What is chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a system of healthcare focused on restoring, preserving, and optimizing health by hands-on care.
Where conventional or "allopathic" medicine focuses on curing illness through surgery and pharmaceuticals, the goal of chiropractic is to optimize health with a non-invasive approach. Chiropractic's primary avenue of treatment is manipulation the spine and other joints, manual therapy, and rehabilitative exercise programs.
The spine is an important structure that houses and provides protection for the spinal cord, while providing mobility for the body. This dual requirement of strength and flexibility makes the spine a very complex structure, with multiple joints at each spinal segment (the vertebrae) forming the spinal column.
When these joints are not moving or functioning normally, it can affect the nerve roots exiting the spine leading to issues like sciatica and radicular pain. Chiropractic care attends to joint irritations by manually mobilizing these joints. This is a chiropractic "adjustment."
The word "chiropractic" comes from the Greek words cheir (hand) and praxis (action), and simply means "done by hand." Note that the word "chiropractic," while a bit awkward, is the actual name of the profession. A chiropractor practices chiropractic (not chiropracy, chiropractics, or chiropractory).
Chiropractic Physicians are licensed professionals who are trained to diagnose and appropriately care for or refer patients for the care they require. Accordingly, they continually assess their patients from dual perspectives, asking: What might I do for you, as well as, what might you also need today beyond my scope?
Chiropractic patients often visit their chiropractor periodically in order simply to relieve irritations - to get "adjusted." Individuals also seek chiropractic care for back pain, headaches, joint pain, tendonitis, sprains, and many other spine and non-spine related conditions. Some chiropractors further specialize in orthopedics, sports injuries, neurology, pediatrics, nutrition, or diagnostic imaging
Chapman-Smith, D. A. (2000). The chiropractic profession: Its education, practice, research and future directions. West Des Moines, IA: NCMIC Group Inc.
Cherkin, D.C., Mootz, (Eds.). (1997). R.D.Chiropractic in the United States: Training, practice, and research. AHCPR research report. Rockville, MD.: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.
Sportelli, L. (2004). Introduction to chiropractic: A natural method of health care (11th ed.). Palmerton, PA: Practice Makers Products.