Looking at the machinations of the spine, when viewed from the rear, it appears vertically straight but is composed of a double crescent. The cervical and the lumbar section of the spine form one crescent, and the thoracic and sacral section forms the other, an inverted crescent. The angle of these crescents is crucial to minimizing spinal biomechanical stresses (dc doctor #1 p.1). Between each vertebra there are openings, foramens, through Close up of Spinewhich the bundle of spinal nerves within the spinal column exit, extending to various parts of the body. Free from the protection of the spine, make the nerves vulnerable to misalignments, arthritic body growths, and inflammatory bio-chemicals from nearby injured tissues that may irritate or impinge on the spinal nerve. This irritation interferes with the messages, nerve impulses, affecting the signal and the receiving cell, tissue or organ. Deprived of this information or receiving distorted information, then starves the receiving organ or cells dependent on the stimuli to facilitate the required tasks. This affects the health of the organs or cells, which then become dysfunctional, degenerate or diseased.

The aim of the chiropractor is to realign the vertebrae to restore the normal functioning of the nervous system. This allows the body to heal itself for as in many traditions, chiropractors believe in the bodys innate healing capability.

The Nervous System.The nervous system.

Misalignments can be caused by accidents, falls, stress, tensions and overexertion. Misalignment of the spine has a tremendous impact on the rest of the body. For example the nerves of the lumbar section affect large and small muscles of the lower back, muscles of the thigh, legs, calf muscle and feet. The longest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve, originates from the lumbar section affecting the hips, knees, ankles and the feet. The large intestines, appendix, the male-female reproductive organs, the bladder, and prostrate glands are some of the organs that are also affected by the lumbar section. Misalignment also known as subluxation in this section can result in numbness of the back and legs, sciatica, muscle weakness or spasms, scoliosis (a side-ways curving of the spine), joint problems, constipation, diarrhoea, cramps, varicose veins, bladder problems, menstrual problems and poor circulation for example.

There was a documented case in the Danish journal Nordisk Medicine June 93. It concerned a 54-year old man with lumbago and a long-standing hearing defect. He showed marked improvement after a session of spinal manipulation and his hearing had improved. It was found that the organ of Corti in the ear had been impaired by the irritation of the nerves leading from the upper spine.


Dr. Neville Ussher of the Santa Barbara Clinic in California reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine that after 15 years of research and only using chiropractic manipulation, he was able to cure a number of disorders like occipital and facial neuralgia, bronchial asthma, circulatory problems, chronic appendicitis and spasms.

Nevertheless, chiropractic has continued to be challenged. T. Vondarhaar of the Northern California College of Chiropractic once commented: "Chiropractic has remained outside the mainstream of modern medicine because its major premise, that the body has inherent capacities for health, has simply been out of fashion in the U.S. and the Western world. The holistic view of health is regarded with suspicion by the medical establishment because it does not rely on technological intervention in the body which can be measured and controlled (Drury p.49). Another reason is the sense of competition. A strong belief amongst some physical therapists is that manipulation of the cervical spine for those with neck pain, muscle-tension headache and migraine contributes to stroke. Between 1925 97, a documented 177 cases were reported with injuries from spinal manipulation including arterial spasm, lesions of the brainstem, hearing loss, balance deficits and nerve injury. In 18% of cases, death occurred. However, through reassessment of these cases, it becomes less clear who the original practitioners were. In some cases, the practitioner was a physical therapist or a physician.

Canadian chiropractors have called for collaboration with the neurological profession with accusations that neck manipulation causes stroke. Dr. Stan Gorchynski of the Canada Chiropractic Association responds "The rare possibility of stroke associated with manipulation is well documented. It is not new information. They (chiropractors) obtain informed consent from their clients acknowledging the risks. The risk of fatal consequences is very remote at less than 3 in 10 million".

Chiropractic Bed.Motorised bed.

Modern chiropractors are trained to perform at the same standard as orthopaedics and neurologists. There are physical examinations and procedures that are the same as in allopathic medicine (Healthnotes p.1). Chiropractors of the traditional school work exclusively on spinal adjustments. Others mix the traditional school with other methods e.g. acupressure, nutritional counselling, ultrasound, x-rays etc. A third group looks at the entire musco-skeletal system including joint misalignments. Then there are those who attribute every medical disorder to spine misalignment. Regardless, treatment is tailored according to a persons age, weight, build, overall condition and pain tolerance. The treatment is painless with the occasional popping or cracking sound as in when one cracks ones knuckles.

The result is fewer drugs, less surgery and fewer hospital stays. Former Secretary of Commerce in Pennsylvania, Andrew Sordoni commented "Based on my experience, I firmly believe that chiropractic is the best method of coping with certain health and accident problems I industry. Many insurance companies are recognizing the benefits of chiropractic techniques and are paying for them. This is most significant, as is the fact that the State Workmens Compensation Acts are more and more recognizing the need for chiropractic services. These bodies form their decisions and base their policies on statistics, not on sentiment.

The successes are reflected in the US governments recent signing of legislation that makes chiropractic a mandatory and permanent service in the healthcare system of veterans. Called the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Programs Enhancement Act of 200/CH.R.3447, the law authorizes the hiring of chiropractors. This includes medical centres to be established in urban and rural areas with a variety of services for neuromuscoskeletal conditions.

Contributed By Hwaa Irfan

Chiropractors charge between 35 and 45 per session, sessions generally last between 40 and 50 minutes.

















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