The Latest Chiropractic Debate

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While chiropractic treatment of the spine may have been considered unproven at one point in time, that opinion has been dispelled more recently as nearly 9 percent of Americans now seek chiropractic care each year, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

While chiropractic treatment has gained acceptance in the mainstream as a valid form of health care, there is now a growing debate among chiropractors, specifically as a result of those who claim that chiropractic offers holistic treatment for much more than back pain and other symptoms associated with the spine.

Spinal Adjustment

Since its inception, chiropractic has held as a central tenant that the anatomical relationship between the spine and nervous system is vital to a person’s health.

Traditionally, chiropractic care has been used to treat musculoskeletal conditions, specifically via non-surgical and drug-free means. Chiropractors have based their practice on the idea of manipulating the spine through a series of short-lever, arm thrusts with the goal of reducing subluxation (the altered position of the vertebra and subsequent loss of function as a result of the vertebra being mispositioned in comparison to the other vertebrae) and providing relief for:

  • Upper and lower back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Sciatica
  • Muscle strains
  • Arthritic pain
  • Other conditions of the spine.

The acceptance of chiropractic manipulation has naturally coincided with strong evidence to its effectiveness in improving function and reducing symptoms of acute and chronic back pain.

With its evolution, chiropractic treatment has expanded and incorporated the use of massage, exercise programs and physical modalities like heat/ice therapy, electrical stimulation, ultrasound and X-ray to help diagnose and treat back pain.

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A Holistic Approach to Chiropractic Care

More recently, some chiropractors have provided chiropractic care for not only back pain but acid reflux, digestive disorders, ear infections, asthma, allegories, colic and much more.

These chiropractors promote chiropractic treatment as holistic, using words like “hygiene” and “wellness,” noting how the spine is directly related to all conditions, and using the concept of “subluxation” as a basis of their arguments.

Such chiropractors say that they don’t want to pigeonhole chiropractic in terms of its treatment abilities but rather aim to provide patients with a more well-rounded understanding of its many applications.

Other chiropractors disagree, saying that there is not any evidence at this point to suggest that chiropractic care is an effective treatment for symptoms beyond back pain and opining that it should thus be primarily used for treatment of spinal conditions.

So just as chiropractic has become more integrated with other health care practices, the battle is not over as it continually seeks to define itself, this time as a holistic approach.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Article written by: Staff Writer