What Is Chiropractic?

What is Chiropractic?

One of the most common questions for people who have never been to a chiropractor before is, “What is chiropractic?”  Chiropractic is a complimentary and alternative health care profession that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of neuromusculoskeletal disorders in the body.  Chiropractors also focus on the general health of the patient and treat the person as a whole, and not just the symptoms. “Chiropractic” comes from the Greek word Chiropraktikos, meaning “effective treatment by hand.”

— Doctors of chiropractic emphasize the conservative management of the neuromusculoskeletal system without the use of medicine or surgery. —

Doctors of chiropractic emphasize the conservative management of the neuromusculoskeletal system without the use of medicine or surgery.  All chiropractors use thorough examination to diagnose a patient’s condition and arrive at a course of treatment. Chiropractors use the same methods of consultation, case history, physical examination, laboratory analysis and x-ray examination as other health care professionals. In addition, they provide a careful chiropractic structural and biomechanical examination, paying particular attention to the spine.

Image of spinal segment helping to explain what is chiropractic
This is an image of a spinal segment (2 adjoining vertebra). You can see the disc (blue), the spinal cord (pink), and the spinal nerves (yellow).

The examination of the spine to evaluate structure and function is what makes chiropractic different from other health care providers. Your spinal column is a series of moving bones which begin at the base of your skull and end at your tailbone. Thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves extend down the spine from the brain and exit through a series of openings. The nerves leave the spine and form a complicated network which influences every living tissue in your body.  This is why many people can have intense leg pain with a low back injury or tingling fingers after a whiplash injury.

Chiropractic also places an emphasis on nutritional and exercise programs.  This is all part of wellness and lifestyle modifications for promoting physical and mental health. While chiropractors make no use of drugs or surgery, they do refer patients for medical care when those interventions are indicated. In fact, chiropractors, medical doctors, physical therapists and other health care professionals now work as partners in restoring and maintaining the health of their patients.




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