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Chiropractic is a natural approach to health care without any drugs or surgery. The primary avenue of care is manipulation of the spine often known as spinal adjustments. Chiropractic care is most often used to treat neuro-musculo-skeletal conditions, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the arms or legs, and headaches.
The word "chiropractic" comes from the Greek words cheiros (hand) and praktikos (practice), and means "done by hand." Chiropractors are licensed professionals who are educated to diagnose and care for a variety of conditions. Chiropractic care focuses on the integrity of the spine and its surrounding tissues as a means to enhance normal human function and health.
Doctors of Chiropractic – often referred to as Chiropractors or Chiropractic Physicians – practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also competent to recommend rehabilitative exercises and to provide nutritional and postural advice.
Chiropractors will refer patients to the appropriate health care provider when chiropractic care is not suitable for the patient’s condition.
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Dr. Daniel David Palmer was the first Doctor of Chiropractic. He established the profession in 1895 in Davenport, Iowa. The first chiropractic patient was Harvey Lillard, a janitor who had a prior spinal injury causing him to become deaf. On September 18, 1895 Dr. Palmer examined Mr. Lillard, located a spinal misalignment and he performed the first ever Chiropractic adjustment. Harvey's hearing returned and the profession was born!
Some Chiropractic historical milestones:
1845: Daniel David “D.D.” Palmer is born.
1895: Dr. Palmer performs the first Chiropractic adjustment.
1897: Dr. Palmer opens the Palmer School of Chiropractic, still functioning today.
1913: Kansas was the first state to license Chiropractors.
1922: Enrollment at the Palmer School exceeds 3,000. More than 80 chiropractic schools are in operation at this time.
1930: The Universal Chiropractic Association and the American Chiropractic Association merge into the National Chiropractic Association, today known as the A.C.A.
1941: The first standards were set up to accredit Chiropractic schools in the U.S.A.
1944: The G.I. Bill of Rights made grants available for veterans to study Chiropractic.
1972: The U.S. Congress voted to make Chiropractic available under Medicare.
Today in America there are over 60,000 practicing Chiropractors treating 15-20 million patients. Statistically, one in fifteen Americans sees a Chiropractor at least once a year. Chiropractic care is licensed in all 50 states and in many countries around the world. Chiropractic care is covered by many health insurance plans. Chiropractic has been recognized as a safe and valued part of health care delivery.
A hands-on approach
The latest technology
Various conditions are treated
Neck and back pain
Stiff / painful joints
Arm and shoulder pain
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Slips and falls
Some conditions treated by Chiropractic care:
X-rays were invented by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen in Germany in 1895. X-rays have been used for well over 100 years to view internal structures otherwise unseen. X-rays are generally taken to determine the patient’s diagnosis, treatment recommendations, precautions, or the need for further referral.
Patients often appreciate seeing the x-ray results and learning about the nature of their specific condition. Chiropractic doctors generally show and explain the findings at the office visit following the taking of the x-ray images. Many offices utilize digital x-ray technology.
Chiropractors may need to refer the patient to another facility for an MRI examination or another type of specialized diagnostic imaging study. Various hospitals and independent imaging centers welcome Chiropractic referrals for these examinations.
X-rays findings can help the Chiropractic Physician to determine the diagnosis and treatment plan. A wide variety of conditions may be visualized on x-rays including disc thinning or other arthritic or degenerative changes, misalignments such as spondylolisthesis or scoliosis. These conditions would be taken into consideration by the Doctor of Chiropractic in determining the course of the patient’s care.
Chiropractors use x-rays cautiously and appropriately with awareness that the radiographic information outweigh any risk of exposure. After a course of care x-rays can also be useful in re-evaluating a patient's status.
The Chiropractic education and training is very extensive. University students may apply to Chiropractic schools once they have met all of the pre-requisite course requirements. Once in Chiropractic College the educational emphasis is on anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, biomechanics, x-ray and other diagnostic imaging, and spinal adjusting techniques.
Chiropractic students typically have a science background in undergraduate university studies usually having earned a Bachelor’s Degree prior to enrolling in Chiropractic College. Once accepted to a Chiropractic College students complete four to five years of specialized Chiropractic studies to earn the Doctorate degree. It is an interesting fact that Chiropractors actually complete more classroom hours than M.D. students.
After graduating with a Doctor of Chiropractic degree, each student needs to pass the State Board Examination for the state in which they wish to practice in as well as passing the National Board examinations.
Doctors of Chiropractic must meet stringent educational requirements, often including a lengthy externship, to qualify for licensure. Each of the fifty states has its own specific requirements and testing. Each state also has its own unique scope of practice laws and rules.
Chiropractic Physicians are also required to consistently attend continuing professional educational programs to maintain their license to practice. There are a variety of organizations that offer these courses to meet the re-licensure requirements. The Macomb County Chiropractic Association has been providing such state-approved programming annually for forty years.
What does chiropractic treatment involve?
Chiropractic treatments usually emphasize spinal manipulation. Spinal manipulation (adjustments) are utilized to reduce pain, normalize joint function, enhance mobility and to relax tight muscles. Manipulation is usually performed by hand but may utilize a specialized device. The adjustments involve careful and controlled force on spinal joints or other joints of the body correcting misalignment or abnormal joint function, permitting normal nerve transmission, and allowing natural healing. There are many different Chiropractic techniques and methods.
Chiropractors may also utilize various therapeutic modalities such as ice or heat, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, laser therapy, spinal decompression, traction, support braces, massage therapy, and/or stretching and strengthening exercises.