“I don’t believe in chiropractors.” It’s one of the funniest conversations chiropractors get to have. And I get it. There are many things we have not yet seen, things we have to consider whether we believe or not. Drop bears, Santa, the Loch Ness Monster, Yeti, electricity…Yet here I stand talking to you. Five-year university trained with a couple of degrees, a living, breathing Doctor of Chiropractic, Australian health professional provider number 298222CT. Not the tooth fairy.
“I don’t’ believe in chiropractors” usually means something like:
– I believe, whatever it is that chiropractors do, it doesn’t work.
– I have heard on the grapevine that chiropractic is not based on real science.
– I have heard that medical doctors don’t agree with chiropractic.
– I, or someone I heard about, had a bad experience being treated by a chiropractor, so I am against chiropractic.
So, what is Chiropractic?
The first part of Chiropractic training is a science degree. It includes the study of anatomy, physiology, neurology, pathology, genetics, biochemistry, biophysics, nutrition, exercise science, psychology, differential diagnosis, taking x-rays and interpreting the various imaging modalities, lab work analysis, statistical analysis and the evaluation of scientific research… It’s the same serious science studied by medics and vets. During the first degree there is also a remarkable process to train the ability to ‘palpate’ and ‘adjust.’ That is, to be able to feel and evaluate the texture, position and and motion of bones, muscles, fascia, organs… and then to move them into more optimal functioning positions.
The second second degree Chiropractors study is the clinical application of that science. It includes extensive supervised clinical practice.
Chiropractic considers the nerve system as the ultimate controller of the human body. It recognises that malfunctions in the musculoskeletal system, most prominently the spine, affect nerve system function. Possible nerve system effects range very widely. They might include pain or numbness, balance or coordination. Organic functions might be affected like digestion or sexual function. Even mental processes could be affected, like the ability to think clearly or being anxious. Where it is a contributing factor, correction of musculoskeletal function can help correct nerve system function.
Chiropractic is about optimising human function to reach human potential. It begins with neuro-musculo-skeletal systems. It endeavours to work with the body’s inbuilt homeostatic processes before resorting to pharmaceuticals and surgical interventions. As such Chiropractic emphasises lifestyle empowerment through movement, nutrition, regenerative processes and psychology.
It is noteworthy that the Chiropractic profession has thrived, since its beginnings in 1895, despite ‘unbelief’ and strong waves of political opposition. How? I humbly suggest that some people must have found it helpful.