The Chiropractic Health Care Profession
Information from the American Chiropractic Association
Chiropractic 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. These disorders include, but are not limited to: back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches. Doctors of chiropractic (DCs) practice a conservative approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. DCs have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, lifestyle and dietary counseling.
- The essential services provided by chiropractors represent a primary approach for the prevention, diagnosis and conservative management of back pain and spinal disorders that can often enable patients to reduce or avoid the need for riskier treatments, such as prescription opioid pain medications and surgery.
- In 2017, the American College of Physicians released an update to its low back pain treatment guideline that recommends first using non-drug treatments, such as spinal manipulation (a centerpiece of chiropractic care), for acute and chronic low back pain.
- A systematic review/meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2017 supports the use of spinal manipulative therapy as a first-line treatment for acute low back pain.
- Chiropractors’ collaborative, whole person-centered approach reflects the changing realities of health care delivery and fits well into Accountable Care Organization (ACO) and patient-centered, medical home (PCMH) models bringing greater clinical efficiency, patient satisfaction and cost savings.
- In 2015, the Joint Commission, the organization that accredits more than 20,000 health care systems in the U.S. (including every major hospital), recognized the value of non-drug approaches by adding chiropractic to its pain management standard.
- A clinical comparative trial conducted at three military medical centers found that chiropractic care combined with usual medical care for low back pain provides greater pain relief and a greater reduction in disability than medical care alone.
- In another comparative-effectiveness trial, 94% of manual-thrust manipulation (chiropractic) recipients experienced a 30% reduction in their pain, compared with only 54% of medical care recipients.