Chiropractic is a health care approach that focuses on the relationship between the body's structure—mainly the spine—and its functioning. Although practitioners may use a variety of treatment approaches, they primarily perform adjustments to the spine or other parts of the body with the goal of correcting alignment problems and supporting the body's natural ability to heal itself.
A woman performing spinal manipulation.
* people seek health chiropractic care primarily for pain conditions such as back pain, neck pain, and headache.
* side effects and risks depend on the type of chiropractic treatment used.
* chiropractic practitioners in the
* ongoing research is looking at effects of chiropractic treatment approaches, how they might work, and diseases and conditions for which they may be most helpful.
* tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care
What to expect from chiropractic visits
During the initial visit, chiropractors typically take a health history and perform a physical examination, with a special emphasis on the spine. Other examinations or tests such as x-rays may also be performed. If health chiropractic treatment is considered appropriate, a treatment plan will be developed.
During followup visits, practitioners may perform one or more of the many different types of adjustments used in chiropractic care. Given mainly to the spine, a chiropractic adjustment (sometimes referred to as a manipulation) involves using the hands or a device to apply a controlled, sudden force to a joint, moving it beyond its passive range of motion. The goal is to increase the range and quality of motion in the area being treated and to aid in restoring health. Other hands-on therapies such as mobilization (movement of a joint within its usual range of motion) also may be used.
Chiropractors may combine the use of spinal adjustments with several other treatments and approaches such as:
* heat and ice
* electrical stimulation
* rehabilitative exercise
* counseling about diet, weight loss, and other lifestyle factors
* dietary supplements.