Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) – often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians – practice a hands-on, drug-free approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. 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. DCs may assess patients through clinical examination, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging and other diagnostic interventions to determine when chiropractic treatment is appropriate or when it is not 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 health care providers.
Fundamental Beliefs and Goals
Chiropractors focus on the intimate relationship between the nervous system and spine, and hold true the following beliefs:
Biomechanical and structural derangement of the spine can affect the nervous system
For many conditions, chiropractic treatment can restore the structural integrity of the spine, reduce pressure on the sensitive neurological tissue, and consequently improve the health of the individual.
The treatment concept of chiropractic is to re-establish normal spinal mobility, which in turn alleviates the irritation to the spinal nerve and/or re-establishes altered reflexes.
Known Chiropractic Treatments
Chiropractors use a variety of non-surgical treatments to treat patients with certain types of:
While primarily focusing on treating neuromusculoskeletal disorders, chiropractors are not exclusively limited to problems with the nervous system and musculoskeletal system.
When appropriate, chiropractors refer patients to medical doctors or other health practitioners for treatment of lower back pain. Many chiropractors have a local referral network or work together with other spine specialists in a multi-disciplinary or multi-specialty spine clinic.