The art, science and philosophy of Chiropractic began in the USA in 1895. Various forms of manipulation had been in use for hundreds of years, but Chiropractic brought these manipulations together and gave them structure. The word itself is derived from two greek words – cheir (hand) and praktos (done) – so Chiropractic can be described as Done by Hand.
Initially Chiropractors worked almost exclusively on the spine. However, over the years the discipline has developed and expanded to include the entire neuromusculoskeletal system. The relationship between the skeletal and nervous systems is a delicate one, as nerves pass through most moving joints.
The nervous system is a complex web that carries messages to and from the brain and other parts of the body via the spinal cord – so proper alignment of the spine is vital to regular transmission of nerve impulses, and therefore smooth and pain free movement of the body.
Some people suggest that Chiropractic treatment – particularly in the area of the neck – can cause a stroke. However, a 2009 study found there was no connection between Chiropractic treatment and stokes. In fact, a visit to any health care practitioner was seen as associated with stroke, but this appears to be related to seeking treatment of the early indicators of an imminent stroke – such as headache or neck pain.
Modern Chiropractic has also expanded to include a wide range of modalities and complementary techniques including dry needling, soft tissue manipulation, taping exercise prescription, shockwave therapy and many more, which enable Chiropractors to ensure better outcomes for their patients. Every chiropractor has his or her own technique and manner of treatment, and it is important for patients to understand what techniques will be used in their treatment and how it will benefit them.
So, although Chiropractic started out as purely ‘done by hand’ the discipline has grown to encompass a wide range of treatments aimed at helping patients achieve an active, pain free life!
Cassidy JD, Boyle E, Côté P, et al. Risk of vertebrobasilar stroke and chiropractic care: results of a population-based case-control and case-crossover study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 2009;32(2 Suppl):S201–S208. (Republished from Spine. 2008;33(4 Suppl):S176–S183.)