Chiropractic care is a health profession that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical problems in the muscle and skeletal system. They have a special emphasis on the spine. The chiropractor works under the theory that the spinal cord and nervous system affect everything about the general health of a person.
Today chiropractic care is considered complementary or alternative medicine practice which is a characterization that many chiropractors, osteopaths and patients don’t appreciate. Chiropractic medicine emphasizes manual therapy and spinal manipulation to improve the overall health of the individual. Chiropractors recognize the benefits of including exercises, lifestyle counseling and nutritional supplementation for those who don’t receive a balanced diet in the overall plan of care for the individual.
Conventional and traditional Western medicine often downplays the benefits that patients receive when they help their body heal itself. Fortunately, however, the practice of chiropractic medicine continues to grow and flourish as more and more research studies prove out the case studies reported in the literature of patients who are appropriately managed without pharmaceutical intervention.
During a spinal adjustment the chiropractor will use their hands to apply a controlled but sudden force to a joint by pushing it beyond the normal range of motion. They also use massage, heat and stretching to relax muscles. Others also include electrical muscle stimulation, exercises and ultrasound to speed healing of parts that are injured.
But the chiropractor also addresses an area of health care often neglected by the primary care physician in traditional medicine – which is prevention. When an individual uses a chiropractor as their medical professional they will find that the practitioner is interested in helping the patient to reduce their risk of developing other injuries or illnesses and takes the extra time needed to educate their patients.
It may also be that people who are interested in receiving care from a chiropractor are also less likely to take the word of their doctor when told to do something but would rather do much of their own research and reading to confirm what the medical professional is recommending. These patients may also have a greater interest in preventive care than others.
Seeing a chiropractor is considered generally very safe except in a couple of instances. If you have osteoporosis or suspect you have this condition seek confirmation from your primary care physician before allowing a professional to manipulate the very bones that may break under pressure. If you have back pain that is accompanied by fever, chills, sweats or unintentional weight loss then seek the advice of a medical doctor to rule out the possibilities of infection or tumor.
If you are considering seeking the advice and counsel of a chiropractor then there may be a few things you can do to get the most from your visit. Treat this visit as you would any other doctor visit. Before making an appointment with a chiropractor get a referral from someone you know and trust. Today you probably know at least two or three people who routinely visit a chiropractor – just ask. Ask the chiropractor for a consultation to determine if his philosophy, medical advice, focus and office staff are compatible with your believe system and you are comfortable with the care you’ll receive in the office.
If you are seeing a primary care medical doctor make this a team approach to your health care. Ask your primary care doctor for a recommendation and find the practice of a chiropractor who is willing to work with your primary care doctor to continue to help your body heal.