Chiropractic treatment is a noninvasive, hands-on treatment of the spine which requires no medication, surgery, or hospitalization.

Since 2012, the number of adults choosing and using chiropractic care has increased from 9.1 percent to 10.3 percent in 2017, and the numbers continue to rise.

If you listen to some of the common complaints from individuals, both young and old, you'll soon discover that many of their issues with pain and discomfort emanate from the lower or middle portion of their back and/or neck.

Spine and neck pain can be a result of any number of causes, from as severe as a major automobile accident, sport, or exercise injury, to improper lifting, normal or crazy sex, minor or major falls -- even just getting out of the bed in the morning or a sudden or slow intense movement.

The fact remains, minor and major spinal injuries happen to people every day.


Photo Courtesy: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

According to chiropractor Dr. Phillip Nicolas of Columbia, Maryland, chiropractic treatment can work for some people, and for others, it may not. Whether chiropractic care is for you will depend on the results of your x-rays, chiropractic exam, the type of injury you have sustained, whether you have severe, chronic pain, and even your physical size, just to name a few variables.

In Dr. Nicolas’s book, The Best Kept Secret to Neck and Back Pain Relief – A Chiropractic Approach to Pain Management, he shares that studies have shown, in many cases, that chiropractic is beneficial and typically more effective than drugs or surgery, and that chiropractic is one of the safest healthcare treatments available.

 “Suffice it to say," Dr. Nicolas explains, "chiropractic is helping the brain and spine talk to one another without any interruptions.”

When the spine is misaligned, the chiropractic or medical term is vertebral subluxation.

For example, if the spine is out of alignment, your bone or bones may be leaning on one of the nerves in the spine that is connected to your leg, neck, or shoulder, and is causing you pain in that part of your body.

The job of the chiropractor is to identify the problem and gently manipulate the spine to move your spine away from the nerve and relieve this pressure.

Beside relieving back pain, some of the other known and little-known conditions chiropractic treatment has been shown to help include chronic neck pain, migraine headaches, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, Fibromyalgia, sciatica, ADHD, helping infants sleep better, etc.

Chiropractic treatment has come a long way since it first began in 1895, when a man named D.D. Palmer, originally known as a magnetic healer, adjusted janitor Harvey Lillard’s spine. Lillard told Palmer that he lost his hearing shortly after stooping in a cramped position and heard a popping sound in his upper back.

After Palmer adjusted Lillard’s spine, his hearing was restored.  Enduring many doubts and criticism, Palmer claimed this victory, and thus began his new career as a chiropractor.

We have often heard of someone asking another person to crack their back to loosen their joints, but this can be very dangerous, and spinal adjustments should only be performed by a professional Doctor of Chiropractic.

chiropractor adjusting back

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According to the American Chiropractic Association, doctors of chiropractic and medical doctors are very similar in their educational requirements. In fact, in anatomy, physiology, rehabilitation, nutrition, and public health, their training is a bit more detailed, requiring additional hours of study.  For example, a chiropractor must obtain 570 hours in anatomy, whereas a medical doctor is only required to receive 368 hours in anatomy classes. The only subject that MDs have more required class hours is in the field of Public Health, for which the requirement for chiropractors is 70 hours and 289 for medical doctors.

Upon completing their chiropractic training, a chiropractor will have 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory, and clinical experience, which is honored by the U.S. Department of Education.

In addition, chiropractors must pass a national board exam through the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) and become licensed in the state they desire to practice. They must also meet a yearly continuing education requirement in order to stay fresh and current with any new and improved chiropractic methods of treatment and care.

chiropractic care

Photo Courtesy: Maryland Chiropractic Association

So, can chiropractic care really work? In many patients, the answer is yes. However, it may not be the answer for everyone. So in some patients, the answer is no.

Dr. Nicolas is quick to warn that chiropractic care should not be used as an emergency room to relieve intense and sudden aches and pains.

"Subluxations often do not go away with just one adjustment. Several adjustments over the course of a few weeks to several months may be necessary. Remember, chiropractic isn't about simply relieving pain on a temporary basis. The goal is to fix the problem, keep it fixed, and keep it from happening again," he says.

To find a chiropractor near you and receive a professional evaluation of your condition, visit,

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