The spine is made up of 24 individual vertebrae that start at the base of the skull and run down to the centre in between your hips. Despite the vertebrae being separate, they function as a single unit because they are connected by ligaments and muscles. A pair of nerves leaves the spinal cord between each vertebra and these nerves branch off to the rest of the body.
The chiropractor ensures that the spinal bones and other joints are all moving correctly and are in alignment. When the bones are not in their correct position, they irritate the nerves which cause pain, muscle spasms and other symptoms. Chiropractors restore motion to joints and correct misalignments using highly specialised manipulation techniques called adjustments. The adjustments are done by hand and involve the chiropractor applying pressure on a specific joint and in a specific direction. Many patients experience immediate relief as the pressure of the bones is removed from the nerve. However, responses to treatment are not always the same and so patients may require a few treatments before they are fully healed.
Chiropractic is a very safe and non-invasive form of treatment and anyone with a muscular, nerve or joint problem can benefit. Those that can benefit from chiropractic include:
Back pain is the second most common reason why a person will go and visit a health care professional after the common cold. About 80-90% of all adults will suffer at some point in time from back problems. A study published in the British Medical Journal called the BEAM trail showed that chiropractic was the most effective and safest form of treatment and produced the most superior results. Those that visited the chiropractor took the least amount of sick leave days, used less pain relief medication and are less likely to end up in chronic pain.
Chiropractors only use natural healing methods and do not give medication or conduct surgery when treating patients. This does not mean that they are opposed to medical treatment. They are trained to see when a situation may require further treatment by a medical doctor or surgeon and refer their patients to one when necessary.
Most medical aids will pay for chiropractic care, however this all depends on the package you have. The payment arrangement you have may limit the amount paid out for chiropractic care, so in order to be sure about this, you should give your medical aid a call and find out more.