What Is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic practice is concerned with the relationship between the structures and functions of the body, with specific focus on the spine and the nervous system.
Chiropractic care examines how this relationship influences the restoration and preservation of general health. Emphasis is placed on manual adjustment and/or manipulation of the spine to achieve better health outcomes.
A Chiropractor (practitioner of chiropractic) will focus on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention musculoskeletal mechanical disorders to effectively manage the nervous system.
Chiropractic is patient-centred and is a part of a group of complementary medical treatments widely practiced throughout the western world.
What Chiropractic Can Achieve
Why Is Chiropractic Effective?
Essentially, chiropractors specialise in spinal health using therapeutic intervention through manipulative techniques preformed on the vertebral joints located in the spinal column. The aim is to increase vertebral movement and enhance blood flow. This has the effect of decreasing inflammation and optimising nerve function. Consequently, chiropractic can deliver a reduction in pain and overall improvement in posture and mobility performance.
Chiropractic treatment involves applying tension to ligaments and delivering high-velocity thrusts in short bursts to stimulate vertebrae movement. These spinal manipulations may also be complemented by specific nutritional supplements, dietary advice and exercise routines.
Techniques and applications of chiropractic spinal manipulation therapy may vary depending on the practitioner. It is an alternative form of therapy and not part of conventional western medicine. Focusing on evidence-based practice rather than strong scientific research has at times, made chiropractic a controversial therapy.
Which Conditions Can Be Treated By Chiropractic?
Chiropractors may diagnose and treat an array of spinal problems that cause nerve or musculoskeletal pain. Practitioners will perform a neurological and physical assessment, and take into consideration patient history when making their diagnosis.
In some cases a CT scan or X-rays may be required to confirm the diagnosis. Some of the most common musculoskeletal disorders evaluated and treated by chiropractic care include:
How Are Chiropractors Trained & Qualified?
To become a chiropractor, students must complete several years of tertiary study. In some instances students must obtain a degree in science before advancing to chiropractic studies. The exact pathway will depend on the county in which the student is obtaining their qualifications.
In the UK the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) is responsible for regulating and setting the standards in all stages of chiropractic education. There are three institutes currently officially teaching chiropractic care in the UK: Anglo European College of Chiropractic, Welsh Institute of Chiropractic, and the McTimoney College of Chiropractic.
These undergraduate chiropractic programmes are an integrated Masters course which can last from four to five years of full-time study. Students must pass courses covering basic sciences, such as physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, pathology, and biomechanics. Clinical sciences such as neurology, radiology, diagnosis, and orthopaedics are also covered. Students need to be proficient in evidence-based interventions, such as manipulative therapies.
Studies Prove That Chiropractic Works
Chiropractic treatments have attracted a lot of criticism from other fields of medicine over the years. However there is clinical evidence to support this alternative therapy, especially in the treatment of chronic low back pain.
A 2011 Cochrane Review assessed randomized controlled trials up until 2006 concerned with mobilisation or manipulation of adults experiencing chronic-low back pain1. Rubinstein and colleagues found that chiropractic care is as effective as other treatments, such as standard medical care.
Although the efficiency of chiropractic care may be similar to other more traditional treatments, the side effects are less detrimental compared with regular use of pain relief medication, for example.
History of Chiropractic
Chiropractic in its infancy was first recognised 1895 in Iowa, America. Daniel David Palmer, a believer in natural healing philosophies, had taken his lead from Osteopathy, a practice developed in the early 19th century.
Palmer preformed the first documented chiropractic adjustment on Harvey Lillard, a partially deaf janitor who believed his earring problems developed following an incident which misplaced one of his vertebras. Following the chiropractic adjustment, Lillard reported that he was no longer deaf.
Two years later, Palmer opened the first school of chiropractic.
Philosophy of Chiropractic
Chiropractors believe that structural and biochemical anomalies of the spine can adversely affect the nervous system. Through chiropractic care, the structural integrity of the spine may be restored. In turn, this helps to reduce the pressure on neurological tissues and can enhance overall health and vitality.
The treatment is based on re-establishing normal spinal mobility. It’s believed that this can re-establish previous reflexes that have lost during periods of poor mobility or where spinal nerve irritation has further contributed to a reduction in normal joint movement.
How to Access Chiropractic Therapy
As chiropractic care is considered a complementary therapy the NHS does not generally cover this form of treatment. A practice nurse or GP can advise on the availability of NHS chiropractic in your local area.
Generally, people who seek chiropractic care will pay for private treatment. The British Chiropractic Association has a comprehensive database of practicing chiropractors which can be searched using location or postcode.
The cost of chiropractic will vary depending on the type of treatment required and the length of the session. Most appointments cost on average between £30-45.
Product Guide: Joint Food Supplements
Several good combination preparations for joints also contain MSM. As the health of the joint cartilage depends on many factors, combination preparations are usually superior to individual active ingredients.
Provide your joints with all nutrients they need. Read the overview of the best joint supplements here.
You may purchase MSM or methylsulfonylmethane from your pharmacy as a dietary supplement. Likewise, numerous recommendable remedies with good customer reviews can be found on Amazon, some of which we have selected here: