Chiropractic is an alternative medicine that uses manual therapy to treat disorders affecting the skeleton and muscles. Chiropractic is derived from the Greek word ‘cheiro’ meaning hand and ‘praxis’ meaning active. Chiropractic and osteopathy are pioneers in using manual therapy and variations are still practised today. It is based on a technique where hands are used to loosen blockages in the joints. This is done by manipulating (power treatment) and mobilising (gentle pressure) muscles, ligaments, skin, tissue and bones.
Healing the spine using the hands is widely known in many cultures. The oldest written reports go back to the Chaldeans (10th to 6th century BC in Babylon). In folk medicine the skills of the limb setter, bone setter and pull people were transferred from one generation to the next.
Chiropractic is established all over Europe as a division of orthopaedics medicine and is used in many medical practices, orthopaedic hospitals and rehab clinics.
Chiropractic assumes that all ailments like headaches, dizziness, hearing and visual disorders, sleep disorders or heart discomfort are caused by bad posture or a pinched nerve in the vertebrae, which then influences nerve function. Manipulating the vertebrae can help recovery. However, a chiropractic treatment does not reposition dislocated joints; instead it balances the interaction between muscles, nerves and joint capsules by stretching the muscles and ligaments. It is advisable to be cautious with previously damaged vertebrae, for example, from osteoporosis (bone loss). In this case manipulation can cause further, more serious damage. Regular exercising is important to avoid a repetition of these blockages. Well developed back muscles support the spine like a corset. The techniques are also used in physiotherapy treatment.
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