What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a holistic health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, promoting correct physical alignment to maintain health and wellness without drugs or surgery. It looks at the relationship between the body’s structure and function primarily by focusing on the spinal column and its integration with the body’s nervous system.
The word chiropractic is derived from the Greek and means “perform with the hands.” It is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the arms or legs, and headaches.
Doctors of Chiropractic are usually referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians. They utilize a hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment.
The main component of chiropractic treatment is the manual treatment of the joints, muscles and tendons of the body. The most common therapeutic procedure performed by doctors of chiropractic is spinal manipulation, also called a “chiropractic adjustment.” The purpose of manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled thrust into joints that have become hypomobile – or restricted in their movement – as a result of an injury or dysfunction. The term “subluxation” was the original term created by D.D. Palmer, the founder of chiropractic, back in 1895, to describe these areas in the spinal column that were dysfunctional. Today the term is used by some practitioners, along with intersegmental dysfunction, hypomobility and joint fixation to describe areas of the spine and other joints in the body that are addressed through manipulation.
Tissue injury can be caused by a single traumatic event, such as improper lifting of a heavy object, or through repetitive stresses, such as sitting in an awkward position with poor spinal posture for an extended period of time. In either case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain, and diminished function to a person’s body. Manipulation, or adjustment of the affected joint and tissues, restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, allowing tissues to heal.
Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling. In addition, doctors of chiropractic recognize the value and responsibility of working in cooperation with other healthcare practitioners when in the best interest of the patient.