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The word chiropractic comes from the Greek words, "chiro," meaning hand, and "practic," meaning practice, or treatment. Thus, "treatment by hand" is an appropriate definition since chiropractors typically use their hands to manipulate different parts of the body in an effort to promote healing and wellness.
A chiropractor, also known as a doctor of chiropractic (D.C.), diagnoses and treats a broad range of physical conditions in patients with muscular, nervous, and skeletal problems, especially the spine.
A branch of the healing arts concerned with disease processes, chiropractic care is a recognized form of therapy that focuses on improving your overall health and well-being without the use of drugs or surgery.
Chiropractors make use of conventional diagnostic tests, such as X-rays, MRIs, and lab work, as well as specific procedures that involve manipulation by hand of various parts of the body. Chiropractors are best known for their ability to correct misalignments of the spine, which are called subluxations. But spinal manipulation is only a small part of what chiropractors do as part of an overall plan to relieve pain and mitigate many kinds of ailments. Other kinds of treatments chiropractors are capable of providing include:
- Electric muscle stimulation
- Exercise therapy
- Heat/cold therapy
- Herbal therapy
- Lifestyle and nutrition counseling
- Manipulation under anesthesia
- Physical rehabilitation
- Stress management
Best known for their treatment of back and neck pain, chiropractors sometimes specialize in areas such as sports medicine, orthopedics, neurology, nutrition, internal disorders, and diagnostic imaging. Many back specialists consider chiropractic an integral part of an overall care plan toward treating injury and disease.