What is Chiropractic Medicine?
Chiropractors, also known as doctors of chiropractic or chiropractic physicians, diagnose and treat patients with health problems of the musculoskeletal system and treat the effects of those problems on the nervous system and on general health.
is based on the principle that skeletal joint misalignments interfere with the nervous system and can result in lower resistance to disease and many different conditions of diminished health.
Chiropractors provide natural, drugless, nonsurgical health treatments, relying on the body's inherent recuperative abilities. They also recognize that many factors affect health, including exercise, diet, rest, environment, and heredity. Chiropractors also refer patients to and/or consult with other health practitioners.
Like other health practitioners, chiropractors follow a standard routine to obtain information needed to diagnose and treat patients. They take the patient's medical history, conduct physical, neurological, and orthopedic examinations, and may order laboratory tests. X rays and other diagnostic images are important tools because of the chiropractor's emphasis on the skeleton and its proper function. Chiropractors also analyze the patient's posture and spine using a specialized technique. For patients whose health problems can be traced to the musculoskeletal system, chiropractors manually adjust the skeleton.
Some chiropractors adopt other alternative medicines in their practices, including therapies using water, light, massage, ultrasound, electric, acupuncture, and heat. They also may apply supports such as straps, tapes, and braces to manually adjust the skeleton. Chiropractors counsel patients about health concepts such as nutrition, exercise, changes in lifestyle and stress management, but chiropractors do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery.
In addition to general chiropractic practice, some chiropractors specialize in sports injuries, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics, nutrition, internal disorders, or diagnostic imaging.
Chiropractic requires keen observation to detect physical abnormalities. It also takes considerable manual dexterity, but not unusual strength or endurance, to perform adjustments. As in other health-related occupations, empathy, understanding, and the desire to help others are necassary qualities for dealing effectively with patients.