Chiropractic Medicine 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. Chiropractic physicians have broad diagnostic skills that include clinical examination, laboratory testing, and diagnostic imaging. They are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.
The chiropractic perspective on health and disease emphasizes two fundamental concepts:
- The structure and condition of the body influences how the body functions and its ability to heal itself.
- The mind-body relationship is instrumental in maintaining health and in the healing processes. It looks to address these diseases not by the use of drugs and chemicals, but by locating and adjusting a musculoskeletal area of the body, which is functioning improperly.
Although chiropractic shares much with other health professions, its emphasis and application of philosophy distinguishes it from modern medicine. Chiropractic philosophy gravitates toward a holistic (“total person”) approach to healing which combines elements of the mind, body, and spirit and maintains that health depends on obedience to natural laws, and that deviation from such laws can result in illness.
Chiropractic Philosophy includes:
- Emphasis on patient recuperative abilities rather than surgery
- Recognition that dynamics exist between lifestyle, environment and health
- Understanding the cause of illness in order to eliminate it, rather than simply treat symptoms
- Recognition of the centrality of the nervous system and its intimate relationship with the capacities of the human body
- Balancing benefits versus risks of clinical interventions
- Recognition of the primary importance of monitoring progress closely through appropriate diagnostic procedures
- A patient-centered, hands-on approach focused on influencing function through structure
- Focus on early intervention emphasizing timely diagnosis and treatment of conditions that are wholly functional and reversible