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Chiropractic - Overview

Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Doctors of Chiropractic are often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians that practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling. The initials "DC" identify a chiropractor, whose education typically includes a pre-med undergraduate degree plus four to five years of Chiropractic College. Chiropractic medicine originated in the late 1800s in the United States.

Chiropractors use hands-on manipulation treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints concerning muscles, joints, bones, headaches, and connective tissue, such as cartilage, ligaments, and tendons by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile or restricted in their movement thereby restoring mobility and alleviating pain and muscle tightness which allows the tissues to heal.

The primary theory is to help the body to heal itself without surgery or mediction by correcting subluxation of the body's musculoskeletal structure, particularly the bones of the spine (vertebrae). Subluxation occurs when a bone is partially pulled or pushed out of place (out of its normal relationship to the other bones that make up a joint). Some chiropractors use heat, electrical stimulation, or ultrasound to help relax the person's muscles before doing a spinal adjustment.

Chiropractic adjustment rarely causes discomfort. However, patients may sometimes experience mild soreness or aching following treatment (as with some forms of exercise) that usually resolves within 12 to 48 hours.

In many cases, such as lower back pain, chiropractic care may be the primary method of treatment. When other medical conditions exist, chiropractic care may complement or support medical treatment by relieving the musculoskeletal aspects associated with the condition. Chiropractors will readily refer patients to the appropriate health care provider when chiropractic care is not suitable for the patient's condition, or the condition warrants co-management It is sometimes used in conjunction with conventional medical treatment

Research has shown chiropractic therapy to be effective in treating low back pain and to be helpful in treating neck pain and headaches.

Discuss with your chiropractor any potential risks associated with chiropractic treatment. Side effects may include minor pain or discomfort at the point of manipulation, headaches, and fatigue. Most of these effects go away within a day.

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