The Science Behind Chiropractic Medicine

| November 2, 2012

Chiropractic treatments are in demand as people seek relief from their back pain, pains in the neck, arms and legs and to relieve headaches. But how? Read on to learn about how chiropractic medicine works. When you decide you need to see a chiropractor, start your search on the local DexKnows chiropractors listings.

What is chiropractic?

chiropractic treatment

The American Chiropractic Association describes chiropractic care as a health care field that focuses on disorders of the nervous and musculoskeletal systems and how these disorders affect your health. The theory, according to WebMD, is that proper alignment of the spine and the rest of the body’s musculoskeletal system will help the body heal itself without surgery or medication.

WebMD says that most people seeking relief from back pain favor chiropractic treatment. About 22 million Americans visit chiropractors each year, and 35 percent of them are seeking that help for back pain.

Chiropractic doctors straighten the spine through spinal manipulation. They use their hands to align the spine by pulling, twisting and pushing on the joints and bones. They may also twist the head, shoulders and hips and use treatments that include ultrasound, heat or ice, and strength exercises.

Put simply, the idea is that if the bones of the spine are out of alignment, other problems result, including problems with the nervous system.

How does it work?

The nervous system helps the body to stay in sync and good health. The problem is that injuries, repetitive work, accidents and even stress can overwhelm the nervous system’s ability to do this.

The Massachusetts Chiropractic Society (MCS) explains that this causes the spine’s joints to “lock up” and limits the spine’s range of motion. These distortions of the spine are called subluxations, and the idea is that these subluxations cause pain, swelling, numbness, tenderness and other problems around the spine, back and neck’s joints.

These problems can stretch out further into the arms, shoulders, hips, legs and around the rib cage. This can lead to headaches, stomach and digestive problems, according to the MCS. By irritating the nerves, this slows down the instructions that the body sends out to heal itself.

Chiropractors believe that the spinal manipulations, also called chiropractic adjustments, bring the spine back into proper alignment. This helps the nervous system better send out the instructions to the body to heal itself.

Does it work?

WebMD states that chiropractic care does help treat acute low back pain. It can also help with neck pain and headaches and some conditions including osteoarthritis.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, agrees that research has shown chiropractic medicine helps with conditions including pain in the lower back, neck and shoulder. The center referred to a 2010 review of evidence that showed chiropractic medicine helps with conditions including migraine headaches, neck pain and joint problems in the upper and lower joints, as well as whiplash.

Reviews shed doubt on whether it helps with asthma, hypertension and menstrual pain. In addition, any evidence that it helps fibromyalgia, mid-back pain, premenstrual pain and sciatica was inconclusive.

That’s how chiropractors describe what they do and how it helps. If you want to find a chiropractor in your community, head over to DexKnows chiropractors.

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Category: Chiropractors & Massage Therapists, Health & Fitness

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Central Ohio journalist with 15 years experience at daily newspapers. Freelance writer and amateur photographer. Storytellers are my heroes, poets my idols and photographers my looking glass.