What Is Chiropractic

Many of the chiropractic practices are solely dedicated to locating and removing subluxations.

The word "chiropractic" comes from Greek words that mean "treatment by hand," which is the goal of the chiropractor - to use their hands to manipulate the body to help promote healing and wellness.

Daniel David Palmer, a self-educated healer and teacher, began modern chiropractic in the late 1800s, when he performed the first spinal manipulation on a patient. The practice of chiropractic is the largest Alternative or Complementary Medicine health profession.

The philosophy of the chiropractor is based on the following belief statements:

• All body functions are connected and the process of healing involves the entire body

• The key to a healthy body is a healthy nervous system, and a healthy spine in particular. The spinal cord carries information throughout the body and is responsible for all bodily functions including involuntary functions and voluntary functions. When the systems of the body are in balance, it is called homeostasis. Any disorder of the bones, nerves, or muscles can disrupt homeostasis which will increase the risk of health problems and disease

• The human body has an innate ability to heal itself, when the body systems are in harmony


A chiropractor is a medical professional trained specifically to diagnose and treat disorders of the nervous and musculoskeletal system. In their diagnoses, they will often use traditional testing methods such as lab work, MRIs, and X-rays. These traditional methods are often combined with specific chiropractic techniques that involve hands-on manipulations of the body’s joints. Chiropractors may offer nutritional and lifestyle counselling as part of their treatments. Chiropractors do not perform surgery, and elect not to prescribe medications, but will often work closely and directly with other medical professionals, traditional and non-traditional, and will refer a patient when it has been deemed necessary.

Chiropractors believe that one of the key causes of pain and discomfort is the misalignment of the vertebrae within the spinal column, called a subluxation. The chiropractor is able to manipulate the vertebrae and joints to relieve irritation and pressure on the nerves, to restore joint mobility, which helps the body return to homeostasis. These adjustments are performed by using carefully applied pressure, massage, and manual manipulation of the joints and vertebrae.

Many of the chiropractic practices are solely dedicated to locating and removing subluxations. However, most chiropractors these days will also offer many other treatment modalities within their practice, including:

• Herbal Therapy
• Ultrasound
• Physiotherapy
• EMS or Electrical Muscle Stimulation
• Heat/ Cold Therapy
• Acupuncture and/or Acupressure
• Massage
• Traction
• Physical Rehabilitation
• Lifestyle and Nutrition Counseling
• Exercise Programs and Instruction
• Manipulation under anesthesia

Many chiropractors have extensive post-graduate training and have become certified in other treatment areas, such as:

• Orthopaedics
• Neurology
• Sports Medicine
• Nutrition
• Diagnostic Radiology
• Physical Rehabilitation

Chiropractors number more than 50,000 practicing in the United States alone. Chiropractic has come a long way since its beginning. Chiropractic has now become mainstream due to its successes in treating neck and back problems. Some hospitals now have chiropractors on staff, and have been included into the Medicare/Medicaid systems. Chiropractors have been recognized by the court system as expert witnesses in their field.