Role of a chiropractor in relieving neck or back pain

What is a chiropractor? The question seems straightforward enough. Yet, because the definition of the term chiropractic remains fluid, pinning down a definition of its practitioners is somewhat problematic. For more than a century, since chiropractic founder Daniel David Palmer first claimed that 95 percent of all diseases are caused by spinal disorders and can be treated through manual manipulation of the vertebrae, the chiropractic profession has tried to define itself.

Today, most people would accept a simplified definition — a health care professional trained to use manual manipulation of the vertebrae to alleviate neck or back pain without medication or surgery. Yet, even more than 100 years after Palmer’s original inspiration, not all chiropractors fall under this simplified definition. Read on to learn about the education necessary to get into the chiropractic field, and the regulations to follow as well as the alternative treatments available to provide you with relief.

Chiropractor regulations and education

In the United States, chiropractic care is regulated state by state. The practice of chiropractics requires a four-year Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree from an institution accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education. Many chiropractors serve an additional two- or three-year residency learning about orthopedics, biomechanics, rehabilitation or other areas of study. All licensed chiropractors must complete competency examinations administered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners.

In essence, chiropractors train under the belief that the body has a powerful self-healing ability and that proper alignment of the spine facilitates the body’s vitality, which Palmer defined as the relationship between the human nervous system and the body’s functionality. This base philosophy diverges between the two categories to which chiropractors historically have belonged:

  • Straights. These traditional chiropractors focus on what they perceive is an interference with the body’s innate intelligence or a metaphysical relationship between the human nervous system and bodily function, as originally asserted by Palmer. Scientific medical diagnosis is de-emphasized by straight chiropractors, who remain distanced from the mainstream medical community.
  • Mixers. These chiropractors typically use more modern methods of examination and diagnosis and generally attempt to achieve acceptance from the mainstream medical community. They blend proven, modern medical techniques with the chiropractic practice of manual manipulation of the spine. These practitioners accept that disease can be caused by something other than interference with the body’s innate intelligence, and might employ physical therapy, chiropractic massage, lifestyle modification counseling, nutrition counseling, hot and cold therapy and other nonsurgical methods of pain management.

Minimally invasive alternative to chiropractic care

If chronic neck or back pain persists after several weeks or months of chiropractic therapy or other conservative methods of treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how a minimally invasive procedure can you help you rediscover your life without neck or back pain. Our board-certified surgeons+ have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from their conditions, setting us apart as the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery.

Laser Spine Institute offers a safer and effective alternative compared to traditional open neck or back surgery as well as a shorter recovery time and a lower risk of complication.^ Instead of cutting through the muscles surrounding the spine, our procedures move the muscles aside to avoid unnecessary disruption. To find out if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient procedures, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a no-cost MRI review.* We are here to help guide you through your journey to wellness.