When you hear chiropractic, it may be that the first thing you think of is back and neck pain. Sure, that's reasonable, because if we're honest we'll admit that chiropractic is the best way to relieve back and neck pain. However, it might surprise you to know that the very first chiropractic adjustment had nothing to do with either and everything to do with a body functioning properly. There is so much more to chiropractic than most people know.
The word chiropractic comes from two Greek words: Cheir, which translates to "hand," and praktos, which translates to "done." So, chiropractic basically means "done by hand". This was the name chosen by Daniel David Palmer, better known as DD Palmer.
DD Palmer was always interested in science, being well read in the history of manipulation for health, as it had been around for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. Yet, he realized that there had never been a philosophical or scientific foundation to explain the benefits that were found. It was through this research that he began to develop what would later become known as the chiropractic profession.
DD Palmers' initial adjustment had nothing to do with neck or back pain and everything to do with hearing. The first ever chiropractic patient was a janitor who had been deaf for 17 years.
In 1895, Palmer spoke to Harvey Lillard, a janitor in the building where Palmer rented his offices. He told Lillard that his hearing had nothing to do with his ears and everything to do with his spine. Lillard had tried and given up on every conventional treatment at the time and chose to consider what Palmer was telling him. It helped that Lillard remembered he had in fact experienced a back injury at the time he went deaf.
Palmer examined the area and gave an adjustment where he felt a vertebra was out of place. In an interview, Lillard said, "Dr. Palmer treated me on the spine; in two treatments I could hear quite well. That was eight months ago. My hearing remains good."
Our spine protects our spinal cord, which is the message highway from our brain to all of our other
muscles, tissues, organs and glands via the nerves that exit between each vertebra. Commonly known as the "central nervous system", it's the master controller of all of your body's systems. If just one vertebra is even slightly out of alignment, it can cause nerve interference. This nerve interference is the result of a subluxated vertebra or vertebral subluxation.
In its simplest terms, vertebral subluxation is the result of a vertebra becoming misaligned or fixed out of position. Since the nerves travel between the
"The Doctor of Chiropractic respects the body's inborn intelligence and works with it, not against it."
vertebrae, this can result in nerve interference. This is similar to pinching a straw and less liquid being able to get through. Similarly, nerve interference can cause the messages from the brain to the muscles, tissues, organs and glands to be inhibited.
If the messages from the brain are not getting through it can manifest in symptoms completely unrelated to back and neck pain. Every system of the body is controlled by the central nervous system: immune system, digestion and elimination, respiratory system, etc. The brain's signals being received without interference can ensure that the body is functioning at its best.
The concept of Chiropractic itself is based on an understanding that the body was created to selfmaintain. Our bodies understand what it means to be functioning properly and will compensate when something isn't right. This ability of the body to maintain and heal itself is called innate intelligence which is defined as the characteristic of living things to regulate and orchestrate bodily functions, adapt to its environment and self-heal; mediated by the nervous system.
The Doctor of Chiropractic respects this inborn intelligence and works with it, not against it. Rather than look for a procedure or surgery, the chiropractor will find what has gone wrong within the body to interfere with its function.
In many cases, pain or discomfort will bring a family member to the Doctor of Chiropractic. The symptom begins the journey. Of course, your Family Wellness Chiropractor will gladly offer you the relief that you're seeking and will engage you in relief care. After some regular adjustments you will undoubtedly begin to experience a reprieve from the pain that brought you to their office. However, this is just the beginning.
Your Family Wellness Chiropractor will, by now, have shared with you the benefits of corrective care. Typically, pain is just a symptom of a bigger problem and without fixing the existing subluxations you may be in pain again within just a few weeks or months of discontinuing care. Corrective care is the next stage that works to correct misaligned vertebra and return your body to proper function.
Since your body wants to compensate when something is out of place, from the time of the initial strain or injury your body has grown comfortable with the compensated placement. It will take time for your Family Wellness Chiropractor to correct for that compensation and remove the subluxation.
The final stage of this wellness journey is wellness care. Similar to "retainers" from the orthodontist, it's understood that our everyday actions can undo corrections. Wellness care is the maintenance of the spine: routine check-ups to make sure that your spine remains un-subluxated and that any new strains or injuries haven't caused new nerve interference.
Almost from the beginning, parents have recognized the benefits of chiropractic care for their children. Since the majority of the symptoms that bring a patient to the chiropractor can be associated with a childhood strain or trauma, progressive parents are having their children screened by a Family Wellness Chiropractor. Postural screenings or other types of examinations can quickly reveal if a child needs further evaluation.
Recent studies have revealed that chiropractic care is safe and effective for children and has shown to provide improvements in mood, sleep and immune function. Parents often report back that their children enjoy benefits unrelated to what led them to originally bring them in for care.
Your Family Wellness Chiropractor has been trained to care for the entire family, including the expectant mom. Pregnancy can cause changes to the musculoskeletal system and the Doctor of Chiropractic is trained to detect and correct the changes that may result in low back pain or other discomfort. Additionally, pre-conception education and post-natal care are an important part of your Family Wellness Chiropractors practice.
Over 100 years later, Doctors of Chiropractic continue the important work introduced by Dr. Palmer in 1895, helping not just with neck or back pain but with all symptoms of vertebral subluxation. Einstein once said, "The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest the patient in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease." Chiropractors are the doctors of the future.