Chiropractors diagnose and treat a broad range of physical conditions. Although they are best known for relieving back and neck pain, they also treat headaches and shoulder, elbow, wrist, knee and foot injuries. In recent years, chiropractic has become one of the fastest growing and most popular treatments for sports injuries. Chiropractors represent the third largest group of health professionals in North America, behind medical doctors and dentists.
Doctors of chiropractic are trained in much the same way as doctors of medicine. They are required to take a minimum of four years of university, four years of chiropractic college, and two years of residency before receiving their degree. Chiropractors are trained in the fields of diagnosis, X-ray analysis, neurology, anatomy and orthopaedics, and specialize in the study of manipulations, spinal disease, exercise, nutrition, physiotherapy and sports injury management.
With today’s growing emphasis on treatment and cost effectiveness, chiropractic manipulations are receiving more attention. These manipulations, also know as “adjustments,” improve the mobility and the normal biomechanics of the spine and other body joints, including knees, ankles, elbows, and wrists. This ability to improve the function of the spine and joints without the use of surgery or drugs gives chiropractic a central role in the management of pain; in fact, many studies recommend manipulation as the only safe, effective, and drugless form of initial professional treatment for acute low back problems.