We’re glad you asked! Chiropractic is a health care profession and a type of treatment (i.e. chiropractic adjustment). There are many different definitions, but they all seem to agree that chiropractic is a profession of health care that attempts to assist the body in achieving or maintaining health without using drugs or surgery. It primarily utilizes chiropractic adjustments to improve the structure and function of the nervous and musculoskeletal systems and the parts of the body that are affected by them. However chiropractors also treat muscles and other soft tissue injuries also. Chiropractic often uses other modalities for this purpose, such as electric stimulation, ice, heat low level laser therapy, ultrasound, and exercises.
Addressing the Root of the Problem
The nervous system serves as the body’s communication system. If this communication is inhibited, then it can’t pass signals as well as it should, and poor function or pain may result. Pain in your arm or hand may actually be caused by a problem in your neck, where the nerves connecting to that hand originate. A qualified chiropractor can examine you for dysfunction and enable you to function better thus allowing your body to perform better rather than just reducing your pain. Pain relief is usually a result of better function.
Chiropractors are professional practitioners, delivering long care at a fraction of the cost of drug treatments and surgery, and with greater patient satisfaction.
According to the American Chiropractic Association:
Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic services are used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.
According to the National Institute of Health:
Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on the relationship between the body’s structure—mainly the spine—and its functioning. Although practitioners may use a variety of treatment approaches, they primarily perform adjustments (manipulations) to the spine or other parts of the body with the goal of correcting alignment problems, alleviating pain, improving function, and supporting the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
According to the World Federation of Chiropractic it is:
A health profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health. There is an emphasis on manual treatments including spinal adjustment and other joint and soft-tissue manipulation.
According to the World Health Organization, chiropractic is:
A health care profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on general health. There is an emphasis on manual techniques, including joint adjustment and/or manipulation with a particular focus on subluxations.
According to the Association of Chiropractic Colleges:
Chiropractic is a healthcare discipline that emphasizes the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery. The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the spine) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health. In addition, doctors of chiropractic recognize the value and responsibility of working in cooperation with other health care practitioners when in the best interest of the patient.
They have updated their definition recently to say:
Chiropractic focuses on the relationship between the body’s main structures – the skeleton, the muscles and the nerves – and the patient’s health. Chiropractors believe that health can be improved and preserved by making adjustments to these structures, particularly to the spinal column. They do not prescribe drugs or perform surgical procedures, although they do refer patients for these services if they are medically indicated.
Chiropractic has become a well-recognized and highly respected health care field. Chiropractic services are covered by health insurance, including Medicare, and chiropractors are bound by the same regulations and ethics as medical doctorsand doctors of osteopathy.
Most patients seek chiropractic care for back pain, neck pain and joint problems. However, many patients choose a chiropractor as their primary care doctor, because they prefer treatment plans that do not rely on medication or surgery.
Because of the emphasis on holistic health care, chiropractic is associated with the field of complementary and alternative medicine.