What can I expect from a chiropractor?
Chiropractors, known as Doctors of Chiropractic or chiropractic doctors/physicians in some jurisdictions, use a combination of treatments which are predicated on the specific needs of the individual patient. A chiropractor can develop and carry out a comprehensive treatment/management plan which can include spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, prescription of exercises, and health and lifestyle counseling. While the core concept of practice is based on healing without drugs or surgery, patients may commonly expect:
- A thorough physical examination to determine conditions which may be appropriate for chiropractic care.
- To be referred to another health care provider for conditions which are not appropriate for chiropractic care
- To understand the type of care to be administered, and what results may be expected
- Discussion with the doctor as the care continues, to evaluate both treatment effectiveness and projected duration
- A clear understanding of financial arrangements
- Appropriate, ethical care delivered in confidence, with respect for privacy and dignity
How long has chiropractic been around?
Is chiropractic safe?
Should a child or baby see a chiropractor?
Is chiropractic care expensive?
D.D. Palmer gave the first spinal adjustment to a deaf janitor, Harvey Lillard, on September 18, 1895, reportedly resulting in a restoration of the man’s hearing. Palmer had discovered that manual manipulation of the spine could result in improved neurological function. Friend and Rev. Samuel Weed suggested combining the words cheiros and praktikos (meaning “done by hand”) and chiropractic was born. Palmer claimed that vertebral joint misalignments, which he termed “Subluxations” interfered with the body’s function and its inborn ability to heal itself. This concept was later expanded upon by his son, B.J. Palmer.
Chiropractic is the fastest-growing and second-largest primary health care profession. According to Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards there are approximately 81,000 doctors of chiropractic (DC’s) in active practice in the United States spread from rural areas to inner cities. More than 10,000 students are currently enrolled in chiropractic educational programs accredited by a federally-recognized body (CCE). The ratio of DC’s to the general population, based on the Bureau of the Census figures is estimated to be one doctor of chiropractic for every 5,100 citizens. This compares dramatically to the ratio of medical providers to the general population as there are well over ten times more MD’s than DC’s. Thus the MD to general population ratio is approximately one to every 430 citizens.
A 2007 study of 50 276 chiropractic manipulations of the cervical spine which turned up no reports of serious adverse effects. The authors concluded that the risk of serious adverse effects was, at worst, 6 per 100,000 manipulations. The most common minor side effect was fainting, dizziness, and/or light-headedness, which occurred after, at worst, 16 in 1,000 treatments. (Thiel HW, Bolton JE, Docherty S, Portlock JC (2007).
“Safety of chiropractic manipulation of the cervical spine: a prospective national survey”. Spine 32 (21): 2375–8.)
According to the World Health Organization “employed skillfully and appropriately, chiropractic care is safe and effective for the prevention and management of a number of health problems.”
Chiropractic services are in high demand. Tens of millions of Americans routinely opt for chiropractic services and this number is rapidly growing. In 1993, more than 30 million people made chiropractic a regular part of their health care program.
The nervous system is the master controller of our body and if its communication channels become fuzzy, distorted or damaged then we experience all sorts of communication errors. For babies and children, this ineffective communication may play out as colic or irritability, an inability to suckle and breastfeed, poor sleep, developmental delays, digestion issues, asthma, behavioural problems, low energy, inability to concentrate, headaches, etc – the list is endless. In fact, regardless of what the end result or symptom may be, all roads to ‘optiminal health’ lead back to the body’s ability to self-regulate and function at a peak level.
While chiropractic may be able to help with a number of health issues, our focus is not treating or curing ailments; our focus is ensuring the nervous system has every opportunity to work efficiently and effectively.
Doctors of chiropractic provide effective, low-cost health care for a wide range of conditions. Compared to alternatives such as medication and surgery, chiropractic care is quite inexpensive.