The vast majority of people in the United States have heard about the Chiropractic profession, as it has been in existence for over one hundred years. However, many people still do not know exactly what Chiropractic is, or what a chiropractor does. Chiropractic is a form of health care that helps the body restore nervous system function, biomechanical structure, postural correction, by correcting misalignment of the spinal column.
The essential aspect of the Chiropractic professional is correcting spinal misalignment, also known as the vertebral subluxation complex or subluxations. Chiropractors correct these subluxations to restore nerve communication between the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves in order to help relieve symptoms and eliminate the root cause of dysfunction. The most important concept that Chiropractic brings to the table is the natural restoration of health from within the body’s own mechanisms through the Chiropractic adjustment. These adjustments have been proven to give therapeutic relief for people who are suffering from musculo-skeletal and nervous system problems.
The term Chiropractic is derived from two separate Greek words. The words cheir and praxis mean delivered by hand, or an action done by hand. So a Doctor of Chiropractic is one who helps restore nervous system function by delivering an adjustment with his or her hand. Understanding this concept is vital in knowing the role of a Chiropractor, as many do their utmost to prevent surgery and other invasive medical practices, by allowing the body to take over the healing process when applicable.
Dr. D.D. Palmer is the founder of Chiropractic, and was the first to put it into practice when he adjusted Harvey Lillard at the Ryan Building in Davenport, IA in 1895. The profession itself is practiced throughout the world, and is licensed in all 50 states in the U.S., and all provinces in Canada.
The medical establishment has put Chiropractic into the realm of complimentary alternative medicine, and while true it is an alternative to traditional western medicine, each Chiropractor is a primary care provider. The Chiropractic profession is heavily regulated in the United States and Canada, but the terminology of what a Chiropractor is called can vary in each area. In South Dakota the typical terms are Doctor of Chiropractic or Chiropractor, but some states insist on the name Chiropractic Physician.
The requirements to become a licensed Chiropractor are stringent, consisting of at least three years of pre-professional study in college prior to a four year education at an accredited college of Chiropractic. As of today, the United States has 17 accredited chiropractic colleges in the United States. The accreditation of chiropractic schools is given by the Council on Chiropractic Education(CCE) that is certified by the U.S. Department of Education.
Following graduation, a Chiropractor must pass the necessary National and State board examinations which are required in both the U.S. and Canada. Once licensed, continuing education credits are required each year in order to make sure the Doctor of Chiropractic is keeping up with the latest in technique, education, and philosophy.
There are approximately 70,000 chiropractors practicing in the United States and Canada. Due to the ever changing climate of health insurance, HMO’s, PPO’s, and socialized medicine, it is best to check if Chiropractic care is covered by your plan. The vast majority do take insurance and are covered, but it is always best to know in advance.
One of the best things about Chiropractic is the ability to find a Chiropractor who uses a certain technique that is right for that person. Since each Chiropractor learns a variety of ways to adjust a person, depending on their specific needs, the variety of practice styles can vary. However, this variety makes sure there is the right fit for everyone who seeks care.
Another great thing about Chiropractic are the continued scientific studies proving the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic adjustments on a persons health and nervous system. Staying on the cutting edge of science, it is a great time to be a Chiropractor.
Since graduation I have been fortunate enough to learn even more about the effects of Chiropractic care on the body via private practice at Westside Chiropractic in Rapid City.