Chiropractic: Definition and Overview

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What Is Chiropractic & Is It Safe

What is chiropractic?

Chiropractic is an alternative therapy that seeks to improve nerve transmission through mechanical manipulation of the spinal column. A body of scientific evidence shows that chiropractic can be an effective treatment for some types of low back pain. For example, a review of a number of studies found that chiropractic was effective at treating low back pain if started in the first four weeks of symptoms and used in conjunction with mild exercise and conditioning exercises. Another study found that people with low back pain who visited a chiropractor felt better faster and returned to their daily activities sooner than those who visited a medical doctor.

Is chiropractic safe?

Other claims for chiropractic, however, are unfounded. For example, there’s no proof that chiropractic can effectively treat conditions such as ulcers, allergies, asthma, cancer, and diabetes. Beware of any chiropractor who makes claims like these, who makes you come back for repeated visits, who takes multiple x-rays, or whose adjustments cause pain. And be sure to check with your doctor before visiting a chiropractor.

Originally Published May 19, 2006

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