What is Chiropractic
|“Chiropractic is a health care profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on general health. There is an emphasis on manual techniques, including joint adjustment and/or manipulation with a particular focus on subluxations” - World Health Organization (WHO), Guidelines on Chiropractic, 2005|
The practice of chiropractic is recognized and regulated by law in approximately 40 countries, and in many other countries where the profession is established practice is recognized and legal under general law. Common features of legislation and practice in all jurisdictions are:
- Primary care - direct contact with patients
- The right and duty to diagnose, including taking and/or ordering skeletal imaging
- No use of prescription drugs or surgery
The unqualified practice of chiropractic by persons without formal training, but claiming to be ‘chiropractors’, remains a significant problem in some countries without regulatory legislation (e.g. Brazil, Germany, Korea, Japan).
There is substantial evidence supporting the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic treatment for patients with the conditions most frequently seen in chiropractic practice and highly prevalent in the population, namely:
Back Pain: Evidence-based practice guidelines from international and multidisciplinary expert panels endorse chiropractic management for both acute and chronic non-specific low-back pain by recommending spinal manipulation, over-the-counter pain medication, exercise and early return to activities as the most effective and cost-effective management for most patients. Rest beyond a few days, passive machine therapies, prescription drugs and steroid injections are not recommended on account of ineffectiveness and/or side effects. Management should be on a biopsychosocial model e.g. European Back Pain Guidelines - www.backpainEurope.org).
Neck Pain: Evidence-based practice guidelines from similar expert panels (e.g. Quebec Task Force on Whiplash, 1995, Bone and Joint Decade Neck Pain Task Force.) support similar management for non-specific neck pain, the second largest cause of musculoskeletal disability after back pain in developed countries.
Headache: Chiropractic, medical and dental research during the 1990s identified the structures in the cervical spine that cause much headache previously diagnosed as tension headache or migraine, and now identified as cervicogenic headache by the International Headache Society. Clinical trials have now reported that chiropractic management is effective for patients with cervicogenic headache.