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Posted on 10-11-2016

Chiropractic and Spinal Health Month

     October is designated as spinal health month.  What better subject to coincide with spinal health month  than the practice and profession that are chiropractic. 

     The chiropractic profession has been in existence for over 100 years, although manipulation can be traced back thousands of years to the father of medicine, Hippocrates.  It was not until 1895, however, that B.J. Palmer founded the profession of chiropractic and started the first school of chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa.

     Since that time the profession has continued to evolve into a viable and increasingly popular treatment for many conditions including headaches and neck/back pain.  The evolution of chiropractic into this respected profession was not painless or without obstacles.  The earlier years of chiropractic were riddled with adversity from both the scientific community and the public.  Some bias still exists today.  The profession did prevail, however, and one reason is that it fills a gap in the health care system.  It offers something that medicine does not - a structural approach to the care of the human body.  It is also a treatment for pain that addresses the source of pain without drugs or surgery.

     A major factor in the evolution of chiropractic has been an improvement in the educational standards.  Today in North Carolina chiropractors spend a minimum of four years obtaining undergraduate degrees from accredited universities.  They then proceed into Chiropractic College for another 5 years, studying essentially the same courses as other physicians.  However, an emphasis in chiropractic education is on the spine, nerves, muscles, and joints of the human frame.  Treatment involves specific manipulation techniques or "adjustments" to make joints work better, instead of medication and surgery.

     A strong emphasis is also placed on prevention.  Today's chiropractors are well educated and recognize conditions they can help.  They also know when and where to refer patients they cannot help.

     Chiropractic's growing acceptance by mainstream medicine has been in part due to the increasing number of scientific studies validating spinal manipulation as an effective means of treating spinal pain.  One such study is the Manga report, published by Pran Manga, Ph.D., of the Ontario Ministry of Health, which found chiropractic care for low back pain more beneficial than any other form of care.  This study notes that chiropractic is not only effective for back pain, but it is also cost effective, allowing patients to return to normal activities more quickly than other forms of care.  This makes chiropractic appealing to patients, as well as to employers and cost conscious insurance companies.

     Additionally, a shift is occurring in the public's attitude regarding health care.  Today's consumer is more educated about personal health, and realizes that although medication and surgery are extremely valuable options, they are not the only ones - and sometimes may not even be the best.  Most people are seeking out complementary forms of care.  The result: chiropractic is now the third-largest health profession in the world, second only to medicine and dentistry.

     Today, many chiropractic physicians work in conjunction with other medical physicians.  Spine clinics are hiring chiropractors as part of their staff, providing a multidisciplinary approach to spine care.  Chiropractic physicians have been given privileges in many hospitals, something that would have been unheard of as little as 10 years ago.

     Chiropractic medicine has truly seen a great deal of change and growth.  Studies indicate that as many as 30% of back pain patients in the U.S. now seek chiropractic care.  With the trend in spine care toward more conservative care and away from surgery, chiropractic care is filling an important niche.  While neither medical, surgical, nor chiropractic care have all the answers, all working together can serve to enhance care for each of us.

Dr. Timothy S. Cheuvront

Chiropractic Sports Physician

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