Chiropractic, which loosely means “to treat by hand,” is a type of manipulative therapy that has been practiced in the U.S. for over 100 years. This discipline is based on the premise that function of the joints and muscles of the spine can have a profound effect upon health. Instead of pain, patients may sometimes experience a feeling of numbness, a “pins and needles” sensation, dizziness, or a host of other unusual manifestations.
Chiropractic manipulation or adjustments seek to restore normal function to the spine and other joints. Typically, this entails the chiropractor applying a specific, highly-controlled treatment directly to a joint or muscle with his or her hands. When successful, this often reduces or eliminates both local and referred pain, allows muscle spasms to relax, and is thought to remove irritation from the nervous system, which may result in other health benefits.
Chiropractors (referred to as chiropractic physicians in some areas) serve as portals of entry into the healthcare system. This means that a patient may choose to see a chiropractor before seeing any other practitioner. Consequently, chiropractors are trained to perform the same standard orthopedic, neurologic, and physical examination procedures as those performed in traditional allopathic medicine. This enables them to screen their patients for fractures, cancers, and other serious diseases requiring medical treatment.
Most chiropractors share a philosophy that medications and surgery should be saved as treatments of last resort for many conditions. Chiropractic care also has a history of blending nutritional and other alternative therapies with a natural approach to promoting health through lifestyle modification and exercise.
Other treatment options that chiropractors may employ include traction, supports and braces, and electrotherapies, such as ultrasound, muscle stimulation, and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation).
In practice, however, chiropractors treat a much wider range of problems including ankle sprains, rotator cuff injuries, a variety of headaches, and joint pain throughout the body, as well as offer general supportive care for conditions ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to the conservative management of high blood pressure.
There are a number of places to find information about a chiropractor: Get a suggestion from a friend, ask another chiropractor for a reference, look in the Yellow Pages, call unioncities.com (1-888-581-3124) for a leading business service, or go to our business services link.
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