What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a branch of the healing arts which is
concerned with human health and disease processes. Doctors of Chiropractic are
physicians who consider man as an integrated being and give special attention
to the physiological and biochemical aspects including structural, spinal,
musculoskeletal, neurological, vascular, nutritional, emotional and
environmental relationships. The practice and procedures which may be employed
by Doctors of Chiropractic are based on the academic and clinical training
received in and through accredited chiropractic colleges and include, but are
not limited to, the use of current diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Such
procedures specifically include the adjustment and manipulation of the articulations
and adjacent tissues of the human body, particularly of the spinal column.
Included is the treatment of intersegmental aberrations for alleviation of
related functional disorders. Chiropractic is a drug-free, non-surgical science
and, as such, does not include pharmaceuticals or incisive surgery. Due regard
shall be given to the fact that state laws, as well as the nation's antitrust
laws, may allow Doctors of Chiropractic to utilize ancillary health care
procedures commonly referred to as being in the common domain.
What is a DC?
Chiropractors are first-contact physicians who possess the
diagnostic skills to differentiate health conditions that are amenable to their
management from those conditions that require referral or co-management.
Chiropractors provide conservative management of neuromusculoskeletal disorders
and related functional clinical conditions including, but not limited to, back
pain, neck pain and headaches.
Chiropractors are expert providers of spinal and other
therapeutic manipulation/adjustments. They also utilize a variety of manual,
mechanical and electrical therapeutic modalities. Chiropractors also provide
patient evaluation and instructions regarding disease prevention and health
promotion through proper nutrition, exercise and lifestyle modification among
Chiropractic is a natural form of health care with a rich
history. Spinal manipulation, chiropractic's primary treatment, is used instead
of drugs or surgery to promote the body's natural healing process. One of the
earliest indications of soft tissue manipulation is demonstrated by the ancient
Chinese Kong Fou Document written about 2700 B.C., which was brought to the
Western World by missionaries. Chiropractic became more recognized about 100
years ago when Daniel David Palmer gave an "adjustment" to what was
felt to be a misplaced vertebra in the upper spine of a deaf janitor. The
janitor then observed that his hearing improved.
The word "chiropractic" is derived from the Greek
words "cheir" and "praktkos" meaning "done by
hand". From these simple beginnings, chiropractic became more
sophisticated as a formal educational program evolved, requirements by the
schools were developed, and state and governing laws were established.
Benefits of Chiropractic
Thirty-one million Americans have low back pain at any given
time.1 One half of all working Americans admit to having back
symptoms each year.2 One third of all Americans over age 18 had a
back problem in the past five years severe enough for them to seek professional
help.3 And the cost of this care is estimated to be a staggering $50
Billion yearly--and that's just for the more easily identified costs!4
These are just some of the astounding facts about Americans
and their miserable backs! Is there any wonder why some experts estimate that
as many as 80% of all of us will experience a back problem at some time in our
Because back problems are this common it's probably going to
happen to you too! Shouldn't you find out what to do about it before it happens
rather than after? Why wait until you're hurting to learn about your treatment
When you're hurting you may not give this important decision
the time and attention it needs to make the best choice. Here are the facts
about manipulation as a treatment for back problems:
Manipulation is one of several established forms of treatment
used for back problems. Used primarily by Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) for the
last century, manipulation has been largely ignored by most others in the
health care community until recently. Now, with today's growing emphasis on
treatment and cost effectiveness, manipulation is receiving much more
widespread attention. In fact, after an extensive study of all currently
available care for low back problems, the Agency for Health Care Policy and
Research--a federal government research organization--recommended that low back
pain suffers choose the most conservative care first. And it recommended spinal
manipulation as the ONLY safe and effective, DRUGLESS form of initial professional
treatment for acute low back problems in adults!6 Chiropractic
manipulation, also frequently called the chiropractic adjustment, is the form
of manipulation that has been most extensively used by Americans for the last
one hundred years.7 Satisfied chiropractic patients already know
that DCs are uniquely trained and experienced in diagnosing back problems and
are the doctors most skilled in using manipulation for the treatment of back
pain and related disorders.8 As a public service, the American
Chiropractic Association (ACA) urges you to make an informed choice about your
back care. To learn more about the federal government's recommendations and how
chiropractic manipulation may help you, contact a Doctor of Chiropractic in
1. Jensen M, Brant-Zawadzki M, Obuchowski N, et al. Magnetic
Resonance Imaging of the Lumbar Spine in People Without Back Pain. N Engl J Med
1994; 331: 69-116.
2. Vallfors B. Acute, Subacute and Chronic Low Back Pain:
Clinical Symptoms, Absenteeism and Working Environment. Scan J Rehab Med Suppl
1985; 11: 1-98.
3. Finding from a national study conducted for the American
Chiropractic Association. Risher P. Americans' Perception of Practitioners and
Treatments for Back Problems. Louis Harris and Associates, Inc. New York: August, 1994.
4.This total represents only the more readily identifiable
costs for medical care, workers compensation payments and time lost from work.
It does not include costs associated with lost personal income due to acquired
physical limitation resulting from a back problem and lost employer
productivity due to employee medical absence. In Project Briefs: Back Pain
Patient Outcomes Assessment Team (BOAT). In MEDTEP Update, Vol. 1 Issue 1,
Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Rockville, MD,
5.In Vallfors B, previously cited.
6.Bigos S, Bowyer O, Braen G, et al. Acute Low Back Problems
in Adults. Clinical Practice Guideline No. 14. AHCPR Publication No. 95-0642.
Rockville, MD: Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Public Health
Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, December, 1994.
7.The RAND Corporation reported from its analysis of spinal
manipulation research literature that 94% of all spinal manipulation is
performed by chiropractors, 4% by osteopaths, and the remainder by medical
8. In Risher P, previously cited.