Chiropractors are trained as primary care physicians. They evaluate patients’ conditions by listening to complaints and taking a detailed history. They perform thorough physical examinations, which may include orthopedic and neurological exams, x-ray, blood, stool, and urine studies. They reach a diagnosis based upon information provided by the patient and the physical examination and review their findings with the patient. They consult with the patient on treatments available to them, including referral to an appropriate specialist when necessary. They recommend a treatment plan and obtain consent to begin treatment.
The primary treatment provided by a chiropractor is an adjustment. An adjustment is performed by placing the patient in a position that gaps specific joints of the spine that exhibit abnormal motion, then applying a quick stretch to those joints controlling the direction, speed, and depth of the adjustment. These scientifically supported chiropractic adjustments restore joint motion, reduce inflammation and pain, and restore function to nerves that are adversely affected by the abnormal joints. Adjustments are unique to the chiropractic profession and distinctly separate from the manipulations and mobilizations performed by physical therapists, osteopaths, and medical doctors.
In addition to the adjustment, the treatment plan may include chiropractic physiological therapeutics such as hot and cold packs, therapeutic ultrasound and electrical muscular stimulation. Also included are rehabilitative stretching programs, controlled exercises, lifestyle and nutritional advice as therapeutic support and prevention of future recurrence.