Doctors of chiropractic (chiropractors) use spinal manipulation, which is a treatment that uses pressure on a joint of the spine. It is used to improve pain and function.
Manipulation can be done with the hands or a special device. The careful, controlled force used on the joint can range from gentle to strong, and from slow to rapid. Sometimes other joints of the body are also worked on to help treat the spine.
Most chiropractors take a natural approach to promoting health through lifestyle changes, nutrition, and exercise. Many chiropractors have extra training in physical rehabilitation and specific exercise therapy. Some also use nutritional analysis, herbal therapy, and acupuncture.
Chiropractors do not prescribe medicine or do surgery. They are able to order or perform diagnostic testing, including X-rays.
Doctors of chiropractic (DCs) must complete 4 years of professional education from an accredited college of chiropractic. Accreditation is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education through the Council on Chiropractic Education. All DCs must pass a set of four national board examinations to obtain a license and enter practice. Each state board sets its own requirements and then issues the license for the chiropractic doctor to practice in that state.