Chiropractic adjustments and spinal manipulation are popular terms used by chiropractors and osteopaths to describe their techniques for spinal manipulation or adjustments. Chiropractic is based on the principle that the body is controlled by the nervous system. The nervous system controls all organs and tissues of the body, including the skeletal and muscular systems. It is also responsible for the health and repair of bones. Chiropractic is related to medicine, but it is not the same as conventional medicine. Chiropractic treatment is non-invasive and uses no drugs, medicines or surgical procedures.
Chiropractic is based on the idea that spinal adjustments and other manipulations can be done without the use of needles, scalpel or invasive surgery. This is not a new idea, nor is it a mainstream one. Chiropractic has been around since the ancient civilizations. Ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Greece, China and India recognized the benefits of chiropractic adjustments and participated in the practice in order to promote healing and maintain healthy health.
A chiropractor will use her hands to manipulate the spine while measuring through an anchor in the spine using a set weight line (knot) and a small electric stimulus device. The process causes an instantaneous contraction that pushes the tissue forward, while it expands outward. An example of a chiropractic adjustment may include a sudden sharp thrust, which is commonly called a “quick thrust”.
Chiropractic adjustments may include mild to moderate side effects, although there are some severe side effects. Chiropractic professionals do not attempt to diagnose or treat any disease. They simply seek to alleviate pain by adjusting the body to a normal range of motion. Some of the more common side effects include low back pain, but there are other less common issues. These include neck or head pain, jaw pain, earaches, bad breath, diarrhea, menstrual pain, fatigue, insomnia, and even sex problems. Most of these side effects subside within 24 hours, although some may persist for a few days.
Low back pain and stiff neck are typically associated with chiropractic adjustments, but they can also result from an accidental injury or from repetitive stress placed on a joint. Joints may be injured by a physical accident, poor posture, or by lifting heavy items improperly. Tendonitis and osteoarthritis are examples of common ailments that can result in chiropractic adjustments. Chiropractic may also be used to treat temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), which involve the jaw joint, and is often an underlying cause of the disorder.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) has conducted research that indicates chiropractic adjustments may help to relieve the symptoms of menstrual cramps, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, and sleep apnea. However, the evidence is not conclusive that spinal adjustments to improve these conditions. In fact, several studies have been conducted that suggest that spinal adjustments may be harmful for some patients. These studies have been criticized by some mainstream healthcare practitioners as flawed and inconclusive.
Chiropractic care is considered very safe for most adults, and thousands seek chiropractic adjustment for their mild to moderate headaches. There are some adults who continue to experience headaches despite taking medications for chronic headaches, or following a course of treatment recommended by their physician. Chiropractic is not recommended for headaches due to an underlying medical condition, such as brain tumors or multiple sclerosis. In these cases, headache medicine is usually not sufficient. Chiropractic should be considered in cases where non-drug therapies fail to alleviate the headache pain, or when other treatments have failed.
The American Chiropractic Association does not currently have a formal chiropractic policy that is based on the principles of chiropractic therapy. The association does provide a brief description of the science of chiropractic adjustment, including its basic principles. Chiropractic is not a science; therefore, there is no scientific evidence that shows that chiropractic manipulation is effective in all cases. Chiropractic can be an extremely valuable service when it is used in conjunction with other medical therapies and conservative lifestyle treatments.