Chiropractic is the third largest health care profession in the world after medicine and dentistry.
There are currently over 100, 000 chiropractors around the world with over 600 chiropractors currently practicing in South Africa.
A Chiropractor uses a natural and drug free approach to health and pain management.
“Chiro” comes from the Greek word “kheir” which means “hand” and
“practor” from the Greek word “pracktikos” meaning practice.
Definition of Chiropractic
A health profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health. There is an emphasis on manual treatments including spinal adjustment and other joint and soft-tissue manipulation.
World Federation of Chiropractic, 2005
The History of Chiropractic
The First Chiropractic Adjustment
Modern chiropractic marks its beginnings in 1895,Daniel David Palmer, a self-educated teacher and healer, performed the first spinal manipulation on a patient in Davenport, Iowa, USA.
Palmer soon discovered that spinal manipulations / adjustments could relieve patients’ pain and other symptoms.
He began to use these “hand treatments” to treat a variety of ailments, including sciatica, migraine headaches and stomach complaints. In 1898, he opened the Palmer School & Infirmary of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, and began teaching his chiropractic techniques to others.The school is still in operation to this day in Davenport,Iowa.
Initial Resistance in the Medical Community
The medical community did not immediately embrace Palmer’s chiropractic theories and techniques. The called him a “quack” and refused to acknowledge his accomplishments. At one point, Palmer was even indicted for practicing medicine without a license and spent time in jail for his offense.
Today there are over 100,000 chiropractors practicing throughout the world with over 50,000 in the US alone. Chiropractors are licensed medical professionals inthe US states, Canadian provinces, most European countries, Australia and New Zealand and South Africa.
Despite its North American roots, there are now more chiropractic educational programs outside of North America. Chiropractic continues to gain wide acceptance by the medical, legal, and patient communities through its record of beneficial results and ongoing research.
What is a Chiropractor?
A Chiropractor (Doctor of Chiropractic) or Chiropractic physician is a medical professional who is trained to diagnose and treat disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Chiropractors treat patients of all ages—infants, children, and adults. They believe in a conservative (non-surgical) hands-on approach to treating these disorders.
Some chiropractors specialise in areas including:
- Sports medicine
- Occupational and industrial health
- Diagnostic imaging
- Internal disorders
A visit with a chiropractor is similar to other doctor appointments. The chiropractor diagnoses back pain after he or she takes the patient’s medical history, performs a physical and neurological examination, and relies on other tests, such as diagnostic imaging and blood tests.
After a diagnosis is made, the chiropractor recommends a treatment plan. If the patient’s disorder is beyond the scope of chiropractic care, the doctor refers the patient to the appropriate health care provider. Often, chiropractors co-treat patients with other health care providers.
Chiropractors do not perform surgery. Although hands-on manipulation of the problem-specific joints is central to chiropractic, treatment focuses on whole-body health. Working toward restoring and maintaining overall health may include physiological therapeutics (done by a physical therapist) and lifestyle counseling.
Chiropractors treat patients in different settings, such as a private or group practice, multi-disciplinary group practice, or hospitals and other health care facilities.
A Chiropractor in South Africa study for at least 6 yrs completing a Masters Degree in Technology in Chiropractic (Mtech: Chiropractic). The Chiropractic degree mirrors the medical degree for the first 3 yrs including education in the following areas: Anatomy, Biochemistry, Pathology, Biology, Physiology and Diagnostic techniques.
In the final 3 yrs chiropractic students education focuses more on the examination and diagnosis of conditions of the bone and spine including: orthopaedic examination, radiographic examination, diseases of the skeleton and bones and clinical application of Chiropractic techniques.
All chiropractic students in South Africa are required to complete a Masters Dissertation on a research topic of their choice before they can receive their degree.