What is chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a medical discipline that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems and the effects these disorders have on the general health of patients. Chiropractic care is primarily – but not solely – used to treat complaints related to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches. Chiropractic treatments often include spinal manipulation or adjustments and other joint and soft tissue manipulation techniques and can also include exercise, nutrition and health, and lifestyle counseling.

What education does a Doctor of Chiropractic receive?
Chiropractors, like other primary healthcare providers, spend a significant portion of their training studying clinical subjects related to evaluating and caring for patients. This extensive education prepares doctors of chiropractic to diagnose and treat health care problems and to refer patients to other health care providers when appropriate. There are 18 accredited chiropractic colleges in the US recognized by the US Secretary of Education.
What kind of license does a Doctor of Chiropractic have and what do they have to do to maintain it?
Like medical doctors and other health care providers, chiropractors are licensed and regulated by regulatory boards in each state. In order to protect the public safely, these boards ensure that providers meet stringent criteria. Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) must have graduated from an accredited chiropractic college and have passed rigorous examinations offered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Those applying for licensure must past background checks to insure proper credentials and must demonstrate knowledge of the state laws governing their practice.
What can I expect at my first visit?
The first visit with your chiropractor is much like an initial visit with your family doctor. First, a thorough medical history will be taken to determine the state of your health. After taking a complete history, your chiropractor will use a variety of hands-on neurologic, orthopedic, and specialized chiropractic tests to identify problems that may require treatment. These are physical maneuvers and other examinations that assess the function of joints, muscles and nerves throughout the body such as palpation, range of motion, strength, sensation, and reflexes.

The purpose of this initial exam is to determine first of all that there is no serious disease, such as infection or cancer, that may require referral to another medical specialty. Chiropractors are also trained to find other problems (arthritis, for example) that may complicate recovery.

What conditions does a Doctor of Chiropractic treat?
  Chiropractic treatment is most often associated with problems in the back and neck. Issues here can cause pain, numbness, and weakness elsewhere in the body including arms/hands and legs/feet. Back and neck conditions can also contribute to headaches and other disorders. Some patients seek relief from chiropractors for muscle and joint sprains and strains, athletic and job injuries, and trauma from car crashes. The scopes of practice for chiropractic physicians vary by state. Patients seek care from chiropractic phsyicians for a variety of conditions including:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Chronic Neck Pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Forward Head Posture
  • Headache
  • Low Back Pain
  • Radiculopathy
  • Repetitive Stress
  • Stress
  • Subluxation

Discuss any current healthcare concerns with your provider before beginning treatment.