What Is Chiropractic?

There are over 200 different specific techniques that are available to Chiropractors to re-align the spine. Dr Vinick is proficient in many of these, including the traditional and also gentle, non-force techniques.

Chiropractic is a natural method of healing using a non-surgical, non-invasive and drugless approach to the treatment of patients. Focusing on spinal health and well-being, the individual is viewed as an integrated being.

Because the body’s various systems are interconnected, spinal mechanics (including the vertebrae, corresponding nerves, and soft tissues) play a major role in the health of the whole body. Structural or mechanical abnormalities in the spine, which cause pain, dysfunction, and loss of mobility to thousands of Americans each year, can be successfully treated.

What does a Doctor of Chiropractic do? Spinal dysfunction (spinal misalignment or subluxation) is primarily treated by a procedure known as vertebral adjustment (or spinal manipulation). The chiropractor applies gentle pressure to an area of the spine or other joint that is not functioning properly or is out of alignment. The procedure is usually applied manually, and results in a reduction of pain and inflammation, and restoration of function and mobility in the injured area.

There are over 200 different specific techniques that are available to Chiropractors to re-align the spine. Dr Vinick is proficient in many of these, including the traditional and also gentle, non-force techniques.

The goal of Chiropractic is to remove any interference to the expression of our natural, innate intelligence, and allow the body to heal itself.

Your Inner Healer

Are you healthy if you feel good? If you said “yes”, ask yourself if you ever felt good one day and then came down with a cold, the flu or some other condition the next. You probably felt fine the day before you got sick, but were you healthy? Most likely your resistance was low, perhaps your stress levels were too high or you were pushing yourself too much.

What about people who “feel good” one moment and have a heart attack or stroke the next? Or those who “feel good” walking into a doctor’s office and are diagnosed with a serious health condition? It’s obvious that health is much more than how you feel, it’s much deeper than that. So what is health? Health is your ability to handle physical, chemical and emotional stress without losing your physical, chemical and emotional balance.

Adaptation

So many forms of stress threaten your balance: heat, cold, wind, and rain; bacteria, viri, pollen, mold and fungi in the air; cancer cells, with their deranged genetic instructions that constantly arise within; pollution and chemicals; cuts, bumps and bruises; school, work, marriage, babies, bills, a mortgage- and you must adapt to them all. Because if you didn’t a hot summer day would over heat your brain; a winter night would freeze your solid; every inhalation would bring massive infection; tumors would overwhelm you; a small cut would drain all your blood. Without adaptation, your heart would continue pounding long after a workout; alcohol and other drugs would never break down, and you’d stay intoxicated for life; an adrenaline high or a moment’s anxiety would last a lifetime.

Thankfully, you usually adapt to life’s stresses because many mechanisms are built into you specifically for this purpose. They’re as simple as shivering when cold and as elaborate as your immune system engulfing bacteria. They are as dramatic as an adrenaline rush when confronting danger, or as ungraceful as gagging. They all say the same thing: Survive! Survive changes in the weather; survive bacterial invasion; survive pollution; survive emotional heartbreak; survive excitement; survive work; survive in the big city, and thrive!

Viewed from this perspective, symptoms such as fevers, chills, vomiting, fatigue, sneezing and pain, although unpleasant, aren’t bad; rather, they are signs that your body is struggling to regain health and balance. Nobel Prize winner Rene Dubos said it well: “Good health is a process of continuous adaptation to the myriad microbes, irritants, pressures and problems which daily challenge man.”

Your Innate Intelligence

What does adaptation look like inside you? It’s thousands of different chemicals being balanced every second, millions of cells dying every second, millions being born every second and billions of nerves fiting messages to every part of your body every second. Your lunch is somehow turned into eye, muscle, heart, bone, skin and blood: damaged tissues are being repaired; blood vessel linings are being smoothed; germs and tumore are being destroyed; and all the things that your cells produce are being monitored and balanced while you read a gook, sleep or run a race.

What keeps track of all this activity? A wondrous intelligence. As Lewis Thomas, MD writes in The Medusa and the Snail, “There is a kind of super intelligence that exists in each of us, infinitely smarter and possessed of technical knowledge far beyond our present understanding.” This idea is echoed by Deepak Chopra, MD, in
Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: “Intelligence is present everywhere in our bodies our own inner intelligence is far superior to any we can try to substitute from the outside”

Chiropractic refers to your body’s organizational ability as its innate (inborn) intelligence. Your innate intelligence organizes your body into a complicated, living, adapting, growing being. Without it, you would be no more than a few dollars worth of chemicals.

Where Does Your Inner Wisdom Come From?

There is a part of your body that is especially intimate with your inner wisdom: your nervous system, composed of your brain, spinal cord and the billions of nerves that emerge from them. Your nervous system touches every nook and cranny of your body, and your body wisdom uses this vast communications system to organize your billions of parts into a healthy, adapting, living being. True health or adaptation can only emerge when your innate intelligence can communicate without interference or “static.” A complete break in that communication results in death; a partial break results in a general deterioration of health, or “dis-ease” you are less alive and less able to cope with life’s stresses. Eventually a dis-eased state turns into disease conditions.

Vertebral subluxations are a common, often painless condition that stresses your spine and nervous system and interferes with the proper flow of information and energy through your body, causing a state of dis-ease.

Doctors of Chiropractic spend years of training learning how to locate and correct your vertebral subluxations, freeing your body from dis-ease and helping you better reconnect to your inner healer.

What greater gift can you give to yourself, your family, and others than to tap into the source of healing, health and wholeness deep within? Is it any wonder that Chiropractic has become the most popular drug-free health profession in the world?

References:

Koren T. Chiropractic- Bringing Out The Best In You- An Introduction. 7th Edition, 2006.

Palmer DD. The Science, Art and Philosophy of Chiropractic. Portland, OR: Portland Printing House. 1910.

Dubos R, and Pines M. Health and Disease. New York: Time-Life Books. 1968.

Thomas L. The Medusa and the Snail. New York: Bantam Books. 1983;86.

Chopra D. Ageless Body, Timeless Mind. New York: Crown Publishing. 1993

Ornstein R, and Sobel D. The brain as a health maintenance organization, in R. Ornstein and S. Swencionis (Eds.), The Healing Brain, A Scientific Reader. New York: Guilford Press. 1990.

Selye H. The Stress of Life (Rev. ed.). New York: McGraw Hill. 1976.

CURRENT CHIROPRACTIC RESEARCH

Chiropractic Evidence

Since its formal foundation in 1895, the chiropractic profession has grown into the second largest of the primary health care professions. In the mid-1970s, chiropractic experienced rapid growth and acceptance – largely as a result of positive research findings that validate the benefits of chiropractic care. In the United States, chiropractic is now included in major insurance and Federal programs, such as Medicare. Legislation has also been enacted calling for inclusion of chiropractic services in both the military and the Veteran’s Administration. Still, many people are unfamiliar with chiropractic and how it may benefit their health.

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a natural method of healing using a non-surgical, non-invasive and drugless approach to the treatment of patients. Focusing on spinal health and well-being, the individual is viewed as an integrated being.

Because the body’s various systems are interconnected, spinal mechanics – including the vertebrae, corresponding nerves, and soft tissues – play a major role in the health of the whole body. Structural or mechanical abnormalities in the spine, which cause pain, dysfunction, and loss of mobility to thousands of Americans each year, can be successfully treated.

What Does a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?

Spinal dysfunction (spinal misalignment or subluxation) is primarily treated by a procedure known as vertebral adjustment (or spinal manipulation). The chiropractor applies pressure to an area of the spine or other joint that is not functioning properly or is out of alignment. The procedure is usually (although not always) applied manually, and results in a reduction of pain and inflammation, and restoration of function and mobility in the injured area.

In addition to adjustment or manipulation, the treatment plan may include ultrasound, electric muscle stimulation, controlled exercise, nutritional counseling, and other professional advice that may improve overall health.

Patient progress under chiropractic care will be carefully monitored. Subjective improvements and objective clinical findings will be noted and treatment will be modified to meet the patient’s changing condition. Should it be found that another type of health care would benefit healing, a referral to the appropriate provider will be made.

Research Supports Chiropractic

Although empirical evidence suggests that chiropractic is a safe and effective means of natural healing, a growing body of scientific data supports chiropractic’s effectiveness. The studies listed below are a tiny fraction of the studies published on the efficacy of chiropractic.

The RAND Study — The RAND Corporation, pone of the most prestigious centers for research in public policy and health, released a study in 1991 which found that spinal manipulation is appropriate for specific kinds of low back pain.

The Koes Clinical Trial — A 1992 Dutch project compared manipulative therapy (chiropractic) and physiotherapy for the treatment of persistent back pain and neck complaints. After 12 months, the manipulative therapy group showed greater improvement in the primary complaint as well as in physical function, with fewer visits.

The ACHPR Guideline — In 1994, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), now the Agency on Health Research and Quality (AHRQ), an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, released a clinical practice guideline for the treatment of acute low back problems. The guidelines recommend the use of spinal manipulation as an effective method of symptom control. The researchers developing the guideline found that ‘manipulation … is safe and effective for patients in the first month of acute low back symptoms without radiculopathy (disease of the spinal nerve roots.)’

The Manga Study — This study researched both the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the chiropractic management of low back pain. Dr. Pran Manga, the study’s author, found on the evidence, particularly the most scientifically valid clinical studies, spinal manipulation applied by chiropractors is shown to be more effective than alternative treatment for LBP (low back pain). Many medical therapies are of questionable validity or are clearly inadequate.

The Duke Study — Based on a literature review of several headache treatment options, a panel of 19 multidisciplinary experts concluded that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for cervicogenic headaches and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly-prescribed medication. Researchers concluded the following: “Manipulation appeared to result in immediate improvement in headache severity when used to treat episodes of cervicogenic headache when compared with an attention-placebo control. Furthermore, when compared to soft-tissue therapies (massage), a course of manipulation treatments resulted in sustained improvement in headache frequency and severity.”

The Boline Study — This randomized controlled trial compared six weeks of spinal manipulative treatment of tension-type headache by chiropractors to six weeks of medical treatment with amitriptyline, a medication often prescribed for the treatment of severe tension headache pain. Researchers found that chiropractic patients experienced fewer side-effects (4.3%) than the amitriptyline group (82.1%) and while both were effective during the treatment phase of the study, only the chiropractic patients continued to report fewer headaches when treatment ended.

The Nelson Migraine Study — This study compared chiropractic spinal manipulation to amitriptyline, (a medication often prescribed for the treatment of headache) for the treatment of migraine headache. The researchers found that spinal manipulation seemed to be as effective as a well-established and efficacious treatment (amitriptyline). and on the basis of a benign side effects profile, it should be considered a treatment option for patients with frequent migraine headaches. The researchers also found that in the weeks immediately following treatment, patients who had received spinal manipulation had a 42% reduction in headache frequency, compared to only 24% of those who took amitriptyline.

The Colic Study — When researchers compared spinal manipulation for the treatment of infantile colic to dimethicone (a medication for colic), they came to a simple conclusion: “Spinal manipulation is effective in relieving infantile colic.”

Is Chiropractic Right for You?

The choice of health care provider is a highly personal one. Concerns for most people include the education of the practitioner, the ability of the practitioner to make an accurate diagnosis, and whether other patients would recommend that doctor. Chiropractors can easily hold their own and in some instances surpass their colleagues from other health care professions.

A Study of Education — This study examined the education provided in medical school to that provided in chiropractic school. The researchers found that “considerable commonality exists between chiropractic and medical programs.” Surprisingly it was found that more time is spent in basic and clinical sciences in chiropractic education. Not surprisingly, chiropractic education spends more time in nutrition, while medical education spends more time in public health. In addition, little time in medical school is devoted to the study of the neuromusculoskeletal system and related ehalth problems: this is a major focus in chiropractic education.”

The Abt Study — Abt Associates of Cambridge, MA convened two expert panels (one panel primarily of medical doctors and the other entirely chiropractic) and asked the panels to investigate the role of the Doctor of Chiropractic as a primary health care provider. Both panels agreed that with respect to a list of 53 primary care functions found to occur in daily medical offices, chiropractors are capable of making diagnoses in 92% of these activities. The researchers concluded that “the overriding sense of agreement between allopathic and chiropractic physicians in terms of the scope of primary care activities, suggesting that there is opportunity for chiropractors and medical doctors to work together on patient care and organizational strategy.”

The IPA Study — A survey of patients of Chiropractic in an independent physicians’ association found that, when asked if they would recommend their Doctor of Chiropractic to others, 95.5% of the patients said “yes.”

Other results were as high:

  • Length of time to get an appointment –84.9% said Excellent
  • Access to office by telephone — 95.5% Excellent or Very Good
  • Length of wait at the office — 92.4% Excellent or Very Good
  • Time spent with doctor — 95.5% Excellent or Very Good
  • Explanation of what was done at the visit — 95.5% Excellent or Very Good
  • Technical skills of the provider — 98.5% Excellent or Very Good
  • Personal manner of the chiropractor — 100% Excellent or Very Good
  • Overall Visit — 100% Excellent or Very Good

While research is helping the scientific community to consider the effectiveness of the chiropractic method of treatment for various conditions, thousands of individuals all over the world are finding restored mobility and relief from pain at the hands of their Doctor of Chiropractic. As health care choices become increasingly diverse, and as consumers take more responsibility for designing a personal plan for optimal health, it is clear that chiropractic will be a choice for many. How about you?

References:

Shekelle PG, Adams A., et al. The Appropriateness of Spinal Manipulation for Low-Back Pain: Indications and Ratings by a Multidisciplinary Expert Panel. RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California; 1991

Koes BW, Boulder LM, et al. British Medical Journal. March 7 1992; Vol 304, No 6827, pp 601-605

Bigos S, Bowyer O. et al. Acute Low Back Problems in Adults; Clinical Practice Guideline, Number 14, Rockville, Maryland, US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, ACHPR Pub No. 95-0642; December 1994

Manga P. Angus D. et al. The Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Chiropractic Management of Low-Back Pain. The Ontario Ministry of Health, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; August 1993

McCrory DC, et al. Evidence Report: Behavioral and Physical Treatments for Tension-type and Cervicogenic Headache. Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center, Durham, North Carolina, January 2001

Boline PD, Kassak K, et al. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. March/April 1995 Vol. 18, No 3. pp. 148-154

Nelson CF, et al. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. October 1998; Vol 21, No. 8, pp. 511-519

Wiberg JMM, et al. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. October 1999, Vol 22, No. 8, pp. 517-522

Coulter I, et al Alternative Therapies September 1998; Vol. 4, No. 5, pp. 64-75

Gaumer GL., Walker A. Su S. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. May 2001; Vol. 24, No. 4 99. 239-259.

Information on this page is copyright 2002 by the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research. www.fcer.org All Rights Reserved. Reprinted here with permission.