What Is Chiropractic

What is Chiropractic

Albert Schweitzer, the famed medical missionary, once wrote of his fellow physicians: “We are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within each patient a chance to go to work.” While this was a spiritual truth in the 19th century, in the 21st century, it is also a biological and technical one.


Chiropractic is a primary health-care profession that specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and overall management of conditions that are due to mechanical dysfunction of the joints, particularly those of the spine, and their effects on the nervous system.

The Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.): Education and Training

4 years of college (pre-chiropractic training) Premed.
3-5 of chiropractic education with internship
Option of 2-5 additional years of post-doctoral training and/ or residency in specialty fields.
The chiropractic physician is particularly skilled in a drugless, non-surgical and rehabilitative approach to spinal disorders.

What is Chiropractic in 100 words:

Chiropractic is a philosophy of medical care that combines the needs of patients with the current practices and specialties of medicine but with an emphasis on the interrelationships between structure and function and appreciation of the body’s ability to heal itself. There are four key principles of osteopathic philosophy:

  • The body is a single system that includes effects from the mind and spirit as well as the muscles, bones and organs.
  • The body is capable of self-healing, self-regulating and self-maintenance.
  • The structure of parts of the body will effect the functioning of those body parts.
  • Treatment should consider the unity of the body, the interactivity and propagating effects of specific treatment modalities, and harnessing the self regulatory ability of the body as much as possible.

    Click toCompare Medical vs Chiropractic Education

Modern doctors of Chiropractic ( D.C. ), like the medical doctor, ( M.D.) must first receive a 4 year degree taking premedical courses in Anatomy, Chemistry, and Physics. After graduating from college, with a pre-med degree, the Chiropractic student enters Chiropractic school for another four and a half years. Chiropractic doctors take the same courses as medical school doctors and use the exact same books for the basic sciences. The difference is in the treatment courses. Chiropractors take no courses in surgery or pharmacology. Instead of surgery and Pharmacology, Chiropractors take courses in Biomechanics, Engineering, Physics and the study of movement (Kinesiology) and especially manipulation also called adjusting. We also take courses in physical medicine that enable us to use modalities of heat and ultrasound, etc.

Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy (CMT), is a conservative, non invasive therapy, based on the medical cybernetics of STRUCTURE-FUNCTION Inter-relationships.

The basic premise is that the body must be viewed as a structural and functional UNIT. Therefore, one cannot expect to have optimal function without optimal structure. *

Clinically, CMT is a system of mechanically correcting biomechanical displacements to the skeletal framework of the body, for the purpose of normalizing the patient’s structure, and therefore function. This is exactly analogous to what an orthodontist does when making structural corrections to the teeth.

In the long run the body’s structural framework must be considered from an engineering point of view. When the structure is level, within the anatomical limitations of the individual, there will be a maximum balance and stability in the spinal column.

Treatment consists of conservative Chiropractic care designed to remove encroachment neuropathy, restore mobility and maintain the normal structure-function interrelationship of the spinal framework. The improvement resulting from manipulation is due to the gentle stretching of muscles, ligaments and tendons that have become shortened as a result of spasm from the injury. Manipulation facilitates the stretching of the fibrous tissues surrounding the joints of the spine that have become contracted and developed adhesions after prolonged immobility. Manipulation can restore reflex homeostasis.

If the above material is totally confusing, look at Chiropractic like this. A dentist places braces on a patient’s teeth to make a structural change for cosmetic and especially functional reasons. If the teeth are misaligned, the jaw will not function correctly and given enough time, disease (arthritis) will occur.

A Chiropractic doctor makes a structural change, not in your mouth, but instead, the bony framework of your skeleton. Why is this important? Two reasons:

1. If your skeletal framework is misaligned the human body can not function correctly.
2. Because the bony framework of your spine houses the lower extension of your brain, the spinal cord. Your spinal cord and brain control, coordinate and regulate every activity of your body, by receiving and sending nerve impulses. Chiropractors, ostensibly, make sure that you do not have any interference with the nerves exiting your spine. Chiropractic cures nothing. It simply ensures that your body utilize its normal recuperative powers in restoring itself to normal function. Because your structure influences your function, Chiropractors want to make sure that you function at your best.

* abnormal posture, structure or position, results in abnormal loads on the tissue, abnormal stresses and abnormal strains. Over time, abnormal loads cause tissue breakdown and dis-ease or pain is the result.

Note: Archives in Internal Medicine

Chiropractic is an important component of the U.S. health care system and the largest alternative medical profession. Chiropractic has endured, grown, and thrived in the United States, despite internal contentiousness and external opposition. Its persistence suggests it will continue to endure as an important component of health care in the United States. In response to the countless requests for the treatment of pain, chiropractors have consistently offered the promise, assurance, and perception of relief. Chiropractic’s ultimate lesson may be to reinforce the principle that the patient-physician relationship is fundamentally about words and deeds of connection and compassion. Chiropractic has managed to embody this message in the gift of the hands.

chiro- 1. a combining form meaning ” hand “: chiromancy.¦ [comb. form of Gk cheír hand]