Chiropractic 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. Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, but is not limited to only back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.
Doctors of Chiropractic, also 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 are the only professionals trained to diagnose and treat subluxations. Subluxation is the term used to describe the misalignment of the vertebral bones which can cause extra pressure to be put on the nerves exiting between these vertebra, resulting in dysfunction in the muscle, joint, or organ that nerve supplies. Subluxations can results from traumas or accidents, chemical stresses on the body, or emotional stresses on the body. 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.
The most common therapeutic procedure performed by doctors of chiropractic is known as a chiropractic adjustment. The purpose of chiropractic adjustments is to restore joint mobility and relieve pressure on the nerves by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become misaligned and restricted. 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. Chiropractic adjustments can restore mobility and allow optimal nerve function, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, and allowing tissues to heal.