What is Chiropractic?

BrainandSpineFoundation-colourChiropractic is a branch of the healing arts which is based upon the understanding that good health depends, in part, upon a normally functioning nervous system (especially the spine, and the nerves extending from the spine to all parts of the body). "Chiropractic" comes from the Greek word Chiropraktikos, meaning "effective treatment by hand." Chiropractic stresses the idea that the cause of many disease processes begins with the body's inability to adapt to its environment.

It looks to address these diseases not by the use of drugs and chemicals, but by locating and adjusting a musculoskeletal area of the body which is functioning improperly.

The conditions which doctors of chiropractic address are as varied and as vast as the nervous system itself. All chiropractors use a standard procedure of examination to diagnose a patient's condition and arrive at a course of treatment. Doctors of chiropractic use the same time-honored methods of consultation, case history, physical examination, laboratory analysis and x-ray examination as any other doctor. In addition, they provide a careful chiropractic structural examination, paying particular attention to the spine.
The examination of the spine to evaluate structure and function is what makes chiropractic different from other health care procedures. Your spinal column is a series of movable bones which begin at the base of your skull and end in the center of your hips. Thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves extend down the spine from the brain and exit through a series of openings. The nerves leave the spine and form a complicated network which influences every living tissue in your body.

Accidents, falls, stress, tension, overexertion, and countless other factors can result in a displacements or derangements of the spinal column, causing irritation to spinal nerve roots. These irritations are often what cause malfunctions in the human body. Chiropractic teaches that reducing or eliminating this irritation to spinal nerves can cause your body to operate more efficiently and more comfortably.

Chiropractic also places an emphasis on nutritional and exercise programs, wellness and lifestyle modifications for promoting physical and mental health. While chiropractors make no use of drugs or surgery, Doctors of chiropractic do refer patients for medical care when those interventions are indicated. In fact, chiropractors, medical doctors, physical therapists and other health care professionals now work as partners in occupational health, sports medicine, and a wide variety of other rehabilitation practices.

What Can I Expect on My First Visit to a Dr. of Chiropractic?

The first thing a chiropractor will do is ask you about the health complaints about which you are chiefly concerned. The DC will also ask about your family history, dietary habits, other care you may have had (chiropractic, osteopathic, medical, etc.), your job, and other questions designed to help determine the nature of your illness and the best way to go about treating the problem.

A physical examination will be performed in accordance with your DC's clinical judgement, which may include x-rays, laboratory analysis and other diagnostic procedures. In addition, a careful spinal examination and analysis will be performed to detect any structural abnormalities which may be affecting or causing your condition. All of these elements are important components of your total health profile, and vital to the doctor of chiropractic in evaluating your problem.

An "adjustment," as doctors of chiropractic use the term, means the specific manipulation of vertebrae which have abnormal movement patterns or fail to function normally. Doctors of chiropractic spend years learning motion palpation (the art of examining by movement or touch) and other forms of spinal examining procedures, so that they can administer specific and appropriate spinal adjustments.

Once the DC has identified the problem, he/she will begin care by way of these adjustments or "manipulations." Particular attention will be paid to that area of your spine where a spinal derangement or "subluxation" has been detected. The adjustment is usually given by hand or "activator" type instruments, and consists of applying pressure to the areas of the spine that are out of alignment or that do not move properly within their normal range of motion.

Doctors of chiropractic use many sophisticated and varied techniques, and the specific procedure to be used will be determined and explained completely to you following a careful evaluation of your radiographs and physical findings.

Under normal circumstances, adjustments don't hurt. The patient may experience a minor amount of discomfort during the adjustment which lasts only seconds. Adjustments or manipulations are extremely safe. The risk factor is estimated to be in excess of 1 million to 1.

Chiropractic Research

Due to the lack of funding by government agencies, legitimate, sustained scientific research in chiropractic has only recently become fully established. In 1944, the National Chiropractic Association (NCA) created the Chiropractic Research Foundation (CRF) with the objective of promoting and acquiring funding for the development of research for the chiropractic profession.

During the 1960s, chiropractic educators realized the importance of upgrading educational standards to achieve nationally recognized accreditation. The NCA became the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and the CRF became the Foundation for Accredited Chiropractic Education. What was originally conceived as an organization to support research became an organization to help chiropractic colleges gain accreditation. While this was accomplished in 1974, when the U.S. Department of Health Education and Welfare recognized the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE), and the Foundation for Accredited Chiropractic Education was reorganized as the Foundation of Chiropractic Education and Research (FCER), the emphasis was to remain for several years on education rather than research.

Two important developments in the 1970s expanded the scope of chiropractic research. First, the U.S. Department of Health Education and Welfare sponsored a research conference on spinal manipulation in 1975, which heightened awareness of the need for research on spinal manipulation and other chiropractic-related subject matter. This prompted the organization of the Chiropractic Research Council (CRC) in an effort to bring together the research directors of all the chiropractic colleges. The second important development came in 1979, when the FCER hired a director of research who expanded the research program and established a competitive scientific review process for submitted proposals. The Foundation also implemented an annual research conference for paper presentations, research training, and interprofessional communication. This meeting thrives to this day as the International Conference on Spinal Manipulation, which attracts researchers from different fields worldwide.

Today, research in chiropractic has grown by leaps and bounds thanks to the assistance of a number of other organizations, mostly within the chiropractic profession. The scope of chiropractic research parallels that of medical research, with active research involvement in such areas as basic science, health services, education, and clinical research.

However, until very recently, Federal funding has been virtually nonexistent. Even with millions of research dollars being given to medical research each year, only a small number of Federal grants have been awarded to projects involving chiropractic, and in amounts that pale in comparison to medical grants.

In 1994-5, half of all grant funding to chiropractic researchers was from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (7 grants totalling $2.3 million) and most of the remainder was from the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research (11 grants totalling $881,000) and the Consortium for Chiropractic Research (4 grants totalling $519,000).

Currently there are 14 peer-reviewed chiropractic journals in English which publish the results of chiropractic research, including The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Topics in Clinical Chiropractic, and the Journal of Chiropractic Humanities. Chiropractic research has also been published in scientific journals, although chiropractic researchers recognize that most of their work is read by the chiropractic profession alone. With each passing day more is done to reduce this scientific isolation and expand the scope and appreciation of chiropractic and chiropractic research to the scientific community and the general public.

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Common Conditions That Can Be Treated With Chiropractic Care

  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain Shoulder Blade Pain
  • Low Back Pain
  • Sacroiliac or Hip Pain
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Pain in the Arms, Forearms or Hands
  • Numbness, Tingling in the Upper or lower Extremities

Injuries Resulting From

  • Auto Accidents
  • On-The Job Injuries
  • Slips and Falls

How Can I Find the Chiropractor Best for Me?

Finding the right doctor of chiropractic is similar to finding the right dentist or medical doctor. Consideration must be given to technique, expertise, specialty and various subjective issues such as personality, communication skills and health care philosophy.

The best way to find a chiropractor is check with friends, neighbors and co-workers who may recommend one doctor of chiropractic over another. Ask for an appointment. Let the doctor know of your needs and your long-term health goals. Let the doctor examine you and share his/her findings. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. In numerous studies, doctors of chiropractic have been shown to be among the most patient-centered health care providers.

Usually, within the first few visits you'll know if this is the chiropractor for you.

Chiropractic Philosophy

The chiropractic perspective on health and disease emphasizes two fundamental concepts:

  • the structure and condition of the body influences how the body functions and its ability to heal itself; and
  • the mind-body relationship is instrumental in maintaining health and in the healing processes.

Although chiropractic shares much with other health professions, its emphasis and application of philosophy distinguishes it from modern medicine. Chiropractic philosophy gravitates toward a holistic ("total person") approach to healing which combines elements of the mind, body and spirit and maintains that health depends on obedience to natural laws, and that deviation from such laws can result in illness.

Chiropractic Philosophy includes:

  • emphasis on patient recuperative abilities rather than surgery
  • recognition that dynamics exist between lifestyle, environment and health
  • understanding the cause of illness in order to eliminate it, rather than simply treat symptoms
  • recognition of the centrality of the nervous system and its intimate relationship with the capacities of the human body
  • balancing benefits versus risks of clinical interventions
  • recognition of the primary importance of monitoring progress closely through appropriate diagnostic procedures
  • a patient-centered, hands-on approach focused on influencing function through structure
  • focus on early intervention emphasizing timely diagnosis and treatment of conditions that are wholly functional and reversible

Chiropractic philosophy blends an effective combination of conviction, critical thinking, open-mindedness, and appreciation of the natural order of things. Chiropractic focuses on the establishment and maintenance of a relationship between patients and their environment which is most conducive to functional well-being

Chiropractic Licensure and Education

There are currently 16 chiropractic colleges in the United States, ten of which were established prior to 1945. Over 14,000 young men and women attend these chiropractic colleges each year.

Since 1974, standards for chiropractic education have been established and monitored by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE), a nonprofit organization located in Scottsdale, Arizona. Recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the specialized accrediting agency for chiropractic education, the CCE sets the standards for the curriculum, faculty and staff, facilities, patient care and research.

Admissions requirements of chiropractic colleges are influenced by CCE standards and chiropractic licensing board requirements. A minimum of two years of undergraduate education is required, with successful completion of courses in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, psychology, English/communication and the humanities. Each required science course must also include a laboratory unit.

Sixty credits or more must be completed prior to admission to a chiropractic college. Two colleges currently require 75 units, and one college requires 90 units. Currently, six state licensing boards require a bachelorĂ‚Â¹s degree in addition to the doctor of chiropractic degree for licensure, and that number is continually on the rise.

A chiropractic program consists of four academic years of professional education averaging a total of 4,822 hours of course work. Several areas of study are emphasized during the course of chiropractic education:

  • adjustive techniques/spinal analysis
  • principles/practices of chiropractic
  • physiologic therapeutics
  • biomechanics

The practice of chiropractic is licensed and regulated in all 50 states in the U.S. and in over 30 countries worldwide. State licensing boards regulate, among other factors, the education, experience and moral character of candidates for licensure, and protect the public health, safety and welfare.

The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) was established in 1963 and functions quite similarly to the National Board of Medical Examiners. The NBCE maintains consistency and fairness among the state licensing boards. The NBCE also administers the national board examination necessary to practice as a chiropractor. This exam is divided into several specific sections:

  • Part I covers the basic sciences and may be taken after the first year of chiropractic college education
  • Part II covers clinical sciences and is administered when students are in their senior year of chiropractic college
  • Part III is a written clinical competency examination that requires a student to have passed parts I and II and be within eight months of graduation (or already graduated).

Heritage Chiropractic Clinic         Dr. Geoffrey A. Sandels


Specializing in Spinal and Nerve Rehabilitation in Snellville, Georgia since 1983

2407 Lenora Church Road      Snellville, Georgia 30078       770-979-2731


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Dr. Geoffrey Sandels, D.C
2407 Lenora Church Road
Snellville, Georgia 30078

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Office:  770-979-2731
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email: drgeoff@heritagechiro.net

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