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Chiropractic therapy is garnering wide attention nowadays since it has become a proven a justifiable form of medical therapy. Yet, chiropractors are in a league of their own, believing in their own principles and employing their own methods for treatment.

In recent years, the standing of chiropractic as a reputed brand of therapy has grown. Earlier it used to be considered as an alternative therapy; but recently it is being considered as a supplementary form of medicine. Today chiropractors are retained by medical hospitals and their services are used in problems ranging from simple back pain to paralyses. The American Medical Association also has changed its stance towards chiropractic and now recognizes the therapy as a possible method of treatment.

Definition of Chiropractic

Chiropractic is an alternative type of medical therapy that works by correcting misalignments of the spinal cord. The therapy works at a musculoskeletal level. By correcting problems with the musculoskeletal system, chiropractic tries to correct more serious disorders with the human system.

In this sense, chiropractic is very similar to the Chinese method of acupuncture. In acupuncture, the therapist uses needles to pierce certain places of the body. The intention of the acupuncturist is to improve the flow of positive energy in the body, which is called in the Chinese acupuncture as chi. Even in chiropractic, the practitioner would poke at certain points along the spine and other joints in the body to improve the nervous coordination in the body.

Principle of Chiropractic

Any misalignment with the spine is called as a subluxation. Vertebral subluxations can occur anywhere along the spine. Chiropractors strongly believe that the spine is connected to the entire body by means of nerves. These nerves are of two kinds – the sensory nerves which bring the signals from the different parts of the body to the central nervous system and the motor nerves which carry the signals from the central nervous system to the different parts of the body. If these channels are blocked in any way, then disease occurs. In other words, diseases are caused due to subluxations of the spine.

If one were to correct the misalignment of the spine, then the cause of the disease itself would be eliminated, and this would effectuate treatment from the disease. This can be done by applying pressures of various degrees onto the spine with the help of fingers. This is the underlying principle of chiropractic.

The theories of chiropractic were put forward by its founded, D. D. Palmer. He delved much deeper into the theory. He acknowledged and believed in the presence of some intelligent force within the body which makes the motor nerves to move in coordination with the sensory nerves. This is what causes the reflex actions of the body. Hence, the principle that governs chiropractic is not just metaphysical, but it is also philosophical in nature.

Styles of Chiropractic

There are different styles of chiropractic being practiced by professionals who use this as a form of therapy. These are based on different theories and beliefs about the biological effects of chiropractic on the body. The following are the main kinds of chiropractic:-

(1) Traditional Straight – The traditional straight approach of chiropractic is the purest form of chiropractic. This approach is kept as theoretical as it was developed initially by BJ Palmer. People who adopt the traditional straight approach of chiropractic believe that the correction of vertebral subluxation is the most potent remedy for all bodily ailments. The underlying idea is to enhance the innate intelligence of the man by removing the obstacles that come in the way of the motor nerves understanding of the stimulus carried by the sensory nerves. Hence, traditional straight chiropractic tries to keep the method as elementary as possible. Also, there are no medicines used in traditional straight chiropractic. Only fingers are supposed to be used. The International Chiropractic Association belongs to the traditional straight school of thought.

(2) Mixer – Chiropractors who belong to the mixer school of thought are less rigid in their ways of thinking. These are the naturopaths, osteopaths and other therapists who have derived the original chiropractic techniques from the BJ Palmer school of thought, but have made several later additions and modifications to the process. They do believe that diseases with the human body are due to subluxations in the spine which interfere in the reflex actions of the body. Their methods imbue traditional straight chiropractic with other therapies from naturopathy and osteopathy. Even the National School of Chiropractic can be classified as belonging to the mixed school of thought. In fact, the larger bulk of chiropractics belong to the mixed school of thought.

(3) Objective Straight – The objective straight school of thought has evolved from the traditional straight school of thought itself, albeit with a different perspective on the issue. Like the traditional straight chiropractors, the objective straight chiropractors do not believe that vertebral subluxations are the causes of diseases. They maintain that chiropractic must be practiced as an art in itself and must not be looked upon as an alternative to medicine. So much so, that more chiropractors belonging to the objective straight school of thought will refer their clients to some medical health professional from conventional branches of medicine. Objective straight chiropractors do not go beyond issues related to the spine. The World Chiropractic Alliance and the Federation of Straight Chiropractics and Organizations both are heavily influenced by the objective straight school of thought.

(4) Reform – Chiropractors belonging to the reform school of thought use chiropractic to treat particular problems with the spine such as osteoarthritis and pains in the joints. These may be the most conventional forms of chiropractors, meaning they do not treat chiropractic with the fervor of original chiropractors. They do not believe in the theory of some innate intelligence controlling the sensory and motor actions of the human body.

Risks Involved with Chiropractic

Chiropractic has been widely categorized as one of the safest medical or alternative medical procedures in the world. If performed by a professional, then there are no dangers involved. But at the hands of an amateur, the following risks may occur:-

  • Fracture of cervical spine
  • Spinal disc herniation
  • Cauda Equina Syndrome
  • Strokes