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Natural Medicine Q&A
Ask Dr. P
by Kasra Pournadeali, ND
Natural Medicine Specialist

Greetings Journal Reader! As promised, this month’s Ask Dr. P is on Chiropractic. Derived from the Greek “cheir” & “praktkos,” chiropractic literally means “done by hand.” It is thought that the first chiropractic adjustment was done in 1895, although historians note descriptions of soft tissue manipulation in writings from 2700BC. Either way, chiropractic is a powerful practice that can make a difference in your health. Remember, if you like what you see in Ask Dr. P; visit our website at, where you can find some of my prior articles, the last one being on Naturopathic (ND) Medicine. Next month’s column will be on Acupuncture. Enjoy!

Q: Dr. P, what is Chiropractor?

The Washington State Dept. of Health defines Chiropractors (DCs) as doctors specializing in diagnosis & treatment of vertebral (spinal) disorders, and problems with other joints & the musculoskeletal system. Along with DOs (Osteopaths) & NDs (Naturopaths,) Chiropractors perform “manipulation” or “adjustments” of joints; improving alignment, typically relieving pain, and eliminating dysfunction. Chiropractors have, perhaps, the most extensive training of any of doctor in methods of spinal manipulation.

Q: Dr. P, what therapies does a Chiropractor use?

According to Washington State Law, therapies used by Chiropractors can include: joint manipulation, traction, massage, the use of heat, cold, light, exercise, trigger point therapy, and give dietary & nutritional advice, Chiropractors, like other doctors, can order, perform, and interpret X-rays, and perform physical exams of the musculoskeletal system. Unlike other doctors however, Chiropractors do not prescribe medications, perform invasive physical exams (like PAPS,) draw blood, or perform surgery.

Q: Dr P, what is the education of a Chiropractor?

To practice (in Washington State), a person must complete a 4-5 year, 4200 hour, postgraduate, program at an accredited chiropractic college. Two year of undergraduate college study are also required. Once accepted in a program, the chiropractic student must complete courses including differential diagnosis, anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, pathology, gynecology, pediatrics, geriatrics, radiology, spinal analysis and others. Finally, the graduate must pass intensive 4-part board exams in basic sciences, clinical sciences, clinical competency, and practical skills.

Q: Dr. P, what conditions has chiropractic care been shown to help in studies?

Many. Some examples include pain—whether due to recent injury, or one long ago; headaches; long-term, or acute low back pain; and decreasing hospital visits for seniors-- by helping them stay more active. I’ve seen patients improve with manipulation, when suffering from whiplash, disc problems, and pinched nerves, and chronic pain.

Q: Dr. P, where can I find more information on Chiropractic?

I encourage you to visit the website of the Washington Chiropractic Association at Have a great month!

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact the Northwest Center for Optimal Health at (360) 651-9355.

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