Chiropractic is based on a philosophy that true health comes from within. That is, we are born with everything that we need to live full, healthy lives. This philosophy has been the source of much controversy throughout the 20th century, as the American Medical Association fought long and hard to prevent chiropractic from practicing under this premise.
The popping sound is created by gas (nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide) released from the joint as it is opened, very much like the sound made when removing the top from a champagne bottle.
The reason for modern medicine's disapproval is that its own practice is based on the philosophy that health is challenged at all times by outside sources, particularly microorganisms like bacteria. According to this philosophy, drugs and medications are necessary to preserve human health. It is believed that the body alone is unable to regulate and heal itself, and therefore sickness is inevitable for most.
The chiropractic health-from-within model is entirely different from that belief. The chiropractic philosophy says that human beings are born healthy and that health is compromised only when an obstacle is present to disrupt the body from functioning properly. Many obstacles exist and microorganisms represent only one type. The obstacle that chiropractic specifically addresses is called a subluxation.
Chiropractic: What is a Subluxation?
Subluxations are misalignments of the vertebrae or bones of the spine. Chiropractic works by finding these misalignments and correcting them. With subluxations, not only are the vertebrae misaligned, but more importantly the spinal joints are stuck. That is, they do not move properly. This condition leads to inflammation, muscle spasm and irritation of the sensitive nerve tissue exiting the spinal cord and passing through the vertebrae.
Chiropractic removes these subluxations by utilizing a technique called a chiropractic adjustment. This procedure is performed by a high speed thrust on the spine at the area of the subluxation. It is also said to be "low amplitude", because the distance of thrust is small (approximately one inch). This thrust opens up the joint, restoring movement to the area.
The adjustment is characterized by a "popping" sound (called a cavitation) that many people mistake for the "cracking" of bones. The popping sound is created by gas (nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide) released from the joint as it is opened, very much like the sound made when removing the top from a champagne bottle.
This procedure is usually painless, although some people report minor discomfort, particularly when muscle spasms are intense. Most chiropractors have techniques to either reduce muscle spasms before the adjustment or use an alternate form of adjustment that is very low force.
How can chiropractic help?
During the early years of chiropractic practice, it was discovered that by adjusting the spine, lame people regained their ability to move and walk properly. Thousands of people began to get relief from their physical ailments and chronic pain.
There were also many reports of people who experienced relief from other chronic problems, such as asthma, digestive disorders and menstrual problems, to name just a few. Although these accounts were mostly anecdotal (patient description and testimonial) and therefore scrutinized by modern medicine, research over the years has shown the efficacy of chiropractic care in the treatment of low back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions. See also spinehealth.com.
Since its inception over 100 years ago, chiropractic has helped hundreds of thousands of people regain their health and return to living healthy productive lives. Chiropractic is being practiced in over 35 countries worldwide, and although their histories have been some what tumultuous, chiropractic and medicine are finding ways to work together to the betterment of the public.
Chiropractors complete an intense four-year training program that is comparable to the education provided in American medical colleges. In fact, the chiropractic education exceeds the medical education in hours dedicated to anatomy and nutrition.