Demystifying Chiropractic Medicine

One of the most common questions we get whenever we are out in the field is “What is Chiropractic?” Some pronounce it as ˈkī-rə-ˌprak-tik’   while others pronounce it as CHī-rə-ˌprak-tik. While the profession is growing in the country, it is still remains a mystery and prone to all sorts of theories and myths.

How was Chiropractic Discovered?

In a now famous story, In 1895 Daniel David Palmer cured a janitor of his deafness after noticing a lump in his neck and subsequently adjusting the alignment of his vertebrae until the lump disappeared along with the man’s hearing problems. However the man had been deaf for 17 years.

The countless hours he had spent studying anatomy payed off when he realized that most illnesses could be traced back to alignment issues in the spinal column and elsewhere in the body, which would inevitably have to affect the efficient flow of nerve signals. 

What Is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic (kī-rə-ˌprak-tik)  is therefore a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health.

The musculoskeletal system is made up of:

  1. The body’s bones (the skeleton)
  2. Muscles
  3. Cartilage
  4. Tendons
  5. Ligaments
  6. Joints
  7. Other connective tissues

The nervous system is made up of:

  1. Brain 
  2. Spinal cord
  3. Network of nerves

A Chiropractor is also an expert in the care of:

  • Bones
  • Nerves
  • Muscles
  • Connective tissues

Which make up almost 60% of your body.

Chiropractic is a non-invasive profession that relies on the body’s natural ability to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery, while acknowledging there are situations where this may be ultimately necessary.

The core of Chiropractic Medicine.

The nervous system is however a highway of communication within us that controls virtually every aspect of our lives. Like a highway congested with traffic, the daily grind of our lives causes the nervous system to get backed up, degrading our overall health.
Chiropractic also works to do away with that traffic helping you maintain a properly functioning nervous system

Core Chiropractic Principles

  • The body is a self-regulating and self-healing organism
  • The nervous system is the master system that regulates and controls all organs and tissues
  • A human spine is made of twenty-four bones called vertebrae
  • When the vertebrae become misaligned they put pressure on the nerve. This is called subluxation.
  • Misaligned vertebrae may affect the nervous system ability to regulate function
  • The central focus of the Doctor of Chiropractic is to optimize the patient’s health by:
    • Correcting
    • Managing
    • Minimizing vertebral subluxation
  • The most common therapeutic procedure performed by doctors of chiropractic is known as “spinal manipulation,” also called “chiropractic adjustment.”  
  • A Chiropractor aligns the vertebrae through gentle adjustments to the spine, relieving the pressure on the nerve and also allowing 100% of the nerve energy to reach the organs and tissues it serves
  • When the spine is aligned, the body receives the energy needed to heal itself naturally (self-healing).

How long will it take to heal?

Many times a subluxation has existed for a period of time before the person starts experiencing symptoms. However the muscles of the spine have adapted to the incorrect position of the vertebrae. For that reason, it may take a series of adjustments before the muscles become accustomed to holding the vertebrae in the proper position. The muscles have to be retrained. It is almost like playing tug-of-war with your body for a while.

Many patients will not seek chiropractic care until the symptom appears. By that time, the vertebrae have been misaligned for some time. That is why periodic spinal checkups are so important; PREVENTION IS ALSO THE KEY TO MAINTAINING HEALTH.

Effects of misalignments

After a subluxation has existed for a period of time, symptoms will occur. The person may also experience pain, numbness or tingling, headaches etc. However in other cases the symptoms may go unnoticed except the person gets more colds, tires more quickly or starts having problems with an internal organ. REMEMBER, the energy which travels down the spinal cord and through the nerves also serves every area of the body. Therefore, any area of the body can be affected by a subluxation/misalignment.

Reasons to see your Doctor of Chiropractic

  • Backaches
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Your shoes wear out unevenly; this could be a sign of a tilted pelvis
  • Low resistance to diseases e.g Common cold
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Engagement in high impact sports activities
  • You have had a motor vehicle accident
  • Have had a fall
  • You have had surgery
  • Have been diagnosed with arthritis

However this practice is very common in the United States of America where the most recent study emonstrated decreases of;
60.2% in hospital admissions,
59.0% less hospital days spent,
62.0% less in outpatient surgeries and procedures,
 83% less pharmaceutical costs.

These were patients who were seen by chiropractors rather than conventional medical practitioners. (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2007 (May);   30 (4):   263–269)


By Nellie Nthiga,
C & P Health Centre

Demystifying Chiropractic Medicine

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