Chiropractors are specialists in musculoskeletal issues and more.
What Does a Chiropractor Do?
By definition chiropractors are health care providers who focus on nervous system and musculoskeletal issues, as well as general health. Their treatment is not just for neck pain, back pain, joint paint, headaches, and arm and leg pain. Chiropractors perform their hands-on, drug-free treatments for a variety of medical conditions. They can examine, diagnose, and treat patients with chiropractic adjustments, and they can also recommend exercises and stretches and offer lifestyle, ergonomic, and nutritional advice. The chiropractic adjustment, or spinal manipulation, is meant to “restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints” which have been injured or put out of alignment. Manipulating the tissues and joints can alleviate tightness and pain, allowing for the body to heal itself. Chiropractors can work alone or in conjunction with other healthcare professionals, in a variety of settings.1
Are Chiropractors Doctors?
Chiropractors, also known as chiropractic physicians, hold a degree called “Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.)” in North America. Chiropractors must also have a license to practice, and there are regulatory boards that protect the public by handling “standards of practice, disciplinary issues, quality assurance and maintenance of competency”. While chiropractors are available throughout the world, the majority of them are in North America, Australia, and Europe. Chiropractic is governed by the “Councils on Chiropractic Education International (CCEI)”, an international body recognized by the World Health Organization and the World Federation of Chiropractic. Chiropractors are trained in several physical, chemical, and biological sciences with at least 4,200 hours of classroom, clinical, and laboratory experience.2
The Chiropractic Adjustment
Chiropractors have a variety of techniques available to treat patients, including Active Release Technique (ART), Activator, applied kinesiology, Atlas Orthogonal, Graston Technique, Diversified Technique, joint and spinal manipulation and mobilization, manipulation under anesthesia, and spinal adjustment. They also have specialized tables, electrical stimulation, and they may have massage and acupuncture options, as well. The most common procedure is spinal manipulation (SMT), a manual therapy, used to make adjustments to the tissues and spines. Spinal manipulation is especially effective for low-back pain.3 SMT is “performed on spinal articulations which are synovial joints”. The following joints are typically involved: costovertebral, atlanto-occipital, lumbosacral, z-joints, costotransverse, sacroiliac, and atlanto-axial.4 Joint manipulation is typically accompanied by a “popping” or “clicking” sound. This does not mean that joints are cracking. The sound is “cavitation occurring within the synovial fluid” of the joint. Another term for manipulation is “high velocity low amplitude (HVLA) thrust”.5
Learn more about chiropractic treatment sessions.