Chiropractic care is a branch of health care which concentrates on the association between structures of the body and their function. Chiropractic therapy activates the body’s self-healing process with the goal of avoiding the need for surgery or medication.
Chiropractic practitioners, referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians, practice spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustment and other alternative treatments. Chiropractic adjustment involves the passive movement of a joint beyond its normal range of motion, to relieve pain and restore normal functionality. Normally a popping or cracking sound is heard during manipulation of the joint.
The basic concepts involved in the chiropractic care are as follows:
- The body has an efficient self-healing mechanism
- The structure of the body and its normal functioning are inter-related
- Chiropractic therapy stimulates self-healing mechanism by creating a balance between the body’s structure and function
Chiropractic care is commonly used to treat musculoskeletal conditions involving the muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissues such as cartilage, ligaments and tendons. The common conditions treated by chiropractic include:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Sports injuries
- Repetitive strain
Risks and complications
Chiropractic manipulation or adjustment is a safe technique when performed by a well trained and experienced chiropractor. A few people may experience some adverse effects such as headache, fatigue and persistent pain from a previously treated injury. Some of the possible complications associated with chiropractic therapy include:
- Herniated disc
- Stroke secondary to vertebral artery dissection in cervical manipulation cases
- Compression of the spinal nerves in the lumbar region, also known as cauda equina syndrome, causing pain, weakness, loss of sensation in the legs, and bowel or bladder dysfunction.
Chiropractic therapy may be coupled with a few other treatment modalities such as heat or ice application, massage, stretching, exercise, electrical stimulation, rest, dietary supplements and practicing a healthy lifestyle.