The central nervous system is composed of the brain and spinal cord. The spinal cord not only conducts signals and information between the brain and the body but controls the body’s reflexes. When you touch a hot pan, for instance, or trip over a rock, it is the spinal cord that pulls your hand away and keeps you from falling. Nerves conduct information about all kinds of things in your body, including pain, hunger, digestion, balance, and movement. When your body—especially your spine—is suffering from misalignment, you can feel the pain.
A chiropractor works to properly align your body (not just your spine) to keep it running at its best. Misalignments, especially in the spine, can not only create pain, but also adversely affect functioning, lead to greater problems in the body, and prevent the body’s own healing response. In fixing misalignments, a chiropractor can not only alleviate pain but also encourage the immune system and other natural physiological processes to function optimally.
Shouldn’t I Just See My Doctor?
A doctor is trained to use medicine (M.D.=medical doctor) to restore, improve and maintain health. Injury, infection, illness, pain, and other conditions may be treated with medicine prescribed (or recommended) by the doctor. Medications may be financially costly and have unwanted side effects and target only one specific symptom of a problem. Some conditions, pain, for example, may be only temporarily subdued by medicine.
Rather than address an isolated symptom, a chiropractor seeks to treat the entire person. The body is composed of numerous intricate systems all working together to keep a person running. Humans are born with the ability to fight disease and pathogens and are designed to function without pain (pain is the body’s way of signaling a problem). The work of the chiropractor is to manipulate with the body in such a way that its natural processes for healing and functioning are stimulated and able to work efficiently.
What Sort of Education Do Chiropractors Have?
Chiropractors are required to complete a minimum of 90 credit hours of undergraduate work before being accepted into a chiropractic college. Some colleges require a bachelor’s degree before beginning the four years of chiropractic training required to earn a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC). There are 18 US schools accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education and allowed to confer a DC on its graduates. Education includes training in biomedical sciences as well as supervised clinical experience. Many chiropractors attend additional years of school to take on a specialty. The numerous specialties include physiotherapy and rehabilitation, acupuncture, nutrition, diagnosis and management of internal disorders, sports, pediatrics. As with any other health profession, chiropractors must pass their board examinations in order to be licensed to practice.
Can a Chiropractor Help Me?
Chiropractors may be your best bet for most neuromuscular maladies. This includes aches or pains in the back or neck; headaches; aches, pains or discomfort related to pregnancy; joint pain; scoliosis, and even digestive issues.