What is Chiropractic?


People often ask, what exactly is chiropractic? The truth is that our profession is widely varied and one person’s chiropractic experience could be vastly different from the next person’s. I believe this to be one of the greatest obstacles in being a Doctor of Chiropractic. It limits what we are able to represent ourselves as to the general public regarding our expertise in helping people. That being said however, since each DC has their own particular niche and style of practice, there surely is a chiropractor for every individual.

A phrase that resonated with me regarding chiropractic was that it could be viewed as the clinical application of common sense. As chiropractic physicians, we strive to find the underlying issue that’s causing the patient to present with their symptoms and not to only mask the pain. After resolution of the presenting complaint, our focus is shifted to active care on the part of the patient and towards prevention of future issues. This is where I see the heart and soul of chiropractic, as Preventative Medicine.

“Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.”

-From the American Chiropractic Association


A Historical Perspective

From Dr. Arthur C. Croft, D.C., M.S., M.P.H.,
F.A.C.O.- Whiplash and Brain Injury Traumatology

1) Chiropractic manipulation predates “modern medicine” by several thousand years. The ancient
Chinese, Japanese, Egyptians, Hindus, Syrians, Babylonians, Tibetans, Sioux, Aztecs, and Mayans practiced it. Hippocrates himself, who is often referred to as the father of modern medicine, wrote several books on spinal manipulation.

2) Chiropractic is licensed as a healing art in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Island, and Puerto Rico. It is included in the worker’s compensation system in all states, and most private insurance companies cover chiropractic services. It’s also covered by Medicare, Medicaid, the Federal employee worker’s compensation, Postmaster’s Benefit Program, and the Mail handler’s Benefit Program. The IRS allows “medical” deductions for chiropractic care.

3) The CCE (Council on Chiropractic Education) is officially recognized as an accrediting agency by the US Department of Education. The CCE is a member of the Council on Post-Secondary Accreditation (COPA) and the Council of Specialized Accrediting Agencies.

4) The following courses are taught in chiropractic colleges: philosophy, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, pathology, radiology, diagnosis and differential diagnosis, biochemistry, pharmacology, microbiology, cellular physiology, biomechanics, x-ray physics, physical diagnosis, neuromusculoskeletal pathology, general pathology, ethics and jurisprudence, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, chiropractic, chiropractic manipulation, and physiotherapy.

5) Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) are required to pass the four-part National Board Examinations, and in some states, a separate State Board Examination before receiving their license. Chiropractic physicians are regulated, in most states, by a State Board of Chiropractic Examiners – a body whose members are appointed by the Governor.