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Does chiropractic work?

Posted on Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 3:46 pm

Over the years, I have heard people who visit a chiropractor say “I just saw my chiropractor and I feel great” or “I hurt my back and I have to go to my chiropractor” without mentioning a doctor. I also noticed the personal means these folks address their chiropractor as “my” (chiropractor) whereas a doctor would be address as “the” (doctor). As a psychotherapist, my educated guess is a feeling of personal familiarity developed with a chiropractor whereas a doctor visit is more clinical in nature.

What many people question is, “Does chiropractic medicine work?”

Long considered “alternative medicine,” chiropractic science was largely ignored by the American Medical Association (AMA) and eschewed by practicing physicians but this viewpoint has changed dramatically in recent years.

Bear in mind the terms “dramatic” and “recent” are applied liberally to a body of science such as the AMA which moves at the speed of smell.

A man known as D.D. Palmer founded chiropractic in the 1890’s but like all science and bio-technology, the early claims of chiropractic have been altered as we learn more of the human body and fine-tuned to today’s approach to the practice.

In search of a reputable, recommended chiropractor the name of Dr. Mathieu Sisk in Warsaw kept popping up so it was off to speak with Dr. Sisk who spent a lot of time educating me of chiropractic and he reminds me to not use ‘medicine’ as part of describing chiropractic technique and treatment as there is no actual medicine involved.

A very basic description of the theory of chiropractic is all major nerves travel from the brain through the spinal column and from there, throughout the body and to each internal organ. Consequently, if the spine is damaged or out of line, certain nerves will be similarly affected and in turn, so will the organs they are designed to function with and within.

Chiropractic sets out to align the spine and restore organic function which makes practical sense on several levels.

Dr. Sisk had me stand up as he checked the neck discs and worked his way down each disc throughout the spine stopping to check with the alignment of the discs in my neck. He pointed out my stance which was my right foot forward about 4 inches. Dr. Sisk explained this was my body attempting to stabilize me for balance which is a difficult task as I am a rather large man.

Dr. Sisk manipulated some areas on my spine and hip area bringing almost instant relief to the painful areas of my back. Surprisingly, Dr. Sisk told me which discs were impinging on my spinal column

Which was rather stunning actually, because I had a recent MRI done in Richmond and the radiologist told me which discs were impinging and they were exactly the same discs Dr. Sisk indicated.

Chiropractic is ‘healing with hands’ and usually requires more than one visit to assuage issues just as a chronic medical condition requires multiple visits to a doctor. When a body self-adjusts to a misaligned spine, the muscles alter to accommodate a changing gait and they must also be trained to return to the original shape as they tend to return to the position caused by realignment. Chiropractic has gained so much credibility lately that many medical insurance companies cover it and hospitals and rehab centers across the nation have a chiropractic doctor on staff or working with the facility.

The added bonus is Dr.  Sisk offers massage therapy as an adjunct or separate from his practice.

Upon leaving Dr. Sisk’s office, a gentleman named Mr. Johnson entered for treatment and said he has been a marathon runner since the mid 1980’s and has seen about a dozen chiropractors and claims Dr. Sisk is the best he has experienced.

As I was leaving, Dr. Sisk said “Look down at your feet”. Sure enough, my feet were restored to their natural side-by-side position.

Does chiropractic work? Research says ‘yes’ and empirically, I can state unequivocally “Yes, it certainly does.”