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Yours in Health: The science, art and philosophy of chiropractic

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In honor of September and the first-ever chiropractic adjustment performed on Sept. 18, 1895, I thought it would be appropriate to write an article about the science, art and philosophy of the profession.

Chiropractic has been around since 1895 and was founded by a man named Daniel David Palmer. Palmer gave the first chiropractic adjustment to a man named Harvey Lillard who was deaf in one ear. After the adjustment, the man’s hearing was restored and word spread about this new mode of healing that was used to treat the spine.

The science and philosophy of chiropractic is based on the nervous system. The belief is that misalignments in the spine can cause pain and manifestation of health-related symptoms or disease. These misalignments in chiropractic are termed “subluxations” which means “less than light.” Our nerves in the body innervate organs and muscles, and are the electrical system that helps our body communicate via neurotransmitters, hormones, chemical messengers and so on. Realigning the spine and adjusting subluxations can decrease pain symptoms and contribute to overall health and well-being.

The art of chiropractic is in the adjustment and treatment by the doctor. There are 55 established chiropractic techniques and within the practice there is specialization. Chiropractors may choose to specialize in functional neurology, exercise medicine, pediatrics or wellness care, among others, and is viewed through the window of a drugless approach.

Chiropractors spend years in doctorate training learning about anatomy and physiology, radiology, nutrition, stress management and holistic health treatments. Doctor of chiropractic school involves four years of extensive hands-on training, learning proper adjustment techniques and diagnosis.

When many people think about chiropractic, they usually only think about back and neck pain. However, chiropractic treatment has also been found to improve headaches, constipation, arthritis, asthma, sciatica, insomnia, ADD, multiple sclerosis, ear infections, surgery prevention and high blood pressure. Chiropractic care also helps aid in a healthy pregnancy and ease of labor.

Many professional athletes choose to be under the care of a chiropractor because of improvements in their athletic performance, an increase in range of motion and increased proprioception—all of which decreases the risk of injury. Chiropractic adjustments help to boost the immune system and increase respiratory function. In many athletes, regular adjustments decrease recovery time post injury.

Many people ask me how a spine becomes misaligned. Many of the causes include falling or experiencing a physical trauma, poor posture, inflammation caused by poor diet choices or stress, degeneration of the spine, thinning of the discs in the spine, and taut and tight muscles.

Is there an age when it is appropriate to get adjusted? The answer is any age. Newborn infants go through their first trauma making their way through the birth canal. When adjusting infants, very light pressure is used. The younger kids are checked, the more “well-adjusted” they become and seem to be sick and injured less.

Dr. Andrea Wick is a chiropractor and applied kinesiologist. She graduated from Life University in Marietta, Georgia, and now practices at Healing Hands Chiropractic in Big Sky. She has a passion for holistic health care and being active in the outdoors.

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