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Is Chiropractic Care Primary Health Care?

By Genevieve Cunningham

Chiropractic and Primary Health Care

Health is one of the most important parts of our lives. It’s not until we begin to lose good health that we truly understand its value. If our bodies are riddled with pain and illness, it’s really hard to live our best lives. Taking care of our health, however, can be a challenge. We know that it involves professional care, but what kind? What’s necessary? What can be left out? The best solution is to keep it simple with primary care and a few additions that can serve as both treatment and prevention.

What is Primary Care?

According to the World Health Organization, primary care is “… an approach to health that aims at ensuring the highest possible level of health and well-being…” Generally, primary care focuses on meeting needs as early as possible. This includes diet and exercise, disease prevention, and treatment as necessary.

How do we find primary care? The easiest way to maintain health is to find a primary care physician -- usually called a general practitioner or family care doctor -- and stick with them for wellness checks, advice, and treatment plans. Primary care physicians are critical in your healthcare plan, and therefore should be someone you trust, someone who listens, and someone who you plan to maintain a solid doctor-patient relationship with throughout your life. If you don’t feel confident in your physician, make a change, as this relationship will be one of the most important for long-term health and wellness.

How Does Chiropractic Fit in With Primary Care and Preventative Treatments?

Along with regular visits to the primary care doctor, it’s important to get extra care and support from professionals who have your best interest in mind. Chiropractic care is a great place to begin. But why? And how, exactly, does chiropractic care fit in with your primary care visits?

The first thing to note is that your chiropractic visits may be more frequent than visits to your primary care physician. The goal of primary care is to introduce the patient to the healthcare system and serve their healthcare needs, whatever that may be. Sometimes this may mean frequent visits, and other times it may mean very few. During these visits, they may offer advice on diet, exercise, and sleeping habits, and will spend time regularly monitoring your overall health and treating various illnesses and conditions.

The goal of chiropractic care is simple: prevention. Though the chiropractor may also treat various conditions, they are most interested in helping you avoid pain, discomfort, and a long-term decline in activity, which eventually turns into a decline in health. This is accomplished through regular chiropractic adjustments. These adjustments focus on the health of the spine and nervous system, but the effects may be felt all over the body. When primary care and chiropractic care are both utilized, we maximize the benefits and, oftentimes, the results.

Philosophical Differences Between Chiropractic Care and Traditional Primary Care

Medicine and healthcare have really changed over the years. Modern technology and new research enables doctors to treat patients more efficiently than ever before. But each form of healthcare still has a set philosophy it follows. This philosophy can very quickly help the patient determine whether a particular form of care should be included in their routine. How do chiropractic care and primary care compare?

  • Primary care - The philosophy behind traditional primary care is to “assess and advise.” A primary care physician will attempt to guide the patient through the complexities of health and wellness, sometimes through treatment, other times through advice, and even by including professionals offering differing services.
  • Chiropractic care - The philosophy behind chiropractic care is that the body seeks balance in order to function efficiently, and in order to maintain that balance, the body must have proper structure. A chiropractor’s approach is holistic in nature -- they’ll look at the whole body and how each aspect affects your health as a whole.

Though the philosophies and methods of treatment vary slightly, the goal of both primary care and chiropractic care is to treat, prevent, and leave the patient in their very best health.

How Does the Holistic Approach of Chiropractic Care Impact Its Treatments?

When you visit the chiropractor, you may be surprised at how much this form of healthcare focuses on overall health. We often envision chiropractic to focus solely on back pain or neck pain, and this can certainly be included. Overall, chiropractic care focuses on the health of the spine, nervous system, and the manner in which the structure of the body works together to create health – or to cause decline.

Does this holistic approach affect treatment options? Absolutely. Chiropractors may choose treatment that serves the long-term goal more than the immediate goal of minimizing symptoms. Do they want you to feel better? Of course! But not at the sacrifice of overall health. One of the best aspects of chiropractic care is the desire to heal the body instead of masking symptoms. A healed body is one that can thrive, which is exactly the goal for regular care.

What Is Chiropractic’s Role in the Modern Health Care System?

With its emphasis on holistic health, does chiropractic care even have a place in modern medicine? Definitely. The desire for natural medicine has steadily increased over the past few years -- or rather the past few decades. Especially in the United States, where medical care is often difficult and expensive, people are looking for healthcare that is less invasive. They want to heal their body instead of opting for temporary relief. This makes chiropractic care the perfect choice to add to regular primary care visits.

Is chiropractic care considered primary care? Maybe it doesn’t actually matter. Maybe most important is that chiropractic care offers something of substantial value in our routines. Something that primary care doesn’t offer. Something that gives our body and health an extra boost. Something that may help eliminate excessive trips to the primary care doctor because our health is constantly monitored and improved.

Primary care is certainly important, but adding chiropractic care may take prevention to the next level and encourage a healthier lifestyle and better health for all.

If chiropractic isn’t primary healthcare, it’s a great substitution.

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