Chiropractic is a holistic therapy which recognizes the overall health of the patient and the body's innate ability to heal itself from physical, mental, and emotional stress and trauma. Chiropractic medicine is concerned with the relationship between the spinal column, afferent and efferent neurons, and the entire nervous system. Just to review, the human nervous system is comprised of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), the autonomic nervous system, and the peripheral nervous system (includes the somatic nervous system). All of the body's tissues and organs are connected electrically to the spinal column, or backbone, which is protected by twenty-four bones called vertebrae. It is the belief of chiropractic that the misalignment of the spinal cord affects other portions of the body and creates pain, sometimes disease, and other musculoskeletal abnormalities. This firm belief is followed through in diagnosis and treatment; just ask the 15 million Americans who turn to chiropractic physicians ever year to heal physical injury such as lower back pain, neck pain, and certain internal disorders. Chiropractic medicine is an excellent alternative for those who want to avoid surgery for injuries such as loose discs in the neck, slight scoliosis, and out of place vertebrae.
According to chiropractic, pathological disease may be influenced by disturbances of the nervous system. The following factors can contribute to impaired health: genetic/hereditary factors, improper rest, lack of exercise, inadequate and improper nutrition, overindulgence, foods tainted by pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers and preservatives, improperly cooked and/or processed foods, contaminated water, air pollution, stress, bodily trauma, and bacteria and viruses. Almost any component of the nervous system may directly or indirectly cause reactions within any other component by means of reflex mediation. Correction of the spinal (manipulative) lesion is imperative for effective management of common functional disorders of motor structure and for pelvic discomfort.
The modern-day system of chiropractic was founded in 1895 by Daniel David Palmer, despite the fact that the practice of spinal adjustment has existed in virtually every ancient civilization, including that of Egypt. Palmer felt that the task of chiropractic was not to treat conditions but to remove nerve interference caused by subluxations so that the body's inherent capacity to heal itself would be able to take over and restore health and homeostasis. His approach appealed to those who demanded a more natural approach to healing.
Chiropractic medicine has contributed greatly to modern medicine's knowledge of human biology, physiology, and anatomy, specifically of the spine and pelvic areas. Posture, kinesiology, neurology, roentgenology, orthopedics, and osteopathy have been stressed, as has the relationship between structural disorders and mental health.