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All About Chiropractic Care

While most people today have heard of chiropractors, many do not understand exactly what these professionals do. Often the image that comes to mind is of some guy who goes around cracking people's backs. At best, this is a distorted picture of what chiropractors do while at work. At worst, it completely undermines the training and knowledge that these skilled and compassionate medical providers have spent years developing.

What Type of Training Do Chiropractors Have?

This is one of the often misunderstood things about the chiropractic profession. The fact is that these medical providers have a great deal of training before they can become a member of the American Chiropractic Association. For starters, they are required to have a four-year degree from an accredited institution in pre-medical courses. They should have extensive time in the lab and studied a wide range of subjects, including chemistry, biology and psychology.

Afterwards, there are an additional four years of study devoted to chiropractic care, followed by a one year internship. At this point, the medical student can apply for their own license. There are additional specialties that the chiropractor can begin studying for while practicing chiropractic medicine, including sports medicine and rehabilitation.

What Defines Chiropractic Medicine?

Chiropractors perform services for patients that are designed to optimize their health through restoration and prevention. It is a non-invasive form of treatment that does not require ingestion of any foreign substances.

The word itself is a combination of two Greek words that translates into "done by hand." This is because the services provided are primarily the chiropractor helping to restore the body to a natural alignment and energy flow. Those who have chosen to engage in continuing education may also have specialized certifications in diagnostic imaging, pediatrics or other fields.

One of the basic philosophies behind the formation and study of the field is that the body wants to be healthy. The premise is that, given the right conditions, the body will heal and the organs will function optimally together.

The nervous system begins in the brain, with nerves flowing down through the spine, and outward from there toward the rest of the body. When the spine is not properly aligned, these nerves can become irritated. The continual pressure on particular points can create a wide range of physical discomfort.

This is the reason that chiropractors frequently manipulate the spinal column. They are applying expert movements to guide the vertebra back into proper alignment, relieving the stress. This will allow the nerves to heal, and for the proper flow of energy throughout the body to be restored. They are providing what the patient body requires to access the vital force within of innate intelligence. The primal desire of each cell, organ and bodily force to heal is the premise behind chiropractic care.

What Services Can a Chiropractor Perform?

When a patient first visits a chiropractor, they will fill out a medical history, which the doctor will review, along with performing a physical examination. After discussing the patient concerns, the chiropractor will determine the best course of action for treatment.

The primary service that chiropractors perform is to locate and adjust vertebral subluxations. These are the misalignments that can put pressure on the nerves running through the spine. These adjustments sometimes make a popping sound, which is completely normal. This is the service most people associate with these medical professionals.

However, chiropractic doctors can also perform other services, depending upon what areas they chose to specialize in. This might include nutritional advice, the use of hot and cold treatments, or a wide range of other possibilities. Each patient will have a different experience based upon the expertise of the provider, their history and current condition and related factors.

For those who have a particular need, such as a chiropractor with knowledge in sports medicine, it is a good idea to ask about that prior to determining which chiropractor to visit.

How Does a Chiropractic Adjustment Work?

After reviewing the medical records and making a physical examination of the spinal column, the chiropractor will determine how to adjust the spine. They will place the patient in a position that makes the most efficient use of gravity to support their body and make the movement easier. Sometimes blocks or other devices are placed to assist in support. Then, the doctor will use their hands to move the spinal column. This often results in a popping noise, which can be alarming, even for those who are expecting it.

Called a cavitation, it is simply the release of gas from the area. Synovial fluid keeps the spinal joints well lubricated and properly nourished. Gasses are a byproduct of synovial fluid production. When released, the fluids are able to relubricate the joint surface, providing a sense of relief.

The oxygen, nitrogen and CO2 that were released are reabsorbed by the body. Though it make take multiple visits before the area is able to maintain the proper alignment without adjustments, the relief provided is virtually instantaneous and will last for longer and longer periods of time for those who keep up with their regular visits.

Tips for Finding a Skilled Doctor of Chiropractic

Prior to making an appointment with a chiropractor, it is a good idea to research their reputation online. Additionally, checking out their website to discover any specialties and further information regarding the practice can help to ensure that patients find a doctor that will be able to assist them with many of their health care needs and discomforts.

When it comes to having a well-rounded set of health care professionals to assist people in their wellness endeavors, including a chiropractor is an excellent choice. Their contribution to the medical community, and their patients, works to alleviate a wide range of symptoms and to prevent further damage to the body. The restorative techniques promote healing and health. Whether the pain is located along the spine, or elsewhere in the body, patients around the world have found relief with chiropractic adjustment.