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What Is Chiropractic?

Every once in a while I like to edit how I describe what I do for a living.  Now is one of those times.  I’ll start with what should be the most basic of questions, and yet has a more complicated answer: What is chiropractic?

Chiropractic VS Chiropractor

First, let’s be clear, there is a difference between chiropractic and chiropractor.  I am a chiropractor – trained at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) and licensed by the College of Chiropractors of Ontario (CCO).  I’m a regulated health care provider in Ontario, licensed to diagnosis and treat the neurological and musculoskeletal systems of the human body.


How I diagnose and treat the neurological and musculoskeletal systems depends on the  type of chiropractor I am.  My brand of chiropractic includes the ‘classical’ chiropractic skills of manipulating the spine for restoration of spinal joint mobility and alignment.  My brand, for lack of a better word, also includes evaluating the function and health of the rest of the body too – extremities (shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees, ankles feet, jaw).  And, my treatment approaches go beyond manipulating the spine.  As you may or may not know, I frequently use other methods of treating the body: Cold Laser Therapy, Functional Range Conditioning and related exercise rehab techniques, soft tissue therapies like the Graston Technique, Functional Range Release, manual therapy to the extremities, and custom orthotics.

There are a lot of chiropractors in this city, province, country and around the world.  We all practice a little differently.  By and large though, chiropractors fall into one of two categories: The first category contains the chiropractors that subscribe to the ever-evolving science of manual therapy, diagnosis, and full body assessment and treatment that often incorporates exercise.  The second category contains chiropractors that rely exclusively on spinal manipulation.

Obviously, I fit into the first category.

I make very little distinction between an Osteopath, Physiotherapist, and Chiropractor.  We are all highly skilled manual therapists trying to help our patients recover from injury and optimize their bodies to prevent further injury.  Which professional you see is sometimes dictated by insurance coverage or convenience.  The bottom line for a patient is ensure you are being looked after with the proper diagnosis, skilled hands, and the best treatment options available to you.  With that said, there are distinctions between the types of therapists.  As a chiropractor, I am highly trained in the skill of spinal manipulation.  This is a fantastic tool that I use on a daily basis to help my patients recover from their injuries, reduce pain, and optimize their bodies.  It just isn’t my only tool.  There is nothing wrong, unethical, or incomplete about a chiropractor that only uses spinal manipulation. However, why rely on one tool when there are so many that have strong scientific evidence for helping you recover?

{Note: the way the two categories of chiropractors operate their business does have an ethical difference to it, but I won’t get into that here}

So, what is chiropractic?  

Well, I guess it depends on who you ask?  You didn’t ask, but I”ll tell you my answer anyhow: Chiropractic is the evaluation and treatment of your neurological and musculoskeletal systems. Chiropractic evaluates and treats the bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints and connective tissue that you use every day. This includes, but is not limited to, the spine.  Chiropractic care incorporates whatever form of therapy is required to assist your body in recovery and optimization.  This includes, but is not limited to, spinal manipulation.

As always, questions & comments are welcome.

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