Importance of chiropractic care recognized

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Chiropractors are more than just experts in popping a back into place.

"We are also a primary health care provider just like a general physician," Craig Rummel of Rummel Chiropractic said. "The difference is we look at the body as a whole instead of singling out a specific problem."

That approach to chiropractic health care is holistic, which stresses the patient's overall health and wellness instead of going after the specific ailment with pharmaceuticals.

"Our last resort is pharmaceuticals," Rummel said. "We treat the whole body and try to focus on overall health and wellness first."

Chiropractic physicians treat patients with health problems related to the body's muscular, nervous and skeletal systems by focusing especially on the spinal system.

"Researchers in Canada have found that there are nerves in your upper neck that are directly related to your immune system," Rummel said. "That's what chiropractors have been saying all along."

Kirk McKey said that more and more, research shows the benefits of chiropractic care.

"In a society where we work too much and don't exercise enough, it helps compensate," he said. "Athletes have also started to acknowledge that a balanced muscular/skeletal system improves their performance."

Although they have a different approach than family doctors, chiropractors have a similar process of schooling. They are required to take two to four years of undergraduate education, complete four years of chiropractic school and pass national and state exams.

"Chiropractors take just as many hours of schooling," Carolyn Gochee said. "We go through many of the same classes but in the end we focus on adjusting the body as a whole instead of pharmaceutical solutions."

All three doctors said they treat patients with constipation, morning sickness, migraines and a common cold, among other ailments.

"There is a wide variety of health needs we can provide," Rummel said.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, chiropractors, like other health practitioners, follow a standard routine to secure the information needed for diagnosis and treatment. They take the patient's medical history, conduct physical, neurological and orthopedic examinations, and may order laboratory tests. X-rays and other diagnostic images are important tools because of the chiropractors' emphasis on the spine and its proper function.

In cases in which difficulties can be traced to the involvement of musculoskeletal structures, chiropractors manually adjust the spinal column. How they make the adjustments may differ.

Gochee uses a technique called Sacro Occipital Technique (SOT).

"SOT is considered a more stabilized form of adjustment," she said.

When McKey started his practice 30 years ago, few insurance companies considered chiropractors in their plans. Now nearly all companies accept the profession as a necessary part of health care, he said.

"It has been recognized that the human body requires maintenance care," he said. "It's important for our body to be balanced."

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