Definition and Overview

Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine that deals with the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. It is especially concerned with spine adjustment or manipulation to alleviate symptoms such as physical pain as well as improve the patient’s health and well-being.

As a form of natural medicine, the procedure doesn’t promote the use of medications, surgical procedures, and other invasive treatments. Instead, chiropractors use techniques that utilize the hands-on approach. An example is deep tissue massage that uses the same strokes as used in classic massage therapy but with varying intensity and deeper pressure, concentrated on tensed, painful areas. Aside from hands, chiropractors can also use their forearms, elbows, and feet to provide a deeper pressure when and as needed. Adjunctive therapies such as the application of hot or cold therapies are also used.

Chiropractors work on adjusting and correcting the misalignment of the spine to encourage a more efficient nerve function. So far, there are more than a hundred different manipulations that can be performed on the spine to achieve the desired results.

Who Should Undergo and Expected Results

Chiropractic medicine can be recommended to anyone, even children. However, it is more popular among people with chronic lumbar (lower back) pain. According to American Chiropractic Association (ACA), at least 30 million men and women in the United States have chronic back pain, which may be traced from acute trauma or gradual muscle injury. The degree of physical pain can be debilitating that it reduces the quality of life of a person.

Chiropractic may also be ideal for people with chronic headaches or those who are suffering from pain due to an underlying disease like arthritis.

During the consultation, it’s expected that the patient would be able to know whether chiropractic is ideal for him and the possible treatment plan.

How Does the Procedure Work?

During the first visit, the patient schedules the best time to visit the chiropractor. Some chiropractors may no longer need to see the X-rays, but to be sure, make sure to ask the clinic or hospital what medical records you have to bring.

During the initial consultation, the doctor would ask the patient different questions like:

  • What is your main concern?
  • Where is the pain?
  • How do you describe the pain?
  • Does it get worse at certain times?
  • What medications have you been taking?
  • What kinds of treatment have you tried?
  • Have you been diagnosed with another disease?
  • What is your lifestyle (e.g., diet, physical activity, stress level, etc.)?

The chiropractor may also request for the patient’s family history.

Once all these data are obtained, an exam follows. The chiropractor will test your reflexes, muscle integrity (such as strength or tone), pulse, and blood pressure. Your posture will also be analyzed.

Depending on the results of the tests and medical review, the chiropractor can then suggest a treatment plan, which may be carried out after the consultation or on a scheduled time.

Sometimes it takes only one session to correct the problem, but in certain cases, the patient may have to go back at least 2 to 3 times to achieve the desired results. Follow-up consultations are performed to see if the sessions have improved the condition of the patient.

Possible Risks and Complications

Sometimes the first few consultations do not create the desired outcome, which is to alleviate pain. This may frustrate the patient, compelling him to abandon the treatment.


  • The American Chiropractic Association
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