Chiropractic is a healthcare profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic services are used most often to treat common musculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.
Through their whole-person, patient-centered approach, doctors of chiropractic (DCs) elevate the health and wellness of their communities by helping people of all ages live more fully and actively.
Why Choose Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is the third-largest primary healthcare profession, surpassed in number only by doctors of medicine and dentistry. Doctors of chiropractic treat about 35 million Americans annually.
- DCs are licensed to practice in all 50 states and the District of Columbia–and in many nations around the world–and undergo a rigorous education in the healing sciences at institutions accredited by the U.S. Department of Education.
- A growing list of research studies and reviews demonstrate that the services provided by chiropractic physicians are both safe and effective. The evidence strongly supports the natural, whole-body, and cost-effective approach of chiropractic services for a variety of conditions.
- Chiropractic services are included in most health insurance plans, including major medical plans, workers’ compensation, Medicare, Delaware Medicaid plans, and Blue Cross Blue Shield plans for federal employees, among others.
- Chiropractic is used extensively by amateur and professional athletes, professional dancers, and others to prevent and treat injuries as well as achieve optimal health and functioning.
What is Spinal Manipulation (“chiropractic adjustment”)?
One of the most common and well-known therapeutic procedures performed by doctors of chiropractic is spinal manipulation (often referred to as a “chiropractic adjustment”). The purpose of spinal manipulation is to restore joint mobility and alignment by manually applying a controlled force (by hand or by the use of a gentle instrument) into joints that have become fixated (restricted in movement) and/or misaligned. It may be caused by a single traumatic event, such as the 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, the injured tissues involved undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain, and diminished function for an individual. The spine encases the spinal cord and nerve roots exit through the openings created by two connecting spinal bones (vertebrae). When a problem in the spine exists, the nervous system may also be affected and issues may arise in the areas where the nerves travel and control, such as sciatic pain or radiating symptoms into an arm. Manipulation, or adjustment of the affected joint and tissues, restores mobility, alignment, and nerve function, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, allowing tissues to heal and function normally.
Chiropractic adjustments are typically comfortable and rarely cause discomfort. However, patients may sometimes experience mild soreness or aching following treatment (as with some forms of exercise) that usually resolves within 12 to 48 hours. Compared to other common treatments for pain, such as over-the-counter and prescription pain medications, chiropractic’s conservative approach offers a safe and effective option.