What is chiropractic care?

For over 100 years, chiropractic has produced significant results with a wide variety of health complaints. Millions of patients, from newborns and adolescents, to adults and seniors have benefited from this safe, conservative form of health care.


Chiropractic is a natural method of health care that treats the causes of physical problems rather than just the symptoms. Chiropractic is based on the simple but powerful premise: With a healthy lifestyle and normally functioning nerves, joints, and spine, your body is better able to heal itself. That ís because the spinal cord and nerves are the vehicle for the information between brain and the rest of the body. It controls movement, feeling, and function throughout your body.


North Carolina chiropractors have at least eight years of professional training in the sciences and health care, leading to a doctor of chiropractic (DC) degree. He or she works to restore your health and guides you in a personalized approach to wellness.


Chiropractors work with bones and nerves of the spinal column and spinal cord, respectively. Chiropractors spend years of highly specialized training in order to locate where misplaced spinal vertebrae are impinging the nerves which travel down the spinal cord and out through the spinal column to the muscles, organs and glands of the body. After locating the vertebrae impinging the nerves (subluxations) the chiropractor, using various highly specialized techniques, is able to replace the misplaced vertebrae and thus release pressure on the nerves. That is called a spinal adjustment.


Often people are totally unaware that they have subluxations in their spine. That is because many nerves send no pain messages and are not composed of sensory fibers. For example, you can feel when something happens to your skin (which is full of sensory nerves that send messages to your conscious brain) but not your liver (which has no sensory nerves going to the brain). When nerves not connected with the conscious brain are damaged , the brain does not feel pain-even though the nerve damage may be causing disease ormalfunction. That ís why vertebral subluxations are often referred to as silent killers.


The area fed by the impinged (damaged) nerves may receive a faulty or improper nerve supply for years. All the while there may be no pain and you may be totally unaware of your condition. All the while your body may be weakening and actual damage to the spinal column, nerves, and organs may be occurring.


In fact, people who have a neckache or backache are the lucky ones! They may know that it ís quite possible that they have subluxations and they will hopefully do the smart thing: go to a chiropractor. Others may suffer from digestive problems, headaches, colds, menstrual cramps, depression, seizures, skin conditions and many other problems and not be aware that a realigned spinal column could greatly improve their health. Millions of people are walking around with many subluxations but don¹t feel anything wrong in their backs or necks so they think their nerves are fine and they never get their spines checked by a chiropractor. How wrong they are! How do you know if you have a subluxation? You go to a chiropractor and get your spine checked and adjusted (if needed).


After all, you get your teeth, eyes and your hearing checked occasionally-why not your spine? It only takes a short time, its fun and your whole nervous system and body will thank you for it.

Chiropractors are doctors. Officially their title is Doctor of Chiropractic which although very impressive sounding isn't terribly easy to say. So we'll refer to them as Chiropractors.


Before North Carolina Chiropractors lay their hands on your back or neck, they have first laid their eyes on hundreds of books. They've studied for at least 8 challenging years at a university and post-graduate levels (at a Chiropractic college). Anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, Radiology, biomechanics, x-rays and spinal adjusting techniques are just a handfull of the topics they've studied.


Chiropractic training doesn't stop at the end of a textbook. Far from it. Before receiving their Doctor of Chiropractic designation, Chiropractic students undergo an intensive and closely supervised internship program at a Chiropractic College Clinic. This is their true training ground, the place where they gain and perfect valuable hands-on healing skills. After years of study, Chiropractic students must pass rigorous National Board and State Licensing Board examinations. That, in a nutshell, is the making of a Chiropractor. All well and good, but what does it mean to you and your neck and back pain? Plenty. Read on.

Research Supports Chiropractic Effectiveness!

Although empirical data suggests chiropractic is a safe, effective means of natural healing, the scientific data is just now beginning to accumulate to support the claims of efficacy and cost-effectiveness.


The RAND Study -- Preliminary reports recently published in 1991 by one of the most prestigious centers for research in public policy confirms the appropriateness of chiropractic treatment for some low-back pain patients. The study is part of a larger, multi-year project designed by the Consortium for Chiropractic Research to help establish standards of care for the chiropractic profession. The Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research (FCER) is assisting in the management of this study.


The Florida Study -- The highlights of this 1988 FCER funded report supports the findings of earlier studies of worker's compensation claims that chiropractic care is more cost-effective than standard medical care in the management of work-related back injuries. The results of this study indicated chiropractic patients suffered shorter periods of total disability, and their cost of care was lower, compared to patients of medical doctors, who were likely to be hospitalized.


The Utah Study -- In another study of workman's compensation claims, this 1991 study found that patients of chiropractic returned to work sooner after an injury, reporting an average of 2 lost work days to 20 under standard medical care. Furthermore, the study revealed that chiropractic care was 10 times less expensive than standard medical care in compensation payouts. Funding of this study was provided by the Workman's Compensation Fund of Utah, Los Angeles College of Chiropractic, and Greenawalt Fellowship Fund.


The effectiveness of chiropractic care has been demonstrated by several other studies:

The Meade Study -- A British comparison of chiropractic care and standard medical care of low-back pain patients, found chiropractic treatment more effective than hospital outpatient management for patients with chronic or severe back pain. The positive effects of chiropractic care in this study were even more evident during the follow-up period. Funding of this study was provided by the Medical Research Council, the National Back Pain Association, the European Chiropractors Union, and the King Edward's Hospital Fund for London.


A 1991 Study at National College of Chiropractic provides extremely encouraging news for women suffering from painful menstruation. This FCER-funded study found that women who received chiropractic spinal manipulation reported significant reduction in back pain and menstrual distreee. A measurable reduction in prostaglandins, the hormonal culprit blamed for menstrual cramping, was also noted.


British Medical Research Council Study A 10 year, multi-center trial comparing chiropractic and hospital outpatient management of 741 patients with acute and chronic mechanical low back pain. Results of the study were reported in the June 2, 1990, issue of The British Medical Journal, and include:

-- Chiropractic treatment was significantly more effective, particularly for patients with chronic and severe pain.


-- Results were long-term --''the benefit of chiropractic treatment became more evident throughout the follow-up period'' of two years


-- The superior results for chiropractic patients were not result of trial errors or placebo.


-- ''The potential economic, resource, and policy implications of our results are extensive. Consideration should be given...to providing chiropractic within the National Health Service, either in hospitals, or by purchasing chiropractic treatment from existing clinics.''


-- An economic analysis, which appears conservative and uses patient numbers reported in 1979, shows savings in excess of 10 million pounds per annum in Britain by having hospital outpatients with back pain treated by chiropractors.


-- The study provides very considerable support of the New Zealand Commission's findings.


The New Zealand Report is one of the most thorough and positive studies of chiropractic care on record. The 20-month project began January 1978 and concluded in October 1979 and was conducted by a government commission. Among the findings contained in the 377 page report were:


-- Spinal adjusting is a vital, impressively safe and clinically effective form of health care.


-- Chiropractors have beyond a reasonable doubt a more thorough training in spinal mechanics and spinal therapy than any other health professional.


-- Chiropractic must be an Integral part of all hospital care.


-- Chiropractic is scientifically based.


The report concluded, ''modern chiropractic is a soundly based and valuable branch of health care in a specialized area neglected by the medical profession. Chiropractic has filled this void with the finest, safest, and most effective health care in the world.''

For more information about chiropractic care and/or spinal conditions, please call 919-467-3362.


Yours in health,


Christopher R. Outten, D.C.