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Chiropractic Medicine Holisticonline.com

Introduction

Chiropractic is neuromusculoskeletal manipulation, especially of the spinal column, and is used for diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating physical problems or diseases caused by or related to the neuromusculoskeletal system. It is generally accepted as one of the treatments of choice in cases of back pain. One of the fundamental principles of chiropracty is subluxation. Chiropractors believe that most of the ailments they treat are related to the misalignment of the spine.

Chiropractic is based on the concept that the human body has an innate self-healing ability and seeks homeostasis, or balance. According to general chiropractic theory, the nervous system plays an important role in maintaining homeostasis-and hence health. But "subluxations" (misalignments of bones within joints) or "fixations " ( abnormalities of motion) interfere with the flow of nervous impulses and diminish the body's ability to stay healthy. Through manipulation of the bones and their associated muscles and joints, particularly the spine, chiropractors work to correct these misalignments, thereby improving the function of the neuromusculoskeletal system and restoring homeostasis.

The word "chiropractic" comes from the Greek words cheiro, meaning "hand," and praktikos, meaning "doing" -so the term means, literally, "doing by hand." 

Today's chiropractors are divided into two major camps. On one side are the straights-traditional chiropractors who believe that subluxations are at the root of disease and that manipulation is the best treatment. On the other side are the so-called mixers, whose approach represents a mix of traditional and progressive techniques. 

Chiropractic is gaining wider acceptance. Recent clinical studies show that chiropractic is effective in treating a variety of problems such as acute lower back pain and headache. Surveys show that more and more people are turning to chiropractic services. 

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A study published in the July 1, 1998 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that chiropractic treatment is appropriate for low-back pain in a considerable number of cases. This study by the Rand Corporation found that 46 percent of a sample of low-back pain patients received appropriate care from doctors of chiropractic. 

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Poll results released in January 1998 by Landmark Healthcare, Inc., showed that one in every five adults ages 55 to 64 has used chiropractic care. 

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A December 1997 report from the Federal Agency for Health Policy and Research (AHCPR) notes that the chiropractic profession is now the third largest group of doctoral-level providers in the United States (after medical doctors and dentists). 

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That same AHCPR report shows that fully 80 percent of American workers in conventional insurance plans, preferred providers organizations (PPOs), and point-of-service plans now have coverage that pays at least part of the cost of chiropractic care. 

A March 1998 article in Business and Health magazine observed: 

Many companies say chiropractic coverage has lowered their medical and workers' comp costs, while raising overall health and productivity. 'It's one of the best benefits possible from a quality, quantity and pricing perspective.' 

Another study found that median work time lost for employees with back injuries who used chiropractic care was only 9 days as compared with 34.5 days for workers who used medical care. 

In a recent Gallup poll, 90 percent of all people who visited a chiropractor agreed that their care was effective. Successful outcomes in both effectiveness and patient satisfaction, have paved the way for chiropractors to enter the mainstream of health care services. Some chiropractors have begun to collaborate with medical doctors in integrated health care practices. 

May/June 1998 issue of Health magazine reported that the prestigious Texas Back Institute (TBI) at one time included only surgeons and other M.D.s. Then, about ten years ago, when TBI's medical doctors discovered chiropractic's success with lower back pain, they hired their first chiropractor. Now about 50 percent of the Institute's patients see a chiropractor first when beginning their treatment. 

"What the health care and medical communities are just beginning to accept is what our patients have known all along -- that our treatment is safe, effective and highly successful at improving their quality of life.

Dr. Michael Pedigo, President of the American Chiropractic Association

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