Chiropractic is pretty widely accepted in the medical community, and thus qualifies more as a “complementary” medicine than an alternative one.
The practice focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, including pain in the back, neck, joints, arms, legs, and head. The most common procedure performed by chiropractors is “spinal manipulation” (aka an “adjustment”), which involves applying controlled force (typically the chiropractor’s hands) to joints that have become “hypomobile.” The idea is that joints’ movements become restricted when surrounding tissues are injured either during a single event (tweaking a muscle during a weight-lifting session) or through repetitive stress (sitting with poor posture for extended periods). Chiropractic adjustments of the affected area are intended to restore mobility and loosen the muscles, allowing the tissues to heal and the pain to resolve. Studies of chiropractic generally affirm its efficacy, with research suggesting the practice can decrease pain and improve physical functioning .
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