A Chiropractor 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.
Doctors of Chiropractic (often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians) practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.
Chiropractic education is similar to medical education with similar total student contact hours – 4,822 (chiropractic) and 4,667 (medical). Both have studies in basic sciences, clinical sciences, as well as internships.
Doctors of chiropractic may assess patients through clinical examination, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging and other diagnostic interventions to determine when chiropractic treatment is appropriate. Chiropractors will readily refer patients to the appropriate health care provider when chiropractic care is not suitable for the patient’s condition, or the condition warrants co-management in conjunction with other members of the health care team.
The most common therapeutic procedure performed by doctors of chiropractic is known as "spinal manipulation," also called "chiropractic adjustment." The purpose of the manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become restricted in their movement as a result of a tissue injury. 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 for the sufferer. Manipulation, or adjustment of the affected joint and tissues, restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, and allowing tissues to heal.
In many cases, such as lower back pain, chiropractic care may be the primary method of treatment. When other medical conditions exist, chiropractic care may complement or support medical treatment by relieving the musculoskeletal aspects associated with the condition.
Conditions Treated By Chiropractors:
- Neuromusculoskeletal complaints — such as headaches, joint pain, neck pain, low back pain and sciatica
- Spinal disk conditions
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Sprains and strains
- Digestive disorders