Web Exclusive: Use of Alternative Medicine Growing

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More people are choosing alternative medicine services than ever before in history.

Alternative medicine includes chiropractic, acupuncture, massage as well as nutritional and herbal solutions for illness.

Sometimes the term complimentary medicine is used. This is because for most people, these services are not chosen as a complete alternative to traditional medical care, but rather as an additional or complimentary form of care. Most people still see primary care doctors but may chose to see a chiropractor for their back pain, for example.


The most popular form of alternative or complimentary medicine is chiropractic. Since the Tennessee Chiropractic Association annual meeting is being hosted at Embassy suites here in Murfreesboro again this weekend, I thought I would highlight some of the facts of this profession.

Chiropractic doctors are licensed by the state of Tennessee as “chiropractic physicians”. The only other two professions designated as physicians are osteopathic and medical doctors.


Chiropractors differ from osteopaths and medical doctors in some significant ways. Chiropractors do not prescribe medication and are not trained to perform surgery.

However, they are recognized as physicians in that they may legally diagnose, order lab tests and radiology testing, prescribe physical therapy, and perform many types of services for which they have been trained.

The chiropractic profession has been around since 1895. It has grown tremendously during the past 118 years.

Today, most insurance coverage includes chiropractic care. In most cases, including Medicare, no referral is needed to seek the care of chiropractors.

Many people are surprised to learn about the extended education required to be licensed as a chiropractor. In my case, I have a bachelor’s degree in addition to a four-year post-graduate college leading to the Doctor of Chiropractic degree.

Prior to becoming licensed to practice in Tennessee I had to successfully pass rigorous national board examinations that took several days to complete. I additionally had to take further examinations to complete the requirements of the Tennessee state Board of Chiropractic Examiners.

I often remember a conversation with an insurance clerk taking my application for car insurance when I moved home to Tennessee after finishing my training more that 25 years ago.

As she was typing on a form she asked, “Occupation?”

”Chiropractor,” I responded.

“How long have you been employed as a chiropractor?” she continued.

“Well, I just finished my internship last week,” I replied.

She looked at me with confusion. She went on, “Internship? Did you have to go to school to be a chiropractor?”

“Yes ma’am. Four years of undergraduate college and then four more years of graduate school after that, followed by additional training in supervised clinical settings.”

“Really?” she replied. “I thought you just hung out with another chiropractor and he showed you what to do.”

It took me a minute to realize that she was completely serious.

I then realized that many people have absolutely no idea what a chiropractor is.

Now, twenty-five years later, more people know about chiropractic care as an option for many health challenges.

It still surprises many to learn that chiropractors treat conditions other than back pain. In my office, for example, back pain is probably responsible for only about half of our cases. Many people seek our treatment for problems involving other joints, such as knees, hips, shoulders, wrists, elbow, ankles, hands and feet. We routinely treat TMJ or jaw joint problems. Chronic headaches usually respond very well.

This is due to the fact that many cases of joint pain arise from problems with the actual function of the muscles and connective tissues that affect the joint, rather than the actual joint surfaces.

Although in some cases orthopedic surgery may be required to reconstruct of repair a joint, in many cases joint pain can be very successfully resolved using manual manipulation, soft-tissue treatment or therapeutic procedures that are offered by chiropractors.

One of the more interesting continuing education sessions I will attend this weekend will be presented by Dr. Tom Hyde, an international expert in soft tissue. Dr. Hyde has worked with hundreds of Olympic and professional athletes to resolve chronic pain issues.

This course will deal with soft tissue origins of pain, such as in muscle and connective tissue. Recent research in the past ten years has revealed very interesting facts about the pain producing aspects of connective tissue. This type of pain affects many patients that experience chronic pain.

I hope you will join me in welcoming the hundreds of members of the Tennessee Chiropractic Association to our great city and invite them to make Murfreesboro their permanent home for their annual convention.


Read more from:
Dr. Mark Kestner, Kestner, Murfreesboro news, WGNS
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