There is a subtle, and at times not-so-subtle battle between what is termed ‘mainstream’ medicine and those who advocate holistic, nontraditional methods of human care such as chiropractic. The Internet, as well as other information mediums, are full of articles that attempt to portray chiropractic care as “Quackery”, “False Medicine” and even “Sorcery”. These attacks cite thousands of research cases, scientific[BC1] methodology, as well as other evidence that chiropractic care is a sham and its practitioners are nothing less than modern-day charlatans.
In a 2013 article, posted on Science-Based Medicine website, the poster attempts to ridicule Dr. J.C. Smith and his 2011 article named, “The Medical War Against Chiropractors: The Untold Story from the Persecution to Vindication”. The poster, identified as Harriet Hall, tries to dismiss the practice of chiropractic care as a one with no scientific background and no basis in actual fact. The information in Ms. Hall’s post, and others she has penned, will not be discussed at length here. Her post here is brought up in this case because she did make interesting claims about the history and legitimacy of chiropractic care. Each of her claims have been addressed in other articles by chiropractors and other treating doctors, however, each of her assertions were made with derision and a permeable venom.
This is the war of opinion between chiropractic and other forms of medical care. The battles are bitter at times, yet persevere as they have for over a century. Dr. Heidi Haavik, D.C. and PhD in Neurophysiology has written a book based upon her research which she named, Reality Check, Cracking Chiropractic, to be released to the public soon. In her book, her website claims, she takes the time to easily explain, in layman’s terms, what happens in the brain when a dysfunctional portions of the spine are adjusted. This book might just tip the scales in the argument in favor of the non-surgical options to neck and back issues.
Dr. Haavik’s research is focused on the direct link between the condition of the spinal column, along with the associated neck and back muscles and ligaments, and the messages the brain processes from the body where the nerve signals pass through the spinal column. The hypothesis on which her research is based is that “appropriate joint movements leads to appropriate somatosensory filtering and processing wish translates into accurate motor control and good body function.” The catalyst for good body function is the periodic adjustments to the spinal column. Dr. Haavik’s online presentation, which was presented at a medical forum in Melbourne, Australia, gives specific research citation and data gathered from her own research and other studies, each of which have been published and given credibility in the both the chiropractic and non-chiropractic realms.
How does Chiropractic Work?
In line with the hypothesis and research mentioned above by Dr. Haavik, the body and the mind are meant to work together, and in our natural state the body is able to fend off illness and even disease. These illnesses or injuries most often addressed in a chiropractor’s office are injuries to the tissues that surround the neck and back. When the muscles and ligaments are sprained/strained, the spinal column is pulled or pushed out of alignment. When normal movement function is disrupted in the spine, there tends to be an irritation or impediment in the nerves that travel along the spinal column.
Doctors of Chiropractic are trained extensively in how best to manipulate the spine to alleviate the acute pain as well as allow for better communication between the brain and the parts of the body whose function might be altered because of the injury. Most chiropractors will recommend a course of appropriate physical therapy in conjunction with the spinal adjustments. The injured person is expected to be an active participant in their recovery. Chiropractors will also teach their patients how to better care for their bodies with natural, holistic modalities.
Chiropractic or Not Chiropractic?
Regardless of what battle is going on with the ‘experts’, millions of Americans find relief from pain and stiffness associated with injuries to the neck and back through chiropractic treatment. The alternative to this care would likely involve prescription and non-prescription medications, to manage, and at times mask the pain and symptoms associated with neck and back injuries. Additionally, thousands of injured people are told that surgery is their only choice in the treatment of neck and back injuries, and these people will agree because we have been trained in the “Doctor knows best” mentality.
Of course there are injuries and conditions that are beyond the expertise of your chiropractor, they will be the first to admit this, however, your chiropractor will do everything they have been trained to do to help an injured person before more serious procedures are considered. It is important to understand that spinal function impacts so much of our bodily function simply because almost every nerve has a connection in and through the spinal column. These types of injuries can be debilitating, even to the point of complete bodily impairment. If you have neck and back pain, have been injured in an accident or even have abnormal bodily functions it is recommended that you seek the appropriate medical care, consult with your chiropractor.