What Is Chiropractic?

The word ‘chiropractic’ comes from the Greek ‘chiro’ meaning hand and ‘praktikos’ to practise = to practise by hand.

Chiropractic is the third largest health care profession in the word and is concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the muscles, bones and joints together with the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health. There is an emphasis on manual treatments including spinal manipulation or adjustment1 (World Federation of Chiropractic, 1999).  Chiropractors may also use other joint and soft-tissue manipulation, and include exercise, health and lifestyle counselling.

Chiropractors are particularly interested in the function of the spine and the nerves that exit at each level. Your spinal column is a series of movable bones which begin at the base of your skull and end in the centre of your hips. Thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves extend down the spine from the brain and exit through a series of openings. The nerves leave the spine and form a complicated network which influences every living tissue in your body.

Reduced spinal function can be the result of poor posture, lifestyle factors such as smoking and obesity, accidents, falls and disease. Chiropractors are trained to use their hands to make adjustments to the joints and muscles and to give advice to help patients improve their general wellbeing.

Chiropractic is regulated under the Chiropractors Act 1994 and every chiropractor must be registered with the General Chiropractic Council.


11 – Source: World Federation of Chiropractic, 1999

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