Spinal Manipulations: A Case Study in Chiropractic Medicine
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Even before Hippocrates, people have recognized a healthy spine as being vital to maintaining good health. Chiropractors specialize in taking care of the spine, and in turn, keeping their patients healthy. Although chiropractic care has been around for centuries, it is only in the past few decades that people have begun to accept and embrace the benefits a chiropractor has to offer. The most common benefits of chiropractic care recognized by the general public are back and neck pain relief However, chiropractic adjustments can be beneficial to almost any part of the body because the central nervous system stems from the spine. The central nervous system begins in the brain, which contains billions of nerve cells that transmit information from one part of the nervous system to another. From the base of the brain, the spinal cord extends through the spinal column. The spinal cord is composed of millions of nerves, which the brain uses as a pathway to control and govern the function of every organ, tissue and cell of the body. Just as the brain is protected by the skull, the spinal cord is protected by the 24 vertebrae of the spinal column. These vertebrae encase the spinal cord and protect it from injury. In between each vertebra is an opening called the intervertebral foramen, through which each pair of nerves pass. This opening is critical in terms of nerve transmission. A misalignment of the vertebrae can cause interference in nerve transmission and impairment of nervous system function. It is the job of a chiropractor to relieve the stress on those nerves through spinal manipulation. If the vertebrae are properly aligned, impulses can move freely along the nerves from the brain, through the spinal cord, and out to the rest of the body. Misalignments of the vertebrae could be the cause of many common aches and pains. The major complaints chiropractors deal with are back, neck and shoulder pain. However, a misaligned spine can also be the cause of migraine headaches, arthritis, asthma, menstrual cramps, numbness in arms and legs, constipation, insomnia and many other common complaints. In fact, the first chiropractic adjustment documented was performed by Daniel D. Palmer, in which hearing was restored for Harvey Lillard who had been deaf for seventeen years. The patient involved in this particular case study is similar to most of today' s chiropractic patients. She suffers from multiple misalignments, or subluxations, causing abnormal curvature of the spine which is often referred to as scoliosis. The patient's most serious problems occur in the cervical spine which, in turn, cause pressure on nerves and pain in the form of headaches and neck aches.