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What Is Chiropractic?

OSWEGO, NY – October is recognized as National Chiropractic Month.

Spinal Column
Spinal Column

This past summer, I worked on two different days in the NY State Chiropractic Association’s booth at the NY State Fair.

The questions kept coming up, what is chiropractic?

Where did the idea originate?

What is it like to go to the chiropractor?

What did you have to do to become a chiropractor?

Who can a chiropractor help?

In light of this, I decided to give you a brief overview of chiropractics.

It all began in Davenport, Iowa, with a man named D.D. Palmer.

Founder’s Day was Sept. 18.

This founder’s day marked the 113th anniversary of the first adjustment.

D.D. Theorized that, in part, if a part of the body was sick it must not have a sufficient nerve supply.

This led to his concepts of subluxation and spinal misalignment.

He then developed adjusting techniques to correct the misalignments.

Eventually, D.D. founded the first chiropractic college, my alma mater, Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport.

Three very committed and dedicated generations of Palmers have continued in his footsteps.

I invite you to go to the Palmer College website or the American Chiropractic website, if you are interested in reading the rich history of chiropractic.

Chiropractics is a conservative form of health care.

It emphasizes the relationship between the musculoskeletal system (the spine and muscles) and the nervous system.

It is non- invasive and drug free.

Chiropractic is based on the principle that the human body is self-regulating and self healing.

The body is controlled by your nervous system which delivers and receives messages from the brain.

These messages are sent to every organ and tissue in the body.

When you have a vertebral subluxation, a misalignment, this irritates the nerves and surrounding tissue thus compromising the proper functioning of various systems that the nervous system regulates.

When the chiropractor adjusts your spine, this corrects the misalignments which improve how the body functions.

If subluxations are treated at onset of the problem, it will reduce the likelihood of further injury.

If left untreated the problem could lead to further injury and degenerative disorders.

Routines vary slightly from chiropractor to chiropractor, however there is a commonality.

I will illustrate my using my routine.

When entering my office you will be asked to fill out: a personal history, a health history, insurance information and  sign a HIPPA document.

We do everything we can to insure your privacy.

Once you enter the examining room, I will go over your health history with you, and ask you questions about your chief complaint and your health history.

I will then perform the examination.

This examination includes general tests such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and reflexes.

I then perform orthopedic and neurological tests to assess specific muscle tone and strength, range of motion of the affected anatomy.

We do posture analysis.

With those results at my disposal, I decide whether your condition will warrant special imaging such as: X-rays, MRI or other tests.

If X-rays are not recommended, I would do a report of finding, suggest a course of treatment and proceed with the first adjustment.

If X-rays are necessary, I would set you up with an appointment to go over the X-rays with you and determine if chiropractic care will help your problem.

If I determine that your problem necessitates a specialist, I will help you in getting the level of care you need.

A part of the chiropractic visit is patient education.

We discuss life changes that can be made to lessen the symptoms and, when appropriate, I give and demonstrate exercises the patient might do to strengthen the affected area.

I use two different types of adjustments,  manual and activator.

The method varies among chiropractors.

Both are high-velocity and low-force adjustments.

The manual is delivered using my hands, and the activator is a small tool.

We chiropractors “… must complete four to five years at an accredited chiropractic college. The complete curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience. Approximately 555 hours are devoted to learning about adjustive techniques and spinal analysis in colleges of chiropractic.”

The Council on Chiropractic Education requires that students have 90 hours of undergraduate courses with science as the focus.

Those intending to become doctors of chiropractic must also pass four stringent national board exams and all exams required by the state in which the individual wishes to practice.

The individual must also meet all individual state licensing requirements in order to become a doctor of chiropractic.

An individual studying to become a doctor of chiropractic receives an education in both the basic and clinical sciences and in related health subjects.

The intention of the basic chiropractic curriculum is to provide an in-depth understanding of the structure and function of the human body in health and disease.

The educational program includes training in the basic medical sciences, including anatomy with human dissection, physiology, and biochemistry.

Thorough training is also obtained in differential diagnosis, radiology and therapeutic techniques.

This means, a doctor of chiropractic can both diagnose and treat patients, which separates them from non-physician status providers, like physical therapists.

According to the Council on Chiropractic Education, “DCs are trained as primary care providers.” (American Chiropractic Association).

Chiropractic can be a benefit to all ages.

Chiropractors adjust patients ranging from babies to the elderly.

Babies are commonly adjusted.

The birth process is a very stressful event for the new born and the mother.

Pregnant women are adjusted, unless they have conditions which would countra-indicate chiropractic adjustment.

This relieves the pain in their back.

Children as they grow are very active; learning to walk, riding bikes etc., and will experience various traumas.

As they grow into adolescence, children are undergoing growth spurts, involved in athletics, undergo stresses such as carrying heavy school books etc.

Older patients dealing with chronic diseases such as arthritis can experience improvements in range of motion, decreased symptoms and pain, and increased stability from adjustments.

Chiropractics has a long history of providing conservative care for various conditions.

As the profession has grown, it has evolved as a natural form of health care choice for patients to care for their musculoskeletal problems.

The research continues to support the efficacy, appropriateness, cost-effectiveness and safety of chiropractic treatment.

Call today, if you feel chiropractic care can be of benefit to you.

Dr. McCaffrey practices at 184 W. Fourth St., Oswego. Call 342-3877 or visit www.mccaffreychiro.com