The chiropractic profession has been around since 1895. 116 years! In that time, the knowledge and techniques of chiropractic have evolved tremendously just like mainstream medicine has. Though the history of chiropractic lacks much research, respect, and even higher education, the profession today has developed into a well-respected, highly educated establishment that is backed by a plethora of research showing its safety, efficacy, and cost efficiency. No longer are the days of chiropractic being referred to as “quackery” except by those who are ignorant of the scientific knowledge showing the benefits of such treatment. In the earlier years of the profession, chiropractors claimed to treat all sorts of ailments from cancer to hearing loss by simply adjusting certain areas of the spine. While today we know this is inaccurate and even unethical to claim, spinal manipulation plays an important role in many functions of the body. When vertebral subluxations are present, changes in the surrounding tissue include stiffening in the joint due to scar tissue, lack of circulation, tightening of the small vertebral muscles, and pressure or inflammation around the nerve roots. This “vertebral subluxation complex” not only causes local pain and immobility, but also affects the nerves in the surrounding area. These nerves are what allow communication between different parts of the body. When the nerves are compressed whether it is by a disc, inflammation, or any other structure, the result is abnormal functioning of that nerve. Each level of the spine corresponds to different areas of the body for both sensory and motor function. Any interruption in communication may cause symptoms such as pain, numbness, weakness, and even potentially problems within the organ systems in which the nerve innervates. Chiropractic continues to evolve in its knowledge and its approach to care. This should help to clarify some of the main misconceptions about chiropractic. In the next blog I will address the safety concerns regarding spinal manipulation.
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