Chiropractic treatment is an alternative form of medical therapy, the goal of which is to normalize the spine's structure and its function. In 1997, Americans made nearly 192 million visits for care; more than 88 million of those visits were to treat back or neck pain. Doctors of chiropractic care complete a four-year program, and many are required to earn continuing education credits to maintain their licenses.

What Is Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractic medicine is a form of healthcare that focuses on the relationship between the body's structure, primarily of the spine, and its function. Doctors of chiropractic care, who are also called chiropractors or chiropractic physicians, use a type of hands-on therapy called manipulation (or adjustment) as their core clinical procedure.
The word "chiropractic" combines the Greek words "cheir" (hand) and "praxis" (action), and means "done by hand." This is an alternative medical therapy that takes a different approach from conventional medicine.
The basic concepts of chiropractic care can be described as:
  • The body has a powerful self-healing ability
  • The body's structure (primarily that of the spine) and its function are closely related, and this relationship affects a person's health
  • Chiropractic therapy is given with the goals of normalizing this relationship between structure and function and assisting the body as it heals.

Statistics on Chiropractic Care

Statistics relating to chiropractic therapy include:
  • In 1997, it was estimated that Americans made nearly 192 million visits a year to chiropractors. More than 88 million of those visits were to treat back or neck pain.
  • In one recent survey, more than 40 percent of patients receiving chiropractic care were being treated for back or low back problems. More than half of those surveyed said that their symptoms were chronic (recurring).
  • Conditions that are commonly treated by chiropractors include back pain, neck pain, headaches, sports injuries, and repetitive strains. Patients also seek treatment for pain associated with other conditions, such as arthritis.
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