Chiropractic is a branch of the healing arts which is based upon the understanding that good
health depends, in part, upon a normally functioning nervous system (especially the spine, and
the nerves extending from the spine to all parts of the body.)
The word chriopractic comes from the Greek word Chiropraktikos, meaning effective treatment
by hand. Chiropractic stresses the idea that the cause of many disease processes begins with
the body's inability to adapt to its environment. It looks to address these diseases not by the
use of drugs and chemicals, but by locating and adjusting a musculoskeletal area of the body
which is functioning improperly.
The conditions which doctors of chiropractic address are as varied and as vast as the
nervous system itself. All chiropractors use a standard procedure of examination to diagnose a
patient's condition and arrive at a course of treatment. Doctors of chiropractic use the same
time-honored methods of consultation, case history, physical examination, laboratory analysis
and x-ray examination as any other doctor. In addition, they provide a careful chiropractic
structural examination, paying particular attention to the spine and extremity joints.
The examination of the spine to evaluate structure and function is what makes chiropractic
different from other health care procedures. The spinal column is a series of movable bones
which begin at the base of your skull and end in the center of your hips. Thirty-one pairs of
spinal nerves extend down the spine from the brain and exit through a series of openings. The
nerves leave the spine and form a complicated network which influences every living tissue in your body.
Accidents, falls, stress, tension, overexertion and countless other factors can result in
displacements or derangements of the spinal column, causing irritation to spinal nerve roots.
These irritations are often what cause malfunctions in the human body. Chiropractic teaches
that reducing or eliminating this irritation to spinal nerves can cause your body to operate
more efficiently and more comfortably.
Chiropractic also places an emphasis on nutritional and exercise programs as well as
wellness and lifestyle modifications for promoting physical and mental health. While
chiropractors do not treat with drugs or surgery, Doctors of chiropractic do refer patients for
medical care when those types of interventions are indicated. In fact, chiropractors, medical
doctors, physical therapists and other health care professionals now work as partners in
occupational health, sports medicine, and a wide variety of other rehabilitation practices.