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Chiropractic medicine has come a long way

Chiropractic medicine has come a long way

By Jack Taylor

“Just relax,” says my chiropractor as she gently rocks my head back and forth in her hands. A quick movement in her skilled hands and the release in my neck is done. But my back, however, doesn’t want to release so easily.

Rumour has it that up to 80 per cent of us will tweak our back seriously at some time in our lives. The Canadian Chiropractic Association says in Canada this past year, 4.5 million of us visited one of the 8,400 licensed chiropractic doctors practicing in this country. Before touching one patient of their own, chiropractic doctors will have received 4,200 hours of training in core competencies in musculoskeletal conditions. Good thing, too, because my back requires the confident approach of a highly trained professional.

“So this is how you show your trust,” says my chiropractor as she makes another attempt at my back. I try to distract myself with thoughts of all the framed credentials on her wall. Part of her training involved working with cadavers, and with other chiropractor students. Her survival is evidence that something is working right. Her schedule is packed with appointments and the phone in the waiting room is constantly ringing with others wanting to get in. Worksafe BC and ICBC claims are supported.

Chiropractic Medicine has come a long way in the past 100 years. In the 1960’s the American Medical Association set up a Committee on Quackery and waged war on Chiropractic Therapy as an “unscientific cult.” Now, there is even a World Spine Day in mid-October to stiffen our spine against slouching.

The Canadian Chiropractic Association postures itself as a key voice in moving this health care discipline into the mainstream for all. Accredited colleges include the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto and the Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres in Quebec.

I try to show my trust as my chiropractor moves my arms and legs and digs her special tool in behind my shoulder blades. Discomfort should be temporary – I hope. Quick relief is the main reason people come to chiropractors. I soon learn that my posture and exercises outside the office are just as important as the treatment I’ll receive lying on this chiro bed. I’ve learned in my sessions that I shouldn’t be sitting so long; I shouldn’t be heavy lifting the way I do; and I shouldn’t be continuing repetitive movements without stretching and caring for myself.

“Chiropractic” means “done by hand.” The term was coined (after a suggestion by Rev. Samuel Weed) by layman Daniel David Palmer, considered by most to be the founder of this discipline. He theorized that 95 per cent of all disease was caused by spinal subluxations (partial dislocations); that this impinged upon spinal nerves and eventually led to disease. He believed physicians only treated symptoms and not primary causes. There have been some controversies over this belief and practice.

Some chiropractors have inserted themselves into further controversies by claiming expertise in immunizations, pasteurization, food technology, prescription drugs and even surgical procedures.

In the early days of this practice, chiropractors faced jail for “practicing medicine without a license.” In 1966 a legal effort was made in the US to eliminate the practice. A 1987 court decision opened the door for chiropractic therapy and now it is not unusual that there is reimbursement through insurance coverage for employees.

Fraser Chiropractic Group and Massage Therapy has been rated among the top 10 clinics in Vancouver. Dr. Ray Zindler began practicing his craft in 1957 and now works with his son Randy and Dr. Mahin Darabi. Since 1964, 20,000 patients have been served by their hands. A quick survey of patients in the waiting room shows most are highly satisfied. They like the extended time given them compared to a visit with their family doctor. They like the sense of understanding; information about the cause of their pain; feeling welcome; and the touch.

Husband/wife chiropractic team Dr. Kim Greene-Deslauriers and Dr. Pierre Deslauriers both experienced debilitating headaches that eventually led them to seek the help of a chiropractor. The results were so life-changing that the two have trained and opened their own practice in White Rock. They emphasize that chiropractic is “not only for pain relief but for whole body wellness.” The Deslauriers believe their discipline can assist everyone from newborns to seniors. Their website encourages self-care too, such as 30 minutes of daily exercise, frequent laughter and a healthy diet including apples, ginger, cherry juice and spinach.

Chiropractors focus on the relationship between our structure and our function, discerning how that relationship impacts our overall health. After only a few sessions with a chiropractor, it’s clear that I need to take a more active role in my body’s health: ice packs, stretching exercises and Epsom salt baths are meant to be part of my daily routine. Even chiropractors can only do so much. My well-being is ultimately my responsibility and in the hands of my Creator.

Author: Steve Almond

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