Should I See a Chiropractor?


A chiropractor is a complementary healthcare professional who focuses on the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system.  Chiropractic is the science of adjusting the spine through manual manipulation.

Doctors of chiropractic believe in the body’s ability to heal itself without the use of surgery or pharmaceutical medicine. Many chiropractic practitioners also give advice on nutrition and how to maintain a proper diet.

Chiropractic is the third largest healthcare profession in the world and is growing at a phenomenal rate every year. There is a trend towards chiropractic physicians (doctors of both chiropractic and medicine) becoming primary care providers for a great number of patients worldwide.

The main theory of chiropractic is that the spine must be properly aligned. If the alignment is not correct, then the nerves will not be able to send the proper signals to their respective bodily destinations. The spinal adjustment is thought to balance the spine, creating good general health.

Chiropractic doctors believe in a holistic method of treating the entire body. One of the main philosophies of chiropractic is that the mindbody relationship is instrumental in maintaining health and optimizing the healing processes.

Chiropractor Information

Chiropractic practitioners trace their art far back into history, citing examples of chiropractic style spinal manipulation dating back thousands of years. In 1895, Daniel David Palmer, a Canadian, founded the modern chiropractic profession in Davenport, Iowa.

A qualified and licensed practitioner is awarded the initials D.C. after their name, to signify that they are a Doctor of Chiropractic. This degree should not be confused with an MD or DO degree.

A chiropractor is a back pain specialist, but not a medical doctor. Chiropractors spend an average of 6 to 8 years in the educational system with many pursuing advanced fellowships after licensure.

A chiropractic doctor must pass a national board exam, as well as a state exam, before they are allowed to practice. A chiropractor must be licensed in the state in which they practice.

Spinal Manipulation Topics

Learn more about the fascinating world of chiropractic medicine with these in-depth articles on the subject:

NUCCA practitioners concentrate on treating one specific type of spinal problem called Atlas Subluxation Complex.

Chiropractic therapy is usually a multifaceted approach to care, with spinal manipulation only accounting for part of the treatment provided.

Chiropractic treatment seeks to prevent disease and injury as much as treat it.

Chiropractic back pain care is the main reason why most patients seek spinal adjustment services.

Vertebral subluxation, also known as subluxated vertebrae, can describe subtle or drastic movement of a spinal bone from its optimal positioning.

Chiropractic for disc disease is one of the more common applications of spinal manipulation.  However, herniated disc chiropractic remains the primary disc-care scenario which motivates patients towards ongoing spinal manipulation therapy.

Spinal stenosis chiropractic may be able to resolve occasional cases of transient stenosis, but is typically more focused on symptom management efforts.

Many chiropractic patients are diagnosed with pinched nerves. However, is chiropractic for pinched nerves an effective approach to care?

Chiropractic for sacroiliac pain utilizes specialized adjustments of the SI joint, sacrum and hips to provide relief.

Chiropractic for scoliosis is one of the more common uses of spinal manipulation in children.

Chiropractic for sciatica provides effective care for some patients, but not all.

Chiropractic for arthritis is a controversial use, since benefits and risks are not exactly objectively clear.

Some patients are injured by chiropractic and many seek compensatory legal damages for their pain and suffering.

DRS Protocol is a focused type of care and the subject of the book, Surgery Not Included.

Good Points Of Chiropractic Back Pain Treatment

Spinal manipulation features a relatively low cost, at least for each session.

Chiropractic adjustments are non-invasive and low risk.

Chiropractic therapy is convenient.

Spinal manipulation is holistic and non-pharmaceutical.

Adjustments can be effective at controlling pain and other symptoms.

Care providers often spend more time and demonstrate more interest in patients than traditional medical workers.

Bad Points of Chiropractic Back Pain Treatment

Treatment must continue long-term in order for effects to last.

Chiropractic does not always receive full insurance coverage.

There have been many instances of injuries from aggressive chiropractors reported.

Recurrent care keeps patient focused on their pain.

Learn about the relationship between chiropractic and strokes.

My Experience with Chiropractic

I do think chiropractic providers are mostly a good bunch and I have been treated by many of them in my lifetime. I have met a few money hungry practitioners, especially at the personal injury mills that I have investigated for the insurance industry. I also met one in upstate New York that insisted the way to a healthy back was to grow a big beer belly to balance your lower spine and wear cowboy boots to optimize the angle of your stance. I am 100% serious, this guy actually exists.

I do like their philosophy on treating the patient, not the injury. I do not like the idea that the treatment must continue for such a long term. I think it is critical for the patient to put the injury behind them, in order to be cured. Frequent chiropractic treatments make this goal impossible. Symptomatic treatment is to be avoided, if at all possible.

However, many doctors do inform their patients that an injury may have resolved and only suggest continuing treatment as preventative health maintenance. At least this way, the patient can choose for themselves whether to continue or not. This is only fair.

My advice on chiropractic is simple. If you are interested in an alternative and natural approach to back care, then you might consider doing some research on local doctors and giving it a try. I bought into the long-term treatment speech and remained in constant care for 18 years, spending lots of time, money and effort pursing therapy which never cured me or even provided any real semblance of pain relief. However, my story is not yours… Many patients have far better experiences with chiropractic care, which is why these specialists are so popular.

Just be careful about ongoing commitments to treatment if the results have not yet been proven to you. However, if you value chiro-care as a great way to maintaining good health through regular maintenance, then this is a different story altogether. Remember, if you mind sees value, your body certainly will, as well.

A special thank you to the chiropractic providers who help me with this site. Your informational guidance is always a big help.

Please read my interview with noted caregiver and spinal decompression specialist Dr. Eben Davis on the San Francisco Chiropractor page.

Back Pain > Chiropractor