Chiropractic care has become immensely popular within the past two decades, and is now the most sought-out form of alternative medical treatment (Annals of Internal Medicine, 2002). Yet some still say that chiropractors do not practice real medicine, sine they are not real doctors.
What is a Doctor?
If a doctor is a person with an MD who can prescribe medicine, then chiropractors are not doctors. However, if the term is used more loosely to define a person who has studied a health field in detail and trained to heal bodies, then they are doctors. What we call them is not so important, however. The question is whether or not chiropractors can be considered legitimate healers of bodies.
Due to a lack of sufficient medical proof that chiropractic treatment was based on sound scientific theory, the American Medical Association (AMA) did not recognize chiropractic care as a legitimate form of medicine until 1987. From 1963 to 1974, the AMA developed a Committee on Quackery whose members worked to defame and destroy the chiropractic profession.
Chiropractors clock in slightly more classroom study time to receive their license to practice, called a Doctorate of Chiropractic. Their studies focus on anatomy, spinal composition and diagnosis. Here is some more information from PowerHealthTalk.com regarding the number of hours a “Real Doctor” and a Chiropractor spend in the classroom for their profession.
Medical Doctors and Doctors of Chiropractic
Many doctors not only approve of the chiropractic profession but provide it with business as well. Since spinal surgery is so risky, many doctors prefer to refer patients with back pain to a chiropractor for alternative treatment. On the other hand, good chiropractors refer their patients to doctors when they are not able to properly diagnose or fix a back problem. These professionals now have a mutually beneficial relationship.
While many doctors can merely provide medication to relieve back pain, chiropractors are capable of eliminating the cause of the pain itself. By aligning the spine, chiropractors can remove pressure from nerves in the back that cause tremendous pain when impinged.
While many medications often provide swift pain relief, chiropractic care generally takes more time. In order to have long-term effects, chiropractic adjustments must be combined with attention to the condition of muscles that support the spine. If some of these muscles are strained, lax or otherwise not serving their purpose, they can pull the spine out of alignment again. Long-term relief means treatment and behavioral changes. This is why I always recommend having a TENS unit in your arsenal against back pain
If surgery is necessary to correct nerve damage or an un-adjustable subluxation, you may want to consider seeking chiropractic care first. A study discussing Scatica Leg Pain Lumbar Disc Herniation Surgery VS Chiropractic Care, compared two groups of patients: one that received chiropractic care first, then surgery if needed, and another that took the surgical route first. 40% of the first group required surgical treatment after chiropractic treatment; of the 40%, all were treated successfully. Although 85% of the second group did not require chiropractic treatment after surgery, the remaining 15% did not benefit significantly from post-surgery chiropractic care. From this data, it was concluded that chiropractic care is a good precursor to surgery.
When chiropractic care fails, it is easy to blame the practitioner. Sometimes it is actually the fault of the recipient who did not attempt to retrain his or her body movements to encourage lasting benefits. Most chiropractors are trained to prescribe exercise regimens and specific behavioral changes to their clients. If they fail to do so, or to mention the need for the client to make changes, then the fault may be shared.
If you are a practicing masseuse, doctor, or physical therapist, consider adding chiropractic care to your professional repertoire. It goes hand-in-hand with any profession that seeks to reduce pain and heal injuries.