Common steps and sub-activities
Chiropractic is one of the few healing disciplines mentioned and described by the official UK NHS website. They even provide some advice on possible uses, mostly related to pain and aches in joints and muscles, including
- back pain
- neck pain
- shoulder pain
- elbow pain
- pain from osteoarthritis
This said, according to their site "Chiropractic is not widely available on the NHS, but it may be offered in exceptional circumstances in some areas. To find out if you can see a chiropractor on the NHS in your area: ask a GP or contact your local clinical commissioning group (CCG)".
You don't have to be referred by a GP, but it is wise to make sure the practitioner is registered with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC). By law, all chiropractors must be registered with the GCC. There is a register which will help you see if a practitioner is registered in your area.
D D Palmer founded chiropractic in the 1890s, and his son B. J. Palmer helped to expand chiropractic in the early 20th century. Palmer called it "a science of healing without drugs", which meant it has faced very stiff criticism from pharmaceutical companies, their shareholders, and all their sponsored doctors. Its origins go back to ‘folk medicine’ – the original healing techniques practised by herbalists and healers before the ‘alternative medicine’ of artificial chemical [usually petroleum based ] drugs was introduced.
Chiropractics needs more time with the patient than most conventional General Practitioner practise allows , a chiropractor may take a full hour to get all the symptoms, past history and current treatments of a patient. And the person is treated as a whole [holistic medicine].
Many chiropractors use a number of healing techniques for this reason. And a symptom such as shoulder pain – a physical manifestation of, for example , having a mental burden of responsibility they are finding too much, may equally well be treated by the EFT [Emotional Freedom Technique] .
In some senses therefore a Chiropractor works first with the mental ‘spiritual’ dimension and then [if need be] uses manipulation techniques.
A conventional doctor in contrast, during a 10 minute session will note the symptoms and prescribe drugs or surgery. Even if they manage to identify that the cause is mental, they will still prescribe drugs.
Thus for those people very nervous about the side effects of drugs – especially given the scandals concerning the opioid crisis and the anti-depressant crisis and the benzodiazepine crisis – the holistic approach offered by this discipline may be a vital alternative, especially since – like all healing therapies - it recognises the body's inherent self-healing abilities and supports the immune system in helping it fight illness.
Whereas a chiropractic may offer heat and warmth therapy to help the immune system repair damaged tissue, a doctor might offer ice treatment, which serves to temporarily numb all sensation but heals nothing – in fact slows or even prevents healing, as it restricts the circulation and prevents the body from healing itself.
Whereas a doctor may prescribe drugs to deal with an organ malfunction, Palmer recognised that vertebral joint misalignments, which he termed vertebral subluxations, interfered with the body's function and its inborn ability to heal itself. As the nervous system is aligned with the spine some of the misalignments may even be causing types of trapped or pinched nerves in the intervertebral spaces which might then affect the functioning of the end organ
In 1910, D. D. Palmer theorized that the nervous system controlled health:
"Physiologists divide nerve-fibers, which form the nerves, into two classes, afferent and efferent. Impressions are made on the peripheral afferent fiber-endings; these create sensations that are transmitted to the center of the nervous system.
Efferent nerve-fibers carry impulses out from the center to their endings. Most of these go to muscles and are therefore called motor impulses; some are secretory and enter glands; a portion are inhibitory, their function being to restrain secretion.
Thus, nerves carry impulses outward and sensations inward. The activity of these nerves, or rather their fibers, may become excited or allayed by impingement, the result being a modification of functionality – too much or not enough action – which is disease."
In 2005, the chiropractic subluxation was defined by the World Health Organization as "a lesion or dysfunction in a joint or motion segment in which alignment, movement integrity and/or physiological function are altered, although contact between joint surfaces remains intact. It is essentially a functional entity, which may influence biomechanical and neural integrity."