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Chiropractic medicine is commonly defined as a system of diagnosis and treatment that is based upon the concept that the nervous system coordinates all of the body's functions and argues that disease results from a lack of normal nerve function.employs manipulation and specific adjustment of body structures such as the spinal column so that pressure on nerves coming from the spinal cord due to displacement (subluxation) of a vertebral body may, it is believed, cause problems not only in the back but also in other body parts, such as in the leg. Consequently, chiropractors work to manipulate the spine with their hands to realign the vertebrae and relieve the pressure on the nerves. Chiropractic treatment is proven to be effective for muscle spasms of the back and neck, tension headaches, and some sorts of leg pain.

Both the Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) and the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) advocate chiropractic medicine in conjunction with non-chiropractic medical treatments such as acupuncture and other forms of complimentary care. The CCA mandate for members is to “practice a drug-free, manual approach to health care that includes patient assessment, diagnosis and treatment. In particular, chiropractors assess patients for disorders related to the spine, pelvis, extremity joints, and their effect on the nervous system. As a result of taking a physical assessment and patient history, chiropractors are able to provide a differential diagnosis for the patient’s presenting condition(s) and develop a comprehensive treatment/management plan. Chiropractors are also trained to recommend therapeutic exercise, to utilize other non-invasive therapies, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counselling.

Chiropractic adjustment, also known as spinal manipulative therapy, is the most common form of treatment used by chiropractors in clinical practice. Adjustment is a carefully controlled procedure delivered by a skilled, highly trained practitioner to dysfunctional spinal or extremity joints. The primary goal of spinal manipulative therapy is to “decrease pain, improve areas of reduced movement in the joints and supporting tissues, particularly of the spine and decrease muscle tightness or spasm through the restoration of normal mechanics and improved functioning of the spine, extremities and supporting soft tissue structures (CCA)”.

Adjustment rarely causes discomfort. However, as it is a manually applied therapy, patients may sometimes experience mild soreness or aching following treatment for anywhere from 12 to 48 hours.

Chiropractors adapt procedures to meet the specific needs of each patient, such as children, pregnant women and older patients. Patients typically note positive changes in their symptoms immediately following treatment. The vast majority of patients who seek chiropractic health care do so for complaints of the musculoskeletal system, most often for conditions affecting the spine such as low back pain, neck pain and headaches and research studies have demonstrated that chiropractic treatment is effective for these conditions.

Legislative bodies across Canada, as well as researchers and governments around the world have conducted extensive reviews of the chiropractic profession and have consistently endorsed chiropractic services

Government and Research Studies on Chiropractic Medicine

In recent years, numerous independent researchers and various government agencies have conducted studies which focus on the efficacy, appropriateness and cost-effectiveness of chiropractic treatment. Several of these important studies are listed below.

Chiropractic News in Canada

Planet Chiropractic News and News Archives

(This site posts both chiropractic and non-chiropractic medical news.)

Chiropractic news from the ACA

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