Chiropractic medicine is a health care profession whose purpose is to diagnose and treat mechanical disorders of the spine and musculoskeletal system with the intention of affecting the nervous system and improving health.
It is based on the premise that a spinal joint dysfunction can interfere with the nervous system and result in many different conditions of diminished health.
Founded in 1895 by D. D. Palmer, treatments very depending on the patient's condition and the type of approach taken by the particular practitioner.
Although many other interventions may be used, spinal adjustments are the most common approach taken with most practitioners advertising themselves as primary care doctors and considering themselves as part of "alternative medicine".
Today there are four main chiropractic medicine practice styles and schools of thoughts: "traditional straights", "objective straights", "mixers", and "reform".
Differences are based on the philosophy for adjusting, claims made about the effects of those adjustments, and the various additional treatments provided along with the adjustment.
Chiropractic philosophy involves what has been described as a "contextual, naturopathic approach" to health care.
The "traditional medical" model considers disease as generally the result of some external influence, such as a toxin, a parasite, an allergen, or an infectious agent with the solution being to counter the perceived environmental factor with drug therapy.
By contrast, the naturopathic approach considers that lowered "host resistance" is necessary for disease to occur, so the appropriate solution is to direct treatment to strengthen the host, regardless of the environment.
In contemporary chiropractic clinical practice, one can find elements of both naturopathic and conventional medicine philosophies among all types of providers.
The degree to which a practitioner emphasizes different tenets of these philosophies is one factor that determines the manner in which they practice.
A Chiropractic medicine approach to healthcare stresses the importance of prevention along with the following perspectives:
Chiropractors often use other forms of complementary alternative medicines as part of a
holistic treatment approach.
The World Health Organization states that when "employed skillfully and appropriately, chiropractic medicine is safe and effective for the prevention and management of a number of health problems. And because chiropractors emphasize the importance of healthy lifestyles and do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery, chiropractic care is appealing to many health-conscious individuals.
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