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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Special Topics > Chiropractic
      Category : Health Centers > Bones, Joints, and Muscles


Chiropractic involves the manipulation of the bones of the spine to put them back in "their proper place." Chiropractic is based on a belief that a person's health is a reflection of the relationship between the spinal column and nervous system.

What is the information for this topic?

Chiropractic philosophy is the belief that a person's health is controlled by the nervous system. The spine is the focus of the structure of a person's body. The nervous system is the focus of how the body functions or works. The nervous system regulates the activities of the body. When a problem interferes with the nervous system, other parts of the body may respond in ways that are not "normal." Such responses may include pain or other symptoms of disease or dysfunction.

Treatment from a chiropractor may include treating neuromuscular problems, such as:

  • spinal pain
  • neck pain
  • headaches
  • temporal mandibular joint syndrome, or TMJ
  • pain caused from nerve problems
  • bursitis
  • other conditions that may involve the spine or nerves
  • Sometimes the vertebrae, or the bones of the spine, are not aligned properly or become misaligned for some reason. This can cause damage or irritation to the nerve roots that run through the spinal column. This, in turn, causes a problem in the way nerve impulses are sent to the rest of the body. This can result in pain and other symptoms all over the body.

    Chiropractic treatment is usually done by spinal manipulation or adjustment. These adjustments are made by the chiropractor applying pressure to the spinal column in certain spots and manipulating the vertebrae in a certain direction and to a certain place. Usually the chiropractor applies pressure and manipulates the vertebrae with his hands. Other times, he or she may use instruments to apply the correct pressure and to make the adjustments.

    Usually chiropractic therapy does not cause pain. Sometimes, however, the person may feel some discomfort due to swelling that already exists. A person may sometimes feel a tingling sensation in the limbs. This happens when nerves that are being pinched are relieved of pressure.

    Chiropractic health believes that problems in the nervous system arise from many conditions, including:

  • sleeping in the wrong position
  • poor body posture
  • poor nutrition
  • injury, including injury to the spine and neck
  • obesity
  • mental or physical stress
  • heavy lifting
  • spinal disorders or conditions
  • A Doctor of Chiropractic, DC, earns a degree after completing a 4-year program at an accredited school for chiropractic. He or she is usually not able to prescribe medication or perform surgery.

    When considering treatment by a DC, a person might ask the DC about:

  • his or her experience
  • beliefs in care of certain diseases
  • what type of preliminary care is used in diagnosing problems, such as x-rays
  • when a referral would be made to a medical healthcare provider
  • any other concerns the person may have
  • Author: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Reviewer: Alison Kallman, MD
    Date Reviewed: 09/04/01

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