Chiropractic care is a natural, drug-free and non-invasive mode of health care. Chiropractic concentrates on the nervous system, and the manner in which the brain and spinal cord communicate with all the other tissues of the body. This master nervous system is like an electrical control panel. During an adjustment, the spine and other joints are gently repositioned to remove interferences, and to stimulate mechano-receptors found in the joint space. These receptors are the basis in how the nervous system communicates from areas such as the hands and feet, to the brain and spinal cord. Stimulation of these receptors enables the body to heal itself, just as it was designed to do.
Envision a conduit for many electrical cords, which all snake out to run a variety of electronic equipment. Like the spine, this housing protects the wires from any external damage, as well as provides a pathway through which the current can flow. These wires take their turns branching off to their particular service areas.Now imagine that somehow, a kink in the wiring results, or repetitive movement caused the fibers to fray or swell, perhaps from pulling on the cord and dislodging it from the bundle. Obviously, intermittent trouble may occur with the equipment receiving the electrical supply.
Since we are all accustomed to this scenario, it is a wonderful example of the human spine and spinal cord. The bony spine itself encases the nerves of the spine, which in turn, send the electrical pulses to each of the organs and areas of the human body.
When there is a disruption in the nerve pathway within the spine, the human body responds with various clues, including pain and decreased function. Contrary to popular belief, chiropractic is not just for back pain, but is optimized in relieving pressure and restoring fluidity of the electrical impulses extenuating from the spinal cord to every area of the body. (See the interactive spine on the home page for a visual of this.)
Certainly, most everyone has heard about high blood pressure being called the ‘silent killer’. This is because many people have high blood pressure, and do not even know it, until it progresses far enough to create a major medical issue. The same is true for chiropractic. True health is not just the absence of pain or symptoms, because problems could be developing without producing symptoms, which if cared for properly now, may advert major set backs later. Preventative chiropractic and massage care should be part of everyone’s health care plan.
Along with proper nutrition and exercise, chiropractic aids in making sure the body parts work properly, and without a fuss.
WIDESPREAD USE OF CHIROPRACTIC CARE
The increasing interest in alternative forms of health care has caught the attention of several health associations and government agencies. A 1993 study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that "The estimated number of visits made in 1990 to providers of unconventional therapy was greater than the number of visits to all primary care medical providers nationwide," and chiropractic was among the most frequently used non-medical therapies.
A follow up report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 found that the use of non-medical treatments had increased significantly since the 1990 survey, with "overall prevalence of use increased by 25%, total visits by an estimated 47%, and expenditures on services provided by practitioners of alternative therapies by an estimated 45%." Of the survey respondents, one in nine, (11%) had used chiropractic care within the previous year.
The chiropractic perspective on health and disease emphasizes two fundamental concepts. Because it is the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) which controls every system in the body, maintaining the integrity and function of the nervous system, is instrumental in maintaining health and the body's healing processes. The structure, and condition of the body, influences how the body functions, and its ability to heal itself.
Although chiropractic shares much with other health professions, its emphasis and application of this philosophy distinguishes it from traditional medicine. Chiropractic philosophy gravitates toward a holistic, "total person" approach to healing, emphasizing overall wellness and prevention, of sickness and disease.
The wellness approach includes nutrition, exercise, supplementation, correction of biomechanical imbalances, workplace ergonomics, injury prevention, and education.
EDUCATIONAL FACTS AND STATISTICS
The following facts and statistics can be found on the American Chiropractic Association’s website.
Thirty-one million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time. One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year. Back pain is one of the most common
reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. Most cases of back pain
are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain—and that’s just for the more easily identified costs. Experts estimate that as many as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in our lives.