What is Chiropractic?

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Chiropractic is an approach to health care that relies on the body’s inherent and natural recuperative powers — a healing science that places emphasis on maintaining the structural integrity of the body — a method of healing treatment that is conservative and that does not use drugs or surgery.

Chiropractic is the second largest of the three primary health care provider segments in the United States. In order of size, based on the number of practitioners and public use, they are the medical, chiropractic and osteopathic branches of the healing arts. The chiropractic approach to human health is based on the premise that the relationship between structure and function in the human body is a significant health factor and that relationships between the spinal column and the nervous system contribute to the disease process.

A doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) is a physician who considers man an integrated being but gives special attention to spinal mechanics, musculoskeletal, neurological, vascular and nutritional relationships.

A chiropractic physician is considered a primary health care provider, and as such a portal of entry to our health care delivery system. The practice of chiropractic is the utilization of the relationship between the musculoskeletal structures of the body, the spinal column and the nervous system, in the restoration and maintenance of health, in connection with which patient care is conducted with due regard to first aid, hygienic, nutritional and rehabilitative procedure and the specific vertebral adjustment and the manipulation of articulations and adjacent tissues of the body. The chiropractic physician offers a natural, drugless, and non-surgical approach to health care and readily refers to the allopathic (M.D.) physician when drugs or surgery are indicated.

Through their education, D.C.’s are qualified to treat a large variety of health problems. They do this non-invasively, i.e. without the use of drugs or surgery. As chiropractic has developed, many practitioners have chosen to specialize in treating certain types of disorders of the human body. Many chiropractors limit their practices to treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. Others treat neurogenic disorders and the neurophysiological components of many varied conditions via body mechanics. Some chiropractors concentrate on finding and correcting vertebral subluxations only. Many practitioners provide immediate crisis care only, while others specialize in treating and rehabilitating chronic or degenerative disorders. Chiropractic treatment of sports injuries is on the rise, and, in fact, many doctors are team physicians for various sports at the amateur, professional and Olympic levels.

Chiropractic physicians, by virtue of their education, are qualified to evaluate permanent impairment and disability, as well as render a professional opinion regarding permanency of that impairment or disability.

The Doctor of Chiropractic

…interviews and consults with the patient, employing every measure of observation that will more substantially profile the patient.

…conducts a systematic physical, neurologic and orthopedic examination, using methods, techniques and instruments standard with all health professionals. He/She also includes a postural and spinal analysis unique to chiropractic diagnosis.

…performs or prescribes patient tests, measurements and evaluations of health status, impairment and disabilities in establishing or revising treatment and preventive programs.

…arrives at a differential diagnosis using diagnostic roentgenology and standard and special laboratory procedures and tests.

…corrects, reduces, mobilizes or immobilizes particular abnormalities, particularly of the spine and pelvis, to normalize structural and functional relationships and relieve attendant neurologic, muscular and vascular disturbances. These methods do not include the use of prescription drugs or surgery, thus avoiding the dangers therein.

…when deemed necessary, prescribes dietary regimens and nutritional supplements to prevent the onset or assuage the existence of some types of dysfunction of the nervous system and other tissues.

…frequently uses physiotherapeutic methods and procedures as adjunctive therapy to enhance reception to and the effects of the chiropractic adjustments.

…evaluates the effects of therapy at various intensities and duration during case management and revises therapy to achieve maximum results.

…often uses first aid, taping and strapping in treating injuries of the extremities, and supportive collars, braces or corsets may also be used during recuperation to assist healing and strengthening.

…provides counseling in such areas as dietary habits, physical and mental attitudes affecting health, personal sanitation, occupational safety, posture, rest, work, rehabilitative exercises, health habits and many other activities of daily living that would enhance the effects of chiropractic health care.

…orients, instructs, directs and evaluates work activities of administrative assistants and paraprofessional clinical assistants.

…may plan and conduct lectures and training programs on health care related subjects for chiropractic staff, students, patients, community groups and industrial plants.

…may plan, develop or participate in research programs and/or in the development of technical articles for publication.

…may limit practice to a specialized area of interest, such as orthopedics or diagnostic roentgenology and attain diplomate status through certified postgraduate and evaluation.

If you would like to know more about Chiropractic, Florida Chiropractic Association is pleased to offer one of the finest publications we have ever come across on the subject: 

Dr. Louis Sportelli’s “Introduction to Chiropractic.”