WHAT IS CHIROPRACTIC?
Chiropractic is an evidence-based, integrative and non-pharmacologic health care profession that focuses on disorders of the locomotor system, and the effects of these disorders and general health. Half of adults in the United States have had experience as a patient of a doctor of chiropractic (DC). 35.5 million adults reported visiting a DC in the last year (Gallup, 2016). DCs are increasingly found in health delivery systems such as multidiscipilinary medical clinics, military and veteran’s health care facilities, and in corporate work-site employee clinics. Chiropractic care is most often sought for neuro-musculoskeletal complaints, including but no limited to:
- Back, neck and extremity pain
- Whiplash-associated disorders
- Sports and other injuries
EDUCATION, CREDENTIALING AND EMPHASIS OF A DOCTOR OF CHIROPRACTIC
Doctors of chiropractic are considered primary care professionals for spinal health and well-being. For the license to practice in each state, DCs complete a typical health sciences-oriented undergraduate education, followed by a minimum of four years of professional education. The credentialing process for DCs begins with the completion of the four-part examination sequence of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, which is then followed by the specific requirements of a given for licensure to practice chiropractic.
DCs practice a drug-free, hands-on approach that includes patient examination, diagnosis, care, and referral or co-management when indicated. Chiropractors are known for the well-studied care of spinal manipulation (chiropractic adjustment), an intervention in which they apply a controlled specific force to spinal or extremity joints in order to enhance motion and alignment and alleviate pain.
DCs have appropriate diagnostic skills for purpose and are also well-trained to:
- Recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises
- Recommend or apply a wide-range of soft tissue mobilizations techniques
- Recommend or apply physical modalities such as heat, laser, ultrasound, electrotherapies
- Provide nutritional, dietary, ergonomic, and lifestyle counseling (weight loss, smoking cessation)
BENEFITS OF CHIORPRACTIC
Scientific evidence and clinical experience indicates that chiropractic care offers the following benefits for many patients:
- Reduction of acute and chronic back and neck pain with improved function
- Reduction of upper and lower extremity pain with improved function
- Relief from certain forms of headache
- Relief from pregnancy-related backache
- Amelioration of many hip, gait and foot problems
- Improvements in general flexibility, stability, balance and coordination
- Improved ability to perform activities of daily living
SAFETY OF CHIROPRACTIC
Chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, is inherently conservative and widely considered safe when administered by a qualified and licensed DC.Nevertheless, all treatments carry some risk that must be considered. Side effects of manual care may include short-lived exacerbation and soreness. Examples where high-velocity manipulation is contra-indicated can include: bone/joint infections, tumors, significant osteoporosis, and in joints containing surgical hardware. Patients with complex co-morbid conditions would benefit from co-management with an appropriate medical specialist.