Chiropractic is a healthcare profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic care is most often used to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches. Doctors of Chiropractic practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to healthcare that includes patient examination, diagnosis, and treatment. Chiropractors are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises as well as to provide nutritional, dietary, and lifestyle counseling.
The most common therapeutic procedure performed by chiropractors is known as spinal manipulation, also called a chiropractic adjustment. The purpose of the manipulation is to restore joint mobility in joints that have become restricted in their movement as a result of tissue injury. Tissue injury can be caused by a single traumatic event, such as improper lifting of a heavy object, or through repetitive stresses, such as sitting in an awkward position for an extended period of time. In either case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation which may result in pain or diminished function. Manipulation helps restore mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness and allowing tissues to heal.
In many cases chiropractic may be the primary method of treatment. When other medical conditions exist, chiropractic care may compliment or support medical treatment by relieving the musculoskeletal aspects associated with the condition. When chiropractic care is not suitable for the patient's condition or the condition warrants co-management with other specialties chiropractors will readily refer patients to the appropriate health care provider.
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