Modern chiropractic began in the late 1800s in northern America, when Daniel David Palmer performed the first spinal manipulation on a patient. Today, chiropractic is the third largest area of medicine, next only to dentistry, and is the largest Complementary and Alternative Medicine (or CAM) health profession in the western world. Chiropractic is based on the scientific fact that the nervous system controls and regulates all body function and that any interference with that function will alter the capability of the body to heal and work correctly. Proper spinal function is essential to optimal health.

Doctors of Chiropractic – often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians – are neuromusculoskeletal specialists who have a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. The objective of the chiropractor is to evaluate, identify and correct vertebral subluxations, articular dysfunctions, which can cause a disruption in proper spinal mechanics and neurologic function.

What truly differentiates doctors of chiropractic from any other healthcare professionals is the fact that chiropractors are the only professionals who are trained to diagnose and treat what are called spinal subluxations. The word “subluxation” comes from the Latin words meaning “somewhat or slight” (sub) and “to dislocate” (luxate). So the term ‘vertebral subluxation’ literally means a slight dislocation or misalignment of the bones in the spine.

When a subluxation occurs, a chiropractor can correct the misaligned bone and allow it to return to its proper position. This procedure is appropriately called an adjustment, and the adjustment enables the body to heal. The chiropractic adjustment is a quick thrust applied to a vertebra for the purpose of correcting its position, movement or both.

Pain treatment:  Manipulation vs Medication

Von Hermann, W. et al. 2013. Spine 38 (7): 540-548

Recovery and quality of life:

Cifuentes, et al. 2011. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 53 (4): 396-404

Safety and effectiveness:

Chapman-Smith, David LL.B. 2008. The Chiropractic Report vol 22 (5): 1-8

Comparison between different types of treatment:

Bishop, et al. 2019. The Spine Journal 10: 1055-1064

Manga, et al. 1993. The Manga Report

Systematic review of the effects of chiropractic:

Hidalgo, et al. 2014. JMPT 22(2): 59-74


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