What is a Chiropractic Practice?

R. Anacan

A chiropractic practice is a clinic that specializes in providing chiropractic care and therapy to patients. A chiropractic practice may consist of one or more doctors of chiropractic and may be a stand-alone clinic or part of a larger health care office. Chiropractic care has grown in popularity as people have become more interested in holistic and non-traditional forms of medicine.

Chiropractors specialize in the neck and spine.
Chiropractors specialize in the neck and spine.

Chiropractic care centers on the neck and spine. Chiropractors believe that neck, head and back pain are a result of structural distortions or misalignments in the spine. These distortions in the spine are known as subluxations. According to chiropractic thought, these subluxations cause pressure on the nerves in the spine, head and neck, resulting in pain and reduced range of movement.

Chiropractors may use an MRI scan to to determine the condition of a patient's spine, neck and back.
Chiropractors may use an MRI scan to to determine the condition of a patient's spine, neck and back.

In many ways a visit to a chiropractic practice is very similar to a visit to a conventional medical office. A patient visiting for the first time may have an initial consultation before being treated. As part of the consultation process the chiropractor may perform an x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or other diagnostic examinations to determine the condition of a patient’s spine, neck and back.

Massage might be part of a chiropractic practice's offerings.
Massage might be part of a chiropractic practice's offerings.

Once the consultation and examination have been completed, the chiropractor will develop a treatment plan for the patient, depending on the patient’s condition and the specific reasons and goals for pursuing chiropractic therapy. Chiropractic care typically consists of the manual manipulation of the spine, neck or back, known as an adjustment, to eliminate subluxations and to restore proper and normal alignment.

When making an adjustment, a chiropractor uses his hands or a specialized tool to place a certain amount of force on the body to move it in a certain way. The adjustments often produce an audible popping sound, which is caused by the release of gas and fluid from the joints. The popping sound is similar to the sound caused by someone cracking his knuckles.

In a chiropractic practice, adjustments are often performed on a specially designed chiropractic table located in a private room, which are similar in appearance to massage tables. In addition to the adjustment procedure, therapy and care at a chiropractic practice may also consist of hot or cold treatments, massage, and electrical muscle stimulation. A typical visit to a chiropractor generally lasts about an hour.

Chiropractic care was invented by Daniel David Palmer in the late 1800s. Palmer believed that many diseases and sicknesses were caused by subluxations in the body. He believed that chiropractic care could treat and cure illness and disease and frequently advocated chiropractic care to the exclusion of all other types of medical treatment. This stance brought controversy and skepticism about chiropractic therapy. Palmer, who died in 1913, did not live to see his ideas gain greater acceptance among the general public.

Chiropractors believe the alignment of the spine and other bones in the body can impact health.
Chiropractors believe the alignment of the spine and other bones in the body can impact health.

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