Are Chiropractors Doctors?
I seem to get this questions from time to time: Is a Chiropractor a real Doctor? As a Chiropractor in Colorado Springs, I like to educate our community on a variety of topics and though this would be an opportunity to do something that I enjoy: teach. Just like medical doctors, chiropractors are also doctors. Because the curriculum varies from Chiropractors to Medical doctors, each profession receives different degrees. A Medical Doctor receives a Medical Doctor (M.D.) Degree whereas Chiropractors receive a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) Degree.
After 4 years of undergrad students may apply for entrance into a chiropractic or medical school where they can earn the respective degree based on curriculum. Speaking from experience, students who decide to become Doctors of Chiropractic have a rigorous curriculum including over 4,450 total classroom hours of education. Certain educational subjects such as Neurology, Physiology, Orthopedics and X-ray are more of a focus for Doctors of Chiropractic. Additionally, Chiropractors take 5 National Board Exams (Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 & Physical Therapy) before having the ability to apply for a state license.
History of Medicine
Hippocrates the ancient Greek physician is regarded as the father of medicine. He was admired for his ethical standards which led to the Hippocratic oath. During his lifetime it is believed that Hippocrates traveled throughout Greece and Asia Minor treating patients and teaching pupils and was thought to have taught at the Medical School at Cos. Although much has changed since the time of Hippocrates, one of his most famous quotes may have influenced the beginning of Chiropractic; “look well to the spine for the cause of disease”
History of Chiropractic
The first Chiropractor, Dr. Daniel David (D.D.) Palmer discovered chiropractic in 1895 in Davenport Iowa. He realized that there were many forms of manipulation of the spine that had been performed for thousands of years but that no specific scientific or philosophical rational had been developed to explain the benefits that patients had been experiencing. Dr. Palmer performed the first chiropractic adjustment in September on 1895 after examining a janitor, Mr. Harvey Lillard, who had become deaf 17 years earlier after feeling something “give” in his upper back. After examining Mr. Lillard, Dr. D.D. found a misplaced vertebra (spinal bone) in Mr. Lillards upper back and with a crude adjustment Dr. D.D. replaced the misaligned vertebra. Following the adjustment, Mr. Lillard observed that his hearing had been improved and Chiropractic was discovered.
Following the discovery of Chiropractic many people became interested in Chiropractic including members of older healing professions such as osteopathy. Dr. D.D. Palmer’s son, Dr. Bartlett Joshua (B.J.) Palmer would further his father’s discovery and developed chiropractic and the first state law licensing chiropractors were passed in 1913. Today there are over 70,000 active chiropractic licenses I all 50 states as well as internationally.
Through science we know that the brain controls and coordinated the function of every cell and organ in the body and it uses the nerve system as the roadways for communication. If a nerve that travels down the leg is injured that person may experience sciatica, if a nerve that travels to the digestive tract is injured the person may experience a digestive issue. This is also why I use an instrument that measures for nerve inflammation. Anytime there is an injury in the body, inflammation will surround the injured tissue.
This inflammation changes the temperature of the injured tissue and the instrument that I use compares the temperature of the nerves exiting the spine at the same level. The temperature of these nerves should be very similar IF there is no nerve injury. When a nerve does get injured, I am able to pinpoint which nerve it is as well as if it is a new (Acute) or old (Chronic) injury based upon the temperature of the injured nerve. These two pieces of information (Full Spine Radiograph WITH objective measurements AND measuring for Nerve INFLAMMATION) sets our practice apart from the rest and is what makes me a NeuroStructural Chiropractor.
The Spinal Column
The central structure of the human body is the spinal column which plays many roles in how the body functions. The spinal column is made up of 24 vertebrae (bones) with discs (ligaments) that hold the spinal column together and act as a spacer, so the nerve system can exit between the vertebrae. The spinal column also has three normal curves when looking at it from the side view. These curves act as shock absorbers for the spine allowing the body to absorb external forces easier than it otherwise would. When the structural alignment of the spinal column is within a normal range its job is to allow flexibility & gives support so muscles and most importantly it protects the brain, spinal cord and nerve system.
When the spinal column is functioning properly it plays a major role in our brain health. As our spinal column moves it creates a pumping action called imbibition which causes the cerebral spinal fluid to be pumped around the brain and spinal cord. This pumping action is what allows the body to flush toxins out of the cerebral spinal fluid as well as pump nutrient into the cerebral spinal fluid so the brain and spinal cord get the proper nutrition.
Structural Shifts and Nerve Inflammation
Structural shifts of the spine cause the bone to get STUCK out of proper alignment injuring a nerve. There are multiple issues that occur when this happens. One of the problems is that the nerve system is injured causing a nerve inflammation. When a nerve is injured and inflamed it prevents the nerve system from functioning properly.
The function of the nerve system is to act as the roadways for communication between the brain and the body. Different nerves travel to every cell and tissue in the body so a patient will experience different secondary conditions depending on which nerve is injured and where that nerve is traveling to in the body. A nerve in the lower back will travel down the leg and may cause Sciatic Nerve Pain but nerves in the lower back also travel to the bladder, lower digestive tract and reproductive organs. This means someone with an injury in their lower back can experience a variety of secondary conditions based upon which nerve is injured.
Chiropractor Colorado Springs
As a Chiropractor in Colorado Springs, I use an objective and conservative health care approach focused on the spine and nerve system. We assess how the structure of the spine is directly affecting the nerve system. In our office we run a premium model similar to Luis Vuitton as opposed to a model like Massage Envy. Our office uses objective indicators to identify structural shifts of the spine outside of a normal structural range, similarly to how an engineer assesses the structural integrity of a building. Then we use instrumentation to identify nerve inflammation as the nerve system are exits the spine. Information is paired to create a well-rounded assessment of a patient’s condition which is used to generate a plan to correct the issue. In our office we identify symptoms that are really a secondary condition caused an injured nerve that resulted from a structural shift of the spine.