What is it?

Chiropractic - from the Greek Chiropraktikos meaning "effective treatment by hand".

Chiropractic medicine was originally practiced in the late 19th Century by Daniel Palmer, a schoolteacher turned healer. Palmer's interest in healing lay in the cause of illness and he devoted much time to studying other cultures and races to see how they approached the problem. He was fascinated to learn that the ancient Egyptians had used spinal manipulation on displaced vertebrae to give relief from a wide variety of ailments. Palmer became increasingly interested in this, and began to develop his own methods of manipulation. After a number of successful treatments, he set up the first training institute to promote and further develop chiropractic medicine

What to expect...

Chiropractors' aim is to maintain the spine and nervous system in good health through neuromusculoskeletal manipulation. The same methods of consultation - case history, physical examination, labatory analysis and often x-rays are uniform throughout the industry.

A client will be asked to strip down to their underwear and posture will be studied whilst standing, sitting and lying down. Reflexes will be tested, and muscles palpated for signs of tension and spasm. Legs may also be measured to ascertain that they are of equal length. It is only after a thorough examination, that a chiropractor will decide if a problem is suitable for treatment. The aim of such treatment is to restore a full range of movement to the joints of the spine, relax and lengthen muscles, tendons and ligaments and relieve pain. Manipulation may be carried out by stretching muscles and short, controlled thrusts against a joint, also included in a treatment may be soft tissue techniques such as massage, heat, ice and kneading.

A treatment may last between 10-30 minutes, and generally a course will be prescribed to ensure maximum benefits are obtained. Chiropractors recommend the method for a variety of conditions ranging from chronic back trouble to migraine, ADD in children and many gynecological conditions. It does also have contraindications for a number of complaints such as osteoporosis, cancer and serious circulatory problems, so it is important to ensure that the practitioner is fully qualified and registered with a suitable governing body.

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