What is Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractic therapy focuses on the relationship between the body’s structure­­-mainly the spine-and the body’s function. Doctors of chiropractic, who are also called chiropractors or chiropractic physicians, mostly use a type of hands-on therapy called manipulation (or adjustment). Chiropractic therapy is used most often to treat musculoskeletal conditions-problems with the muscles, joints, bones and connective tissue such as cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.

  • The basic concepts of chiropractic therapy can be describe as follows:
  • The body has a powerful ability to heal itself.
  • The body’s structure (mainly the spine) and its function are closely related and this relationship affects health.
  • Chiropractic therapy is given with the goal of normalizing the relationship between structure and function and helping the body as it heals.
  • Non-manual treatments such as applying heat or ice, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation.

The Uses of Chiropractic

The popularity of the therapy has grown steadily over the last century. What brings this growing flow of patients to a chiropractor? Patients come to the chiropractor the treatment of many ailments, both chronic and acute, and some simply for advice on healthy and holistic living.

Not surprisingly, pain and back problems bring more patients to chiropractors than any other health issue. In one study, back problems leading to pain comprised 70% of all chiropractic treatments: back problems without pain and pain without back problems accounted for just 15% of visits. The types of pain create by spinal misalignment can vary from low back pain to neck pain, headaches to chest pain.

Though pain is the primary reason that patients seek out chiropractic, this therapy may treat much more than simple pain. By adjusting the spine, which influences the nervous system, chiropractors may have an effect on nearly every function of the body. Many studies have been completed on the use of chiropractic for a wide range of diseases and symptoms. According to research, common ailments effectively treated with chiropractic include:

Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain may arise from illness, old injuries or old age, such as arthritis. Many conventional treatments attempt to numb or block nerve transmissions to stop chronic pain, with mixed results. Drug therapies may be effective against chronic pain, but often have serious side effects, especially over time. Chiropractic, through adjustments of the skeleton, can be useful in reducing or even elimination chronic pain, without drugs or surgery.

Chronic Back Problems, Including Scoliosis

This is the classic complaint that started the chiropractic profession. Chiropractors spend much of their education on the structure and function of the spine, and learn to treat many different back problems. For both acute back pain and chronic or inherited conditions, chiropractic offers a range of effective, low cost solutions.


Many headaches, including stress headaches, originate in the neck, shoulders or upper back. Muscle tension and skeletal misalignment lead to nervous system irritation, which can cause headaches. These headaches are effectively treated with chiropractic. Research has shown chiropractic to also be useful with vascular headaches, such as migraines. Chiropractors are also well trained to provide lifestyle and dietary counseling toward preventing future headaches.

Stress and General Wellness

Many patients find chiropractic treatment relaxing. The adjustments release muscle tension, balance the nervous system, and contribute to a sense of calm and wellness. The stresses of modern living are held in muscle tension, generally in the arms, the shoulders, the neck and back. These rigid muscles create stress on the skeleton, pulling the body out of balance. Chiropractic adjustments and other therapies help to reduce muscle tension, and realign skeletal structures.

For these conditions and many others, chiropractic is a well-researched and reasonable therapy to consider. Either alone, or in combination with another therapy, studies have shown that chiropractic will often help you get better faster, and stay healthy longer.

Chiropractors may also be found working in several areas of specialization. Sports Chiropractors work with athletes, both professional and amateur. Several well-known athletes use chiropractic, including Lance Armstrong. Pediatric Chiropractors work with children and give special attention to issues of posture and development toward a healthier adulthood. Chiropractic Nutrition Specialists have additional training in diet, nutrition and nutritional supplements.