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Chiropractic 101: Understanding the Chiropractor’s Holistic Healthcare Practice

What is chiropractic and how does it work?

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Chiropractic is a holistic healthcare practice that is focused on improving the body’s natural ability to heal itself. It is based on the principle that the body has an innate intelligence that allows it to regulate and heal itself, and that this intelligence is primarily controlled by the nervous system.

Chiropractors use a variety of techniques, but the most common is the spinal adjustment, which is a specific, non-invasive technique that involves applying a precise force to the vertebrae of the spine to correct misalignments, also known as subluxations, and restore optimal nerve flow.

Define what is Chiropractor?

The word “chiropractor” comes from the Greek words “cheir” meaning hand and “praktos” meaning done, which translates to “done by hand.” Chiropractors use a hands-on approach to treat their patients, which involves adjusting or manipulating the spine, joints, and other affected areas of the body.

A Doctor of Chiropractic (Chiropractor) is a healthcare professional who focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of musculoskeletal disorders, particularly those located in the spine.

Chiropractors believe that proper alignment of the musculoskeletal system can promote the body’s natural healing process and restore its ability to function optimally.

What evidence-based Research says about Chiropractic?

Dr Heidi Haavik is a renowned chiropractor and a leading researcher in the field of chiropractic neurophysiology. She is the founder of Haavik Research, a New Zealand-based research institute that investigates the effects of chiropractic on the human brain and nervous system.

Her work has garnered international recognition and has been published in several peer-reviewed journals. Heidi Haavik’s research has shed new light on the neurological mechanisms underlying chiropractic adjustments and has provided evidence for the beneficial effects of chiropractic therapy on brain function and overall health.

Her groundbreaking discoveries have significantly contributed to the advancement of chiropractic science and have paved the way for new avenues of research in the field. Here are some of her research-based findings:


Chiropractic manipulations can improve motor function and brain processing.

Haavik’s research has shown that spinal manipulation can lead to increased brain activity and improved sensory integration, which can ultimately result in better motor function. (Reference: Haavik et al. 2008)

Chiropractic manipulations can enhance muscle strength.

Haavik’s studies have demonstrated that adjustments can result in increased muscle strength, indicating that chiropractic may be beneficial for individuals looking to improve their physical performance. (Reference: Haavik-Taylor et al. 2010)

Chiropractic can lead to improved reaction times.

Haavik’s research has shown that chiropractic adjustments can lead to faster reaction times, suggesting that chiropractic may be helpful for individuals seeking to improve their athletic or cognitive performance. (Reference: Haavik et al. 2010)

Chiropractic manipulations may help with relieve of pain.

Haavik’s studies have shown that spinal manipulation can lead to a reduction in pain, particularly in the neck and back. (Reference: Haavik-Taylor and Murphy 2007)

Chiropractic manipulations can result in improved autonomic function.

Haavik’s research has demonstrated that chiropractic can lead to improved autonomic nervous system function, which can have a positive impact on overall health and well-being. (Reference: Haavik and Murphy 2011)

The summary of part of Heidi Haavik’s Research

Overall, Haavik’s research suggests that chiropractic therapy can have a range of positive effects on the body, including improvements in motor function, muscle strength, reaction times, pain relief, and autonomic function improving well-being and overall health.

What does a Chiropractor do?

Chiropractors use a variety of chiropractic adjustment techniques to treat their patients, including spinal adjustments, massage, stretching, and exercise therapy. They may also provide advice on nutrition, posture, and lifestyle changes that can help improve a patient’s overall health and well-being. Chiropractors often treat patients who have chronic pain, such as back pain, sciatica, neck & shoulder pain, and pain in the joints, as well as patients who have suffered from injuries or accidents and other type of musculoskeletal imbalances.

How can I find a great Chiropractor near me?

One of the best ways to find a great chiropractor near you is to ask for recommendations from friends, family, or your GP. You can also search online for chiropractors in your area using the ‘Chiropractor nearby’ type search. Take your time to read reviews from other patients to get an idea of their experience and reputation.

It’s important to find a chiropractor who is licensed and has experience treating the specific condition or injury you’re dealing with. Additionally, look for a chiropractor who makes you feel comfortable and is willing to answer any questions you may have about your treatment.

How do Chiropractors know where to adjust?

Chiropractors use a variety of diagnostic techniques to determine where to adjust a patient’s spine or joints. These techniques may include physical exams, nerve function tests, functional tests, movement of the joints, X-rays (if clinically required), Nerve function scans, EMG muscle scans, and other imaging tests.

Chiropractors also rely on their sense of touch and feel to identify areas of tension or misalignment in the body. Once a chiropractor has identified the problem area, they will use specific, highly targeted, controlled force to adjust the spine or joints back into proper alignment.


What do doctors think of Chiropractors?

A lot of doctors and GPs refer to Chiropractors and vice-versa. Personal and professional opinions will depend upon the individual doctor’s personal health wellness approach as well as his/her personal experience with chiropractic. Because doctors are highly trained in a wide range of topics, they usually have a good understanding about how chiropractic works hence why many refer their patients.


The philosophy and principles of chiropractic care

The philosophy and principles of chiropractic care are based on the belief that the body has an innate ability to heal itself, and that interference in the nervous system can disrupt this healing process -Symptoms Of Sciatica .

Chiropractors focus on correcting subluxations, which are misalignments in the spine that can interfere with the body’s natural healing processes -Symptoms Of Sciatica .

Chiropractors also believe in treating the whole person, rather than just the symptoms of a specific condition, and they promote a healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition, exercise, and stress management.

There are two main schools of philosophy: vitalist and mechanistic.


The vitalist school

Views the body as a self-healing organism, with innate intelligence that flows from the brain and nervous system to all parts of the body. In this approach, disease or dysfunction is viewed as a symptom of interference with the flow of this intelligence, which can be corrected through adjustments of the joints and spine to restore optimal function.


The mechanistic school

Focuses on the physical aspects of the body, viewing it as a machine that can be manipulated to correct structural abnormalities that lead to pain or dysfunction. This approach sees the Chiropractor as a technician who uses specific techniques and tools to correct musculoskeletal problems, rather than treating the body as a holistic system.

Both schools have their proponents and critics, and the approach a Chiropractor takes will depend on their training, experience, and personal philosophy. At Healing Hands Chiropractic, we embrace both principles and do not consider them mutually exclusive but rather two distinct aspects of the healing process.

A brief history of chiropractic: From its origins to modern day

Chiropractic was founded in 1895 by D.D. Palmer, who believed that many diseases and illnesses could be cured by spinal manipulation. Over the years, chiropractic has evolved into a mainstream healthcare practice, with over 70,000 licensed chiropractors practicing in the United States alone. Today, chiropractors are recognized as healthcare professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, with a focus on the spine and nervous system. They are also called Doctors of Chiropractic.

The Science Behind Chiropractic: How Spinal Adjustments Promote Healing

The biomechanics of spinal adjustments: What happens when you get adjusted?

When you receive spinal manipulation therapy, also knowns as an adjustment, the chiropractor applies a precise force to the vertebrae of the spine, which helps to realign the bones and restore proper joint mobility -Symptoms Of Sciatica . This can help to reduce pain, inflammation, and improve overall function of the nervous system. The biomechanics of a spinal adjustment can vary depending on the technique used, but the goal is always to correct any misalignments in the spine and restore proper nerve function.

The neurological benefits of chiropractic care

Chiropractic care can have several neurological benefits, including improved nerve function, reduced inflammation, and decreased pain. By correcting misalignments in the spine, chiropractic therapy can help to relieve pressure on the nerves, which can improve overall nervous system function. This can result in improved range of motion, reduced muscle tension, and improved coordination.

The link between spinal health and overall wellness


There is a strong link between spinal health and overall wellness, as the nervous system controls every function in the body. When the spine is misaligned, it can interfere with nerve function and disrupt the body’s natural healing processes -Symptoms Of Sciatica . By correcting subluxations and restoring optimal nerve function, chiropractic treatment can help to improve overall health and wellness.

Common Conditions Treated with Chiropractic Care

Back pain, neck pain, and headaches: How chiropractic can help

Back pain, neck pain, and headaches

Are some of the most common conditions treated by chiropractors. These conditions are often caused by spinal misalignments, which can put pressure on the nerves and cause pain and inflammation. Chiropractic treatment can help to reduce pain, inflammation, and muscle tension, and improve range of motion and overall function.

Understanding joint pain and arthritis:

Pain in the joints and arthritis are common conditions that affect millions of people worldwide. Pain in any of the spinal and other joints can occur due to many reasons, including age, wear and tear, injury, or an underlying medical condition. Arthritis, on the other hand, is a condition characterized by inflammation of one or more joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility -Symptoms Of Sciatica .

How chiropractic can help relieve pain in joints and arthritic symptoms:

A skilful adjustment from a Chiropractor can provide effective relief for painful joints and arthritic symptoms. Chiropractors use a variety of techniques to treat joints, including spinal adjustments, joint mobilization, and soft tissue therapies. These treatments aim to reduce inflammation, improve joint mobility, and alleviate pain.

The benefits of chiropractic manipulations for joint health:

Chiropractic spinal adjustments have been shown to be effective in improving joint health. Adjustments help realign the spine and other joints, reducing pressure and inflammation in the affected areas. This, in turn, can help improve joint mobility, reduce pain, and improve overall joint function.

Other chiropractic techniques for treating painful joints and arthritis:

In addition to spinal adjustments, chiropractors use other techniques to treat achy joints and arthritis. These may include massage therapy, electrotherapy, and hot/cold therapy. Chiropractors may also recommend exercises and stretches to improve joint mobility and reduce pain -Symptoms Of Sciatica .

Lifestyle modifications and exercises to complement chiropractic treatments for achy joints and arthritis relief:

Chiropractic therapy can be complemented by lifestyle modifications and exercises to help relieve pain in the joints and arthritic symptoms. These may include weight loss, low-impact exercises such as swimming, walking, Pilates, and dietary changes. Chiropractors may also recommend specific exercises and stretches to improve joint mobility and reduce pain.

Sports injuries and performance: Enhancing athletic ability with chiropractic therapy:

Athletes are prone to a variety of injuries, including muscle strains, sprains, and joint aches. Chiropractic therapy can help prevent these injuries and improve athletic performance.

The importance of spinal health for athletic performance:

The spine is an essential component of the musculoskeletal system, and its health is crucial for athletic performance. A healthy spine can improve balance, flexibility, and coordination, helping athletes perform at their best -Symptoms Of Sciatica .

How chiropractic treatment can improve athletic performance:

Chiropractic care can improve athletic performance by reducing pain and inflammation, improving joint mobility, and enhancing balance and coordination. Chiropractors may also provide nutritional and dietary recommendations to support athletic performance.

Chiropractic techniques for treating sports injuries:

Chiropractors use a variety of techniques to treat sports injuries, including joint mobilization, soft tissue therapy, and spinal adjustments. These treatments can help reduce pain, improve joint mobility, speed up recovery times, and promote healing -Symptoms Of Sciatica .

The role of chiropractic therapy in injury prevention for athletes:

Chiropractic therapy can play a significant role in preventing sports injuries. By maintaining proper spinal alignment and joint function, athletes can reduce their risk of injury and perform at their best.

A case study on how a professional athlete benefited from chiropractic manipulations

There are many examples of professional athletes who have benefited from chiropractic. For example, a study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine reported on a professional football player who experienced significant improvement in his back pain and range of motion after undergoing chiropractic spinal adjustments and other type of adjustments.

The player had been experiencing chronic lower back pain that had been affecting his performance on the field. After a thorough examination and diagnostic tests, a chiropractor identified misalignments in his spine and began a series of adjustments.

The player reported feeling immediate pain relief after each adjustment and continued to see improvement in his range of motion and overall function. As a result, he was able to return to playing at his peak performance level -Symptoms Of Sciatica .

Source: Gregory, A. (2010). Chiropractic management of a professional football player with recurrent low back pain. Journal of chiropractic medicine, 9(4), 200-204.

The benefits of incorporating chiropractic into an athlete’s training regimen:

Incorporating chiropractic into an athlete’s training regimen can provide numerous benefits, including improved athletic performance, reduced risk of injury, and faster recovery from injuries. Chiropractic can help athletes perform at their best and achieve their full potential.

The Different Techniques Used in Chiropractic

Chiropractic manipulations of the joints and spine are a common treatment used by chiropractors to alleviate pain, improve mobility, and promote overall wellness. There are several techniques that chiropractors may use to perform adjustments.

One of the most popular techniques is the diversified technique , which involves the use of quick and forceful thrusts to adjust the spine. Another technique is the Gonstead technique , which uses a specialized chair and benches to help the chiropractor adjust specific areas of the spine.

Other techniques include the Thompson technique , which uses a drop table to adjust the spine; the activator method , which uses a handheld instrument to deliver gentle adjustments; and the Cox flexion-distraction technique , which involves the use of a specialized table to gently stretch and decompress the spine -Symptoms Of Sciatica .

When you visit a chiropractor, they will evaluate your condition and determine which technique will be most effective for you. Some chiropractors may use a combination of techniques to achieve the best results. It is important to communicate with your chiropractor during your appointment to ensure that you are comfortable with the technique being used and that you fully understand the process. To learn about Chiropractic also read:

How to Prepare for Your First Chiropractic Appointment

If you are preparing for your first chiropractic appointment, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you are fully prepared. First, it is important to understand what to expect during your appointment. You will likely be asked to fill out a health questionnaire, and your chiropractor will perform a physical exam to evaluate your condition -Symptoms Of Sciatica .

It is also important to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that will allow your chiropractor to easily access and assess your spine. If you have any recent X-rays or other diagnostic imaging, bring those with you to your appointment.

Before your appointment, it may be helpful to do some research on the chiropractor you will be seeing. Look for reviews and testimonials from other patients and check the chiropractor’s qualifications and experience.

Finally, it is important to keep an open mind and communicate openly with your chiropractor. Let them know if you have any concerns or questions and be honest about any pain or discomfort you are experiencing. This will help your chiropractor develop a personalized treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs.

Choosing the Right Chiropractor for You

Choosing the right chiropractor is an important decision that can have a significant impact on your health and wellness. When searching for a chiropractor, it is important to consider several factors.

Qualifications and License

First, look for a chiropractor who is licensed and has the necessary qualifications and training to provide safe and effective treatment. You may also want to consider the chiropractor’s experience and reputation, as well as their approach to treatment.

Location and Availability

Another important factor to consider is the location and availability of the chiropractor. Look for a chiropractor who is conveniently located and has flexible scheduling options to accommodate your busy lifestyle -Symptoms Of Sciatica .

Personal Preferences & Needs

Finally, it is important to consider your personal preferences and needs. Do you prefer a chiropractor who takes a holistic approach to treatment, or one who focuses on specific techniques? Are you looking for a chiropractor who specializes in sports injuries or prenatal care? Consider these factors when choosing a chiropractor who is the right fit for you.

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Chiropractor

When choosing a chiropractor, it is important to ask the right questions to ensure that you are making an informed decision. Here are a few questions to consider:

What are your qualifications and experience?

Asking about a chiropractor’s qualifications and experience is a good way to determine their level of expertise. You can ask about their education, certification, and any additional training or specializations they have completed. It’s important to feel confident in the hands of a qualified professional who has the knowledge and experience to provide effective treatment -Symptoms Of Sciatica .

How do you establish the root cause diagnosis?

Asking this question will give you insight into the chiropractor’s diagnostic process. A good chiropractor will likely ask detailed questions about your medical history, lifestyle, and symptoms, as well as perform a physical exam to identify any areas of pain, tension, or misalignment. They may also use diagnostic imaging, such as X-rays (If clinically justified), nerve function scans and EMG muscle scans, to get a more detailed view of your spine and musculoskeletal system -Symptoms Of Sciatica .

Do you have an x-ray machine on-site?

Having an X-ray machine on-site can be beneficial, as it allows the chiropractor to get a more detailed look at your spine and musculoskeletal system. This can help them to accurately diagnose your condition and develop an effective treatment plan. If the chiropractor doesn’t have an X-ray machine on-site, they should be able to refer you to a facility that does. If you have an x-ray from a private clinic or the NHS, you can always bring that along with you.

What techniques do you use to perform adjustments?

There are a variety of techniques that chiropractors may use to perform adjustments, and it’s important to find out which techniques a potential chiropractor uses. This can help you determine if their approach aligns with your personal preferences and needs. Some common techniques include manual adjustments, instrument-assisted adjustments, and mobilization techniques. A good chiropractor will be able to explain the different techniques and how they may benefit you -Symptoms Of Sciatica .

What conditions do you specialize in treating?

hiropractors often have areas of expertise or focus, such as sports injuries or prenatal care. Inquiring about a chiropractor’s specialty can help you determine if they are the right fit for your specific needs. Additionally, it’s important to note that chiropractors are trained to treat a variety of conditions related to the musculoskeletal system, so even if they don’t specialize in a particular area, they may still be able to provide effective treatment.

What is your treatment approach and philosophy?

Chiropractors may have different treatment approaches and philosophies, such as a focus on holistic care or a more traditional medical approach. Understanding a chiropractor’s treatment approach can help you determine if it aligns with your personal beliefs and preferences. Additionally, it’s important to ask about their overall philosophy on healthcare and how it may impact their treatment recommendations.

How do you measure progress and success?

Measuring progress and success is an important aspect of the chiropractic conservative care system. A good chiropractor will use a variety of methods to track your progress and ensure that treatment is effective. They may use physical exams, diagnostic imaging, or other methods to assess changes in your condition over time. Additionally, they should be open to feedback from their patients to ensure that treatment is personalized and effective.

What should I expect during my first appointment?

Your first appointment with a chiropractor is an opportunity to get to know them and determine if they are the right fit for you. During your first appointment, you can expect to undergo a physical exam and provide a medical history. The chiropractor may also perform diagnostic tests to further assess your condition. After the initial assessment, the follow up visit also known as the Report of Findings (ROF), the chiropractor will discuss their findings and recommend a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. It’s important to ask questions and voice any concerns you may have during this process.

Dispelling Common Myths surrounding Chiropractic and Chiropractors

Myth 1: Chiropractors are not real doctors.

Fact: Chiropractors are trained in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, diagnostics, and chiropractic techniques. They are licensed healthcare professionals who undergo extensive education and training and are therefore given the title of Doctor of Chiropractic. Please note that Chiropractor and Doctor of Chiropractic are protected titles that can only be used by licensed, registered Chiropractors.

Myth 2: Chiropractic is dangerous and can cause strokes.

Fact: Chiropractic spinal adjustments are safe and effective for treating musculoskeletal problems. The risk of serious side effects is extremely low, and there is no evidence that chiropractic manipulations cause strokes.

Myth 3: Chiropractors only treat back pain.

Fact: While chiropractors are best known for treating back pain, they can also treat a variety of other musculoskeletal conditions, such as neck pain, headaches, sciatica, and sports injuries.

Myth 4: Chiropractors only use spinal manipulation.

Fact: Chiropractors use a variety of techniques to treat musculoskeletal conditions, including soft tissue therapy, stretching, exercise, and lifestyle advice. Spinal manipulation is just one tool in their toolbox.

Myth 5: Chiropractic is not evidence-based.

Fact: Chiropractic is supported by a growing body of scientific research. Many studies have shown that chiropractic is effective for treating back pain, neck pain, headaches, and other musculoskeletal conditions.\

Myth 6: Chiropractic manipulations release toxins: What toxins are released after chiropractic adjustment?

Fact: There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that chiropractic causes the release of toxins from the body. The concept of toxins being released from the body after a chiropractic therapy is not supported by medical research even though anecdotally patients experience detoxification responses. Further research may one day confirm this.

Myth 7: Disadvantages of Chiropractic: Why it is not compatible with other therapies.

Fact: Chiropractic therapy is often used in conjunction with other therapies, including physiotherapy, massage therapy and acupuncture. Many patients receive chiropractic in combination with other treatments to help manage pain, improve mobility, and enhance overall health and wellness.

Myth 8: Why are Chiropractors hated by the medical community?

Fact: While there may be some disagreements between chiropractors and medical doctors about the best approaches to patient care, chiropractors and medical doctors often work collaboratively to provide the best care for their patients. In fact, many medical doctors refer patients to chiropractors when they believe chiropractic conservative care could be beneficial and vice-versa.