Chiropractic alternative medicine

Chiropractic alternative medicine is the leading member of the CAM stable.

It stands for complementary and alternative care.

The adjustment is a very specific, high-velocity manipulation of a joint, primarily of the spine but, increasingly, of all moving parts of the body; ankles, hips and shoulders, for example.

Lack of normal movement within a joint is now well attested in the literature to cause immobilisation arthritis as the articular hyaline cartilage is deprived of nutrients and oxygen, and exposed for a prolonged time to the waste products of its own metabolism.

Teddy needs a rib adjustment.

In addition there is a knock-on effect on the soft tissues around the joint causing pain, inflammation and dysfunction.

There is a huge amount in the scientific literature that confirms what chiropractors in the field have been saying for over a century; that the re-establishing of normal movement within joints leads directly to less pain and disability.

Chiropractic alternative medicine

Chiropractic alternative medicine was founded 125 years ago by Daniel Palmer.

The term chiropractic is derived from two Greek words, cheir and praktikis, meaning done by hand.

Chiropractic is about hands; used through direct contact with the skin to bring about changes primarily affecting the soft tissues and the human frame.

Chiropractic finds its origins in the mists of time; Hippocrates and Galen, both famous doctors, avidly used and advocated manipulation of the spine, thousands of years ago.

The bone-setters of Europe carried on the tradition through the Middle Ages but it was in 1895 that an American, Daniel Palmer, founded modern chiropractic.

There are now over 90 000 chiropractors in more than 70 countries. There is a minimum of five to six years of tertiary level education, starting with the same basic sciences as in medicine.

Chiropractic schools, controlled and accredited, are now found on every continent, except Antarctica, of course.

Most practitioners use the title doctor of chiropractic, or D.C, approved by law in the countries where this branch of alternative medicine is recognized and regulated. Many hospitals now have a DC on their staff and integrated practices are not uncommon.

"Here's to the men and women of my own breed

Good or bitter bad as they might be

At least they hear the things I hear

And see the things I see."

- Rudyard Kipling.


You will hear chiropractors using the word subluxation. It is an important word in our philosophy but means diverse things to different people. In medicine it means actual derangement of a joint, seen usually on an x-ray.

Simply put, to a chiropractor, a subluxation means a process of abnormal movement within a joint; initially too little, called a fixation, and later, as it begins to degenerate, excessive play as aging of the disc and facet capsules allows increased divergence.

Finally, with progressive degenerative changes in the hyaline cartilage, the joints become stabilized, often resulting in less pain and disability in older age.

Subluxations will frequently affect the spinal nerves resulting in various disorders depending on the root affected. Adjusting these fixations aims to restore the neuro-biomechanical harmony of the body.

New research proves that the hyaline cartilage lining the joints is utterly dependent on movement for adequate nutrition and oxygen, and the removal of toxic waste products.

Fixated joints become arthritic and stiff long before their time.

Research Report, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1997

"Labeled an unscientific cult by organized medicine as little as 20 years ago, Chiropractic is now recognized as the principal source of one of the few treatments recommended by national evidence-based guidelines for the treatment of low-back pain, namely spinal manipulation.

In the areas of training, practice and research, chiropractic alternative medicine has emerged from the periphery of the health care system and is playing an increasingly important role in discussions of well-being care policy."

Rehabilitation and Ergonomics

Chiropractors emphasize the importance of good muscle tone to maintain that harmony and use a wide variety of techniques to rehabilitate the muscles of the body, along with the joints they serve.

For pain emanating from subluxations of the upper lumbar spine and radiating to the low back, the buttock and even the lateral and anterior thigh responds well to Maignes syndrome exercises. There is a growing recognition in Chiropractic Alternative Medicine of the importance of ergonomics in maintaining excellent spinal health, and preventing injuries.

A formal definition:

Chiropractic Alternative Medicine is a health care discipline that emphasizes the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery.

The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the spine) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health.

In addition, doctors of chiropractic recognize the value and responsibility of working in cooperation with other health care practitioners in the best interests of the patient.

World Health Organisation (WHO) congress

In her opening address to the Congress, WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan pointed out that the striking increase in the use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in affluent societies reflected certain weaknesses in modern medical care, including its depersonalized and “assembly line” nature, and a number of strengths in CAM. These strengths included a more compassionate and holistic approach to healthcare and a focus on prevention as well as cure, strengths that meant that CAM should have a bigger role in primary health care and in national healthcare systems.

She went on to say: "The two systems of traditional and western medicine need not clash…they can blend together in a beneficial harmony, using the best features of each system.”

World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) president Dr. Papadopoulos said: “This Congress represented a major milestone for chiropractic. Chiropractic is seen by WHO and government officials from many countries, and delegates from other professions, as the most developed profession internationally in the field of manual healthcare, and the Beijing Declaration called upon all countries to recognise and regulate CAM professionals such as doctors of chiropractic.”

Useful links


Most chiropractors today will address all the joints in the body, and not only those that directly affect the nervous system. TMJ ear pain, Tietzes syndrome casefile and this Ankle Joint pain Case File all point to the contribution that Chiropractic makes to the whole musculo skeletal system.

The training at chiropractic alternative medicine universities caters well for the management of extra-spinal joint injuries.


General well-being is a subject all doctors of every ilk should be passionate about; alas it's not always so.

A long and vibrant life, using a minimum of drugs with all their serious side effects, is obviously dependent on more factors than being free of subluxations, bacteria and virus and tumours.

Chiropractors promote a healthy lifestyle, plenty of exercises, and a diet rich in phytochemical foods, anti-oxidants and the correct fatty acids.

Chiropractic alternative medicine was born in the naturopathic stable; this page was written on the day before Christmas, so you get the drift.

Factors like a correct omega-6/ omega-3 ratio have a vital anti-inflammatory effect on joints and other organs.

Raising the anti-inflammatory omega 3 to lower that ratio is vital for optimal well-being.

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