What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health.  Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.

Doctors of Chiropdan carlsonractic – often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians – practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.

The most common therapeutic procedure performed by doctors of chiropractic is known as “spinal manipulation,” also called “chiropractic adjustment.”   The purpose of this treatment is to restore spinal joint mobility and reduce painful symptoms.   At our office we focus on techniques that do not involve standard “popping” style manipulation.  Treatments include spinal traction, impulse adjusting, stretching, mobilization and individualized exercise.

Spinal damage and injury can be caused by traumatic events, lifting injuries, or through repetitive stresses, such as routinely sitting and repetitively poor posture.   These stresses cause spinal tissue damage and lead to inflammation, pain, and diminished function.  These things can have a negative impact on the brain and nervous system and can lead to a number of unwanted symptoms. Chiropractic treatment to the affected area can help to restore mobility and can alleviate pain and muscle tightness, allowing tissues to heal.


Our treatments focus is on a special kind of spinal manipulation using chiropractic adjusting instruments instead of the standard manipulation most people associate with chiropractic care.

In many cases, such as lower back pain, chiropractic care may be the primary method of treatment. When other medical conditions exist, chiropractic care may complement or support medical treatment by relieving the musculoskeletal aspects associated with the condition.  Our office works very closely with numerous medical facilities in our region to better help our patients.


Doctors of chiropractic assess patients through clinical examination, laboratory testing, MRI, diagnostic imaging and other diagnostic interventions to determine when chiropractic treatment is appropriate or when it is not appropriate.   Our office will readily refer patients to the appropriate health care provider when chiropractic care is not suitable for the patient’s condition, or the condition warrants co-management in conjunction with other members of the health care team.

Information provided by ACA

Chiropractic Research

Numerous studies have shown that chiropractic treatment (manual therapy) is both safe and effective.  The following are excerpts from medical studies.  By examining the research supporting chiropractic care, you will find that chiropractic offers tremendous potential in meeting today’s health care challenges.  If you look to our Spine Center of Williamsburg Facebook page you can review hundreds of studies on spinal care and numerous other health studies.  If you would like to see our Facebook page click on the facebook icon below:

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Just a few studies

“The management of headaches associated with neck pain should include exercise. Patients who suffer from chronic tension-type headaches may also benefit from relaxation training with stress coping therapy or multimodal care. Patients with cervicogenic headache may also benefit from a course of manual therapy.”  Eur Spine J. 2016 Feb 6.   Are non-invasive interventions effective for the management of headaches associated with neck pain? An update of the Bone and Joint Decade Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders by the Ontario Protocol for Traffic Injury Management (OPTIMa) Collaboration.

“Evidence suggests that spinal mobilizations cause neurophysiological effects resulting in hypoalgesia (local and/or distal to mobilization site), sympathoexcitation, and improved muscle function. ”  Mechanism of Action of Spinal Mobilizations: A Systematic Review.  Aguirrebeña IL, et al. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2016

“Those reporting post-SMT improvement in disability demonstrated simultaneous changes between self-reported and objective measures of spinal function.”   Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2015 May 27. Do participants with low back pain who respond to spinal manipulative therapy differ biomechanically from non-responders, untreated or asymptomatic controls?   Wong AY1, Parent EC, Dhillon SS, Prasad N, Kawchuk GN.

“We found no significant association between exposure to chiropractic care and the risk of VBA stroke. We conclude that manipulation is an unlikely cause of VBA stroke.”   Chiropractic care and the risk of vertebrobasilar stroke: results of a case–control study in U.S. commercial and Medicare Advantage populations Thomas M Kosloff1*, David Elton1, Jiang Tao2 and Wade M Bannister2 Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2015


“Results suggest that manual therapy and exercises are effective in reducing pain and functional limitations related to CR” (cervical radiculopathy) .    Comparison of 2 manual therapy and exercise protocols for cervical radiculopathy: a randomized clinical trial evaluating short-term effects.  Langevin P, et al. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2015.


“Patients with chronic low-back pain treated by chiropractors showed greater improvement and satisfaction at one month than patients treated by family physicians. Satisfaction scores were higher for chiropractic patients. A higher proportion of chiropractic patients (56 percent vs. 13 percent) reported that their low-back pain was better or much better, whereas nearly one-third of medical patients reported their low-back pain was worse or much worse.”– Nyiendo et al (2000), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics

In a Randomized controlled trial, 183 patients with neck pain were randomly allocated to manual therapy (spinal mobilization), physiotherapy (mainly exercise) or general practitioner care (counseling, education and drugs) in a 52-week study. The clinical outcomes measures showed that manual therapy resulted in faster recovery than physiotherapy and general practitioner care. Moreover, total costs of the manual therapy-treated patients were about one-third of the costs of physiotherapy or general practitioner care.

 — Korthals-de Bos et al (2003), British Medical Journal

In Comparison to Other Treatment Alternatives

“Acute and chronic chiropractic patients experienced better outcomes in pain, functional disability, and patient satisfaction; clinically important differences in pain and disability improvement were found for chronic patients.”

– Haas et al (2005), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics

“In our randomized, controlled trial, we compared the effectiveness of manual therapy, physical therapy, and continued care by a general practitioner in patients with nonspecific neck pain. The success rate at seven weeks was twice as high for the manual therapy group (68.3 percent) as for the continued care group (general practitioner). Manual therapy scored better than physical therapy on all outcome measures. Patients receiving manual therapy had fewer absences from work than patients receiving physical therapy or continued care, and manual therapy and physical therapy each resulted in statistically significant less analgesic use than continued care.”

– Hoving et al (2002), Annals of Internal Medicine

For Headaches

“Cervical spine manipulation was associated with significant improvement in headache outcomes in trials involving patients with neck pain and/or neck dysfunction and headache.”

— Duke Evidence Report, McCrory, Penzlen, Hasselblad, Gray (2001)

“The results of this study show that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches. . . Four weeks after cessation of treatment . . . the patients who received spinal manipulative therapy experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in all major outcomes in contrast to the patients that received amitriptyline therapy, who reverted to baseline values.” ‘

— Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Boline et al. (1995)

Cost Effectiveness

“Chiropractic care appeared relatively cost-effective for the treatment of chronic low-back pain. Chiropractic and medical care performed comparably for acute patients. Practice-based clinical outcomes were consistent with systematic reviews of spinal manipulative efficacy: manipulation-based therapy is at least as good as and, in some cases, better than other therapeusis.”

– Haas et al (2005), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics

Patient Satisfaction

“Chiropractic patients were found to be more satisfied with their back care providers after four weeks of treatment than were medical patients. Results from observational studies suggested that back pain patients are more satisfied with chiropractic care than with medical care. Additionally, studies conclude that patients are more satisfied with chiropractic care than they were with physical therapy after six weeks.”

— Hertzman-Miller et al (2002), American Journal of Public Health

Popularity of Chiropractic

“Chiropractic is the largest, most regulated, and best recognized of the complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) professions. CAM patient surveys show that chiropractors are used more often than any other alternative provider group and patient satisfaction with chiropractic care is very high. There is steadily increasing patient use of chiropractic in the United States, which has tripled in the past two decades.”

– Meeker, Haldeman (2002), Annals of Internal Medicine

Re-printed with the permission of ACA

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