It has been dubbed the Orient wonder of the back pain. Just like acupuncture, chiropractic therapy is a fascination in itself. Chiropractic therapy involves manipulation of the spine to treat an illness. It is considered to be a form of alternative medicine concerned with diagnosis and cure of mechanical disorders associated with the musculoskeletal system.
Historians trace its origin to ancient China. Probably that is the reason why it is called the wonder therapy of the Orient. Some historians have linked it to ancient Greece and Egypt as well. But the purists of alternative medicine think it started a little recently. Chiropractic therapy gained great popularity at the turn of the 19th century when Chiropractic and Osteopathic medicine started gaining root in North America.
How is it done?
Not just anyone is allowed to do this intricate therapy. But when it is done by a competent professional (who is called a chiropractor), it typically involves the following.
Chiropractic therapy involves hands-on and skilled techniques that include mobilization and manipulation. The process is mainly conservative and the treatment tends to involve the following:
There is no evidence that chiropractic therapy is effective except for a limited range of back pains. The research done to evaluate the effectiveness of the therapy is of low quality anyway. Many clinical studies about chiropractic therapy produce conflicting results. Just like other medical treatments, chiropractic therapy basks in the placebo responses. For this reason, it is hard to arrive at a specific conclusion to what spine related illness can be controlled by the chiropractic therapy. But there have been plenty of evidence supporting the effectiveness of the therapy. The therapy has been found to be effective against:
Low back pain – A study done in 2013 by Cochrane review found out that chiropractic therapy was significantly effective against benign lower back pains.
Radiculopathy – A systemic review conducted n 2013 indicates that chiropractic therapy can be used to effectively treat acute lumbar radiculopathy, sciatica, and lumbar disc herniation. But the evidence failed to show its effectiveness against chronic lumbar and spine related complications.
Whiplash and the related neck pains – a systemic study conducted in 2013 collected enough data to suggest that chiropractic therapy can be an effective long and short term treatment technique for neck pain. There is, however, no consensus on whether the technique is fully effective.
A headache – chiropractic therapy has been found to be as effective as topiramate and propranolol against migraine headaches.
Knee and joint extremities – chiropractic manipulation is highly effective for aching joints and cases of knee osteoarthritis. But little research has been done on the efficacy of this therapy on upper limbs and shoulder pains.
Chiropractic therapy is an essential part of alternative medicine and as its popularity rises, it is going to prove useful to many patients with bone and spine related illnesses.