Chiropractic is made from the combination of two old Greek words; "cheiro" –meaning THE HAND and "practikos" –meaning TO BE DONE. Therefore chiropractic means "to be done by the hand". This name was chosen by the founder of chiropractic, Dr Daniel David Palmer to describe this new healing art he discovered in 1895. The chiropractor's hands are skilled in assessment and treatment. Mechanial adjustment devices have no place in such an original delicate hands-on approach.
The World Federation of Chiropractic describes Chiropractic and Chiropractors as: A health profession since 1895 concerned with the diagnosis, management and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system and central nervous system and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health.The major site of these mechanical disorders is called the Subluxation Complex where the nerves exit the spinal column and its biomechanical influences on proprioceptive input and cord-based pain modulation are linked with spinal joint fixation. (see The Subluxation Reality column below)
Your chiropractor will examine the spinal column with X-ray pictures, with instrumentation and physically for these misalignments (designated "subluxations"). Once found, he’ll treat the subluxations by giving an adjustment using a low-force technique on his special state-of-the-art table. This will re-establish the correct alignment and thereby starting a course of care that will retrain the muscles and ligaments to help restore proper nerve supply, function and harmony to the body and brain. Research in Neurophysiology now proves that adjustments have a positive influence on brain function. Re-organising abnormal neurological patterns to allow the inherent recuperative powers of the body to work at their peak.
Chiropractic colleges require a prospective student to have two years of pre-professional training prior to starting a doctor of chiropractic course. This would make a total study period of five and half to six years (depending on the country) for a course of study that covers 4,500 hours, which matches the exact same subjects as a medical doctor but with special emphasis placed on the study of the spinal column and nervous system. There is also a two year Intern Program in the clinic setting where the student chiropractor hones his technique skills under supervision. When these students graduate their diploma will rightly state that he/she has earned a "Doctor of Chiropractic " degree.
All three professions certainly focus on the improvement of your health, There is a lot of variation in how all three practice. As a general rule, chiropractors work to correct and restore the body's ability to maintain itself through a healthy nervous system. They do this by manipulating the spinal vertebrae to to remove nervous system interference. Chiropractic treatment usually involves manipulation of the spine, corrective exercise and often corrective nutrition.
The physiotherapists I work with focus more on the local area of injury. For instance, stabilizing the injury with tape, reducing with ice and ultrasound, and assisting rehabilitation with exercise and soft tissue therapies.
Although there are many similarities between osteopathy and chiropractic, osteopaths tend to work a little differently. For instance, they don't usually use X-ray to assess the spine and their emphasis is typically more on muscle and joints than on the nervous system. Osteopaths in my experience include a lot of soft tissue therapy, such as massage in their treatments, as well a more generalized mobilizing of the spine.
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