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Chiropractic medicine

[Subterm of Manipulative therapies]


Chiropractic medicine refers to a system of health care which is based on the belief that the nervous system is the most important determinant of health and that most diseases are caused by spinal subluxations which respond to spinal manipulation. Chiropractic medicine was founded in 1895 by D.D.Palmer (1845-1913). The traditional concept reasoned that normal muscular tone produces pressure on nerves.  Disease, Palmer argued, is caused by malalignment or subluxation of the vertebral joints causing excessive or deficient pressure on the spinal nerves. Adjusting vertebrae was deemed to be the only correct way of restoring health.


Conditions frequently treated in chiropractic medicine are: musculoskeletal (specifically spinal pain syndromes); asthma, cardiovascular problems, migraine, headache, and irritable bowel syndrome. In a typical treatment session, a chiropractor takes the patient’s medical history and conducts a thorough physical examination. In most cases, this is supplemented by spinal X-rays and possibly other tests.


Chiropractic treatments invariably involve hands-on techniques, usually with the patient sitting or prone. The most important therapeutic method is spinal manipulation. It entails high-velocity, low-amplitude manual thrusts to spinal joints to extend them slightly beyond their normal passive range of motion. Spinal mobilization, by contrast, is the application of manual force to such joints without thrust and within the normal passive range of motion.