Alternative Medicine

Chiropractic alternative medicine has been around since the earliest recorded history. The word Chiropractic is from Greek chiro "hand" and praktikos "concerned with action". As a profession, it dates back to 1895.

Chiropractic is a natural method of health care that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of spinal subluxations (vertebral misalignments) that can effect the nervous system and a person's overall health.

Chiropractic treats the causes of physical problems instead of just the symptoms. The premise of chiropractic is that the body is better able to heal itself with normally functioning nerves and spine, along with a healthy lifestyle.

Chiropractors may incorporate along with spinal adjustments, massage, an exercise program, nutritional supplements, acupuncture, homeopathy and biofeedback to name a few alternative medical treatments.

The spinal cord, which is protected by the vertebrae of the spine, is the main pathway of the nervous system. These nerves control feeling, movement and functions throughout the body. A pinched nerve may result in those related organs or bodily systems not functioning optimally.

Chiropractors have several years of professional medical training, resulting in a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree. They study the structure and function of the spine and how it effects health and disease.

In the United States, approximately 20% of adults have tried chiropractic care. It is the largest alternative medical profession in the U.S. and the third largest doctored profession - after medical doctors and dentists.

Satisfaction rates are usually higher for chiropractic alternative medicine compared to traditional care by an M.D. The use of chiropractic continues to grow, especially in Canada and the U.S.

Chiropractic Research and Studies

Chiropractic alternative medicine has been shown by scientific research to be safe, effective and saves time and money. Below is a condensed list of some of the studies done to show the results of chiropractic care.

  • The AHCPR Guidelines were developed in 1994 by a panel of MD's and other health professionals. These federal guidelines were made for the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.

    After a review of current research, the study recommends treating acute low back problems with spinal manipulation by a trained professional chiropractor.

  • The Florida Study in 1988 showed that of more than 10,000 workers with back-related injuries, those who received chiropractic care returned to work nearly twice as fast as those who received medical treatment. This study also showed that chiropractic care was less than half of the cost of medical treatment.

  • The Manga Report was a Canadian research study done in 1993. This study analyzed the effectiveness of chiropractic management of low back pain. This panel of health experts found that spinal manipulation (chiropractic adjustments) is more effective, costs less and is often safer than traditional medical treatment for low back pain.

  • The Meade Studies were two studies done in the 1990's comparing medical treatment to chiropractic care for low back pain. These studies were published in the British Medical Journal. The 1990 study found that patients seen by chiropractors were better within 6 months and remained better over a two-year period.

    The 1995 study showed that improvement of low back pain was 29% greater after 3 years of chiropractic care.

  • The RAND Study was an independent, ongoing study that was reviewed by an expert panel of Medical Doctors and Doctors of Chiropractic. They reviewed 35 years of research on spinal manipulation and agreed that this is an appropriate and effective treatment for several types of low back pain.

  • The Virginia Cost Assessments was a 1992 study that compared the cost of chiropractic care to other medical treatments for common back problems. The researchers found that chiropractic care had the lowest costs per-visit and total treatment.

Ongoing studies and clinical trials on chiropractic adjustments are continuing around the world by medical doctors, private corporations and doctors of chiropractic. The results of these show the vast array of conditions that chiropractic can have a positive effect (for example, asthma, high blood pressure, ulcers, etc.).

Chiropractic and pregnancy:

  • Is safe for mother and baby during pregnancy
  • Helps correct vertebral misalignment and relieves pressure
  • Keeps pelvic bones aligned properly for a quicker, easier delivery
  • Helps with joint mobility
  • Establishes normal nerve energy, which is vital for the development of a healthy baby and mother
Infants and Chiropractic

Chiropractic alternative medicine has also been shown to help newborns and infants with health issues.

A Danish study done in 1989 looked at infants with colic (prolong crying without an obvious reason why) and found that spinal manipulation helped reduce symptoms in 94% of the babies. These improvements were seen after an average of only 3 treatments over a 2 week period.


Chiropractic was found to be an effective treatment for people suffering from tension headaches in a 1995 clinical study. After 6 weeks of spinal manipulation by chiropractors, patients had relief from pain longer and with less side effects than treatment for the same amount of time but with anti-depressant medication.

Have you heard of headache chiropractic? This can be a great source of help for people who are suffering miserably from chronic headaches.

The effectiveness of chiropractic alternative medicine depends on the medical condition being treated and the type of chiropractic treatment administered.

Chiropractic alternative medicine is generally regarded as safe when performed by a trained, skilled professional.

Return from Chiropractic Alternative Medicine to Answer My Health Question home page.