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Chiropractic: Adjusting Perceptions

Chiropractic: Adjusting Perceptions

By Christopher Coyne

Judging by its status as one of the most rapidly growing ‘alternative' forms of healthcare in the United States, it would appear that more people are taking a serious look at chiropractic as a treatment option. You may have heard conflicting opinions on the science or efficacy of the practice, so Healthy Life decided to talk to someone who could truly answer our questions: a chiropractor. We posed some questions to Dr. Donna Rodriguez, DC of Hapeman-Rodriguez Chiropractic in Elmira about all things chiropractic, to perhaps clear up any preconceived notions we, or our readers might have.

What is chiropractic?

The word Chiropractic is derived from the Greek word Chiropraktikos, "chiro" meaning "hand" and "praxis" meaning "to do." So literally Chiropractic means, "to do by hand." Its premise goes back to Hippocrates the Father of Modern Medicine who said, "Look well to the spine for the cause of disease." Bone setters have been around since the Bohemians, but modern day chiropractic can trace its roots back to 1895. Chiropractors primarily detect and correct spinal misalignments or "subluxations" as we call them, thereby removing the associated nerve interference and restore optimal function to that specific joint.

Who are typically the most common patients for a chiropractor? What conditions do you treat most frequently?

There really isn't a ‘common' patient. Patients range from newborn infants all the way to Centurians. Back and neck pain are the most common complaints, but the list also includes, infantile colic, scoliosis, sports injuries, intervertebral disc disorders, Headaches, sciatica, TMJ dysfunction, carpal tunnel syndrome and other spinal related and extremity complaints. Wellness care and nutritional counseling are also part of our scope of practice.

What might be a condition that a chiropractor can treat that we might not normally associate with the practice?

The founder of Chiropractic, D.D. Palmer's first adjustment was on a man who had been deaf since childhood. After he adjusted him, the man's hearing was restored. D.D. Palmer thought he had discovered the cure to deafness. Hundreds of patients later he found that many other mysterious ailments were being cured with spinal manipulation. While I cannot report seeing a patient cured of deafness, I have been blessed to witness many miracles as have many other health care practitioners. A lot of research has been done by the profession, and chiropractic has been found to be both safe and effective.

Are there different types of chiropractic?

Chiropractic is both an art and a science. There are over 200 chiropractic adjusting techniques. Each graduating doctor has been taught the basics, and then as techniques are refined, the doctor integrates more into their treatment regimen. No two patients are exactly alike. What works for one person will not work for another, so we have to draw from our knowledge base and combine techniques until we find just the right one for that person.

What is the most common misconception that people have about chiropractic medicine?

I think that the most common misconception concerns the work it takes to become a Doctor of Chiropractic. Students are now required to have a Bachelor's Degree, they then move on to chiropractic college, which is 10 trimesters long, taking courses that directly coincide with medical school: Gross and Neuro Anatomy with human dissection, various Physiology and Pathology classes, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Radiology, and others. Then there are clinical courses and adjusting technique courses. After graduation a student must then pass National and State Board Exams. Modern chiropractic is a rigorous, but ultimately very rewarding field of study.


Donna Rodriguez, DC
Hapeman-Rodriguez Chiropractic
460 E. Church Street
Elmira, NY