This Week's Health Article



What Does a Chiropractor Do?

Ensure Healthy Body Biomechanics!

Cleveland University  |  Posted January 10, 2020

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Think biomechanics is some new thing? Don’t tell the ancient Greek philosopher/physician Aristotle. He wrote the first book on the significance of human body biomechanics well over 2,000 years ago. And what does a chiropractor do? Doctors of chiropractic ensure everyone’s biomechanics are working the way they should.

Everyone wants their body to do what they want it to do. The spine and the body’s complex system of bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments are continuously under stress from each’s day movement.


What does a chiropractor do for biomechanics?

Biomechanics is a science focusing on external and internal forces acting on biological systems. For doctors of chiropractic, that translates to ensuring proper spinal alignment, joint movement, and range of motion.

Few people who move and act without pain or restricted movement think much about the biomechanics of the human body. When the body’s intricate system for moving about isn’t working right, however, biomechanics becomes an issue of deep concern. For example:

  • Athletes expect to maximize their running, jumping, and reaching abilities without pain or limitation.
  • Industry employees who lift things daily and operate equipment need techniques that minimize physical strain and prevent injuries.
  • Office workers practice proper posture to avoid neck, back, and extremity pain.


Looking closer at problems with biomechanics

Sure, biomechanics is a bit of a complex subject, so consider two common problems many people encounter: chronic heel pain (plantar fasciitis) and shoulder pain.

In addition to making sure the joints in the foot are mobile and have a good range of motion, a chiropractor typically evaluates other possible causes. Sometimes, the root cause of plantar fasciitis pain is in the knees or lower back.

Chiropractors know that persistent shoulder pain could result from the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint, or perhaps from ribs that are somehow restricted, preventing the shoulder from moving as it should.


What does a chiropractor do? Understanding the profession

The answer to “what does a chiropractor do?” is this: He or she is a healthcare professional who seeks to:

  • Understand how each person’s biomechanical systems are functioning
  • Determine the root cause(s) of musculoskeletal pain or other concerns
  • Make a treatment plan that ensures better health over one’s lifetime

That’s good news, of course. The better news is that chiropractors have a whole-person, non-pharmaceutical approach to healthcare.

Doctors of chiropractic relieve interference caused by disturbed joint biomechanics through manual assessment and spinal adjustment. Chiropractic care is comprehensive healthcare, covering diet, nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle modifications.


What does a chiropractor do? What people appreciate

The general public has a long-standing appreciation for chiropractic care. Nearly 80% of people in an annual Gallup survey said they want a non-pharmacologic approach to physical pain.

Data from the survey shows 97% of past-year patients of chiropractors are likely to see a doctor of chiropractic again when they have back or neck pain or problems. The same report shows 95% of those who choose chiropractors say the care they receive is effective.


Chiropractic is affordable and accessible

Other reasons people turn to doctors of chiropractic are the ease of access and affordability. Chiropractors are the third-largest group of physician-level providers in the U.S., following M.D.s and dentists. Doctors of chiropractic are just as likely to serve small towns and rural areas as they are in larger metropolitan areas.

In addition, the majority of healthcare insurance plans cover chiropractic care. The coverage includes workers’ compensation, Medicare, some Medicaid plans, Blue Cross Blue Shield plans for federal employees, active and retired armed forces members, and treatment at Veterans Administration care facilities.


What does a chiropractor do? Beyond body biomechanics

The philosophy behind chiropractic care fits the future of healthcare. As the number of multidisciplinary, collaborative medical offices continues to increase because they are practical and efficient, referrals between M.D.s and doctors of chiropractic are increasing. The goal of multidisciplinary care is to maximize each profession’s expertise for the benefit of the patient.

Just as someone’s doctor might refer the person to a dermatologist or internist when indicated, so could an M.D. refer their patient to a doctor of chiropractic for a musculoskeletal-based issue or pain. Chiropractors also know that if their initial comprehensive assessment shows a medical issue, a referral to an M.D. might be the next logical step.


What does a chiropractor do? Caring for the human body

In light of this background information, it’s not surprising there’s evidence-based support for chiropractic. As an alternative to pain-relieving drugs (especially opioids), a 2018 article in Harvard University Health Publishing noted that the low back pain guideline from the American College of Physicians
 now includes chiropractic care.

The overall emphasis of the attention to biomechanics by the chiropractic profession offers an exciting path for those considering a healthcare career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, projected job growth for chiropractic is 7% from 2018 to 2028. This growth is not only because people are living longer, but because they are seeking to be active in sports, recreational, and daily-living activities into their later years.



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