What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a branch of the healing arts which is based upon the understanding that good health depends, in part, upon a normally functioning nervous system (especially the spine, and the nerves extending from the spine to all parts of the body). "Chiropractic" comes from the Greek word Chiropraktikos, meaning "effective treatment by hand." Chiropractic stresses the idea that the cause of many disease processes begins with the body's inability to adapt to its environment. It looks to address these diseases not by the use of drugs and chemicals, but by locating and adjusting a musculoskeletal area of the body which is functioning improperly.

The conditions which doctors of chiropractic address are as varied and as vast as the nervous system itself. All chiropractors use a standard procedure of examination to diagnose a patient's condition and arrive at a course of treatment. Doctors of chiropractic use the same time-honored methods of consultation, case history, physical examination, laboratory analysis and x-ray examination as any other doctor. In addition, they provide a careful chiropractic structural examination, paying particular attention to the spine.

The examination of the spine to evaluate structure and function is what makes chiropractic different from other health care procedures. Your spinal column is a series of movable bones which begin at the base of your skull and end in the center of your hips. Thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves extend down the spine from the brain and exit through a series of openings. The nerves leave the spine and form a complicated network which influences every living tissue in your body.

Accidents, falls, stress, tension, overexertion, and countless other factors can result in a misalignments of the spinal column, causing irritation to spinal nerve roots. These irritations are often what cause malfunctions in the human body. Chiropractic teaches that reducing or eliminating this irritation to spinal nerves can cause your body to operate more efficiently and more comfortably.

Chiropractic also places an emphasis on nutritional and exercise programs, wellness and lifestyle modifications for promoting physical and mental health. While chiropractors make no use of drugs or surgery, Doctors of chiropractic do refer patients for medical care when those interventions are indicated. In fact, chiropractors, medical doctors, physical therapists and other health care professionals now work as partners in occupational health, sports medicine, and a wide variety of other rehabilitation practices.


Clinical Biomechanics of Posture, aka, Chiropractic Biophysics (CBP) is a system of chiropractic spinal analysis and care developed by Donald D. Harrison, M.S., D.C., M.S.E., Ph.D., and Glenn Harrison, B.S., D.C. The approach to improved patient well-being, as designed by these doctors, is a mechanistic one.

To some extent, these mechanistic concepts are justified in that the spine and nervous system have many machine-like qualities. The spine is composed of bones, muscles, blood vessels and neural networks which resemble beams, motors, hydraulics and computers, respectively. Ball and Carlson (1) have stated, "The use of engineering modeling in biological systems is now commonly accepted as a logical means of approaching high

Protocol of Care
The CBP protocol of care begins with the initial patient encounter and a case history, followed by a traditional orthopedic and neurological examination. The patient is then analyzed for abnormal posture in every possible degree of freedom of the skull, thoracic cage and pelvis. Next, an exacting series of radio-graphs is performed which will be analyzed using geometry to obtain information for formulating care plans and later to serve as an objective standard against which to evaluate the efficacy of carefully complex mechanisms."

Mirror Image Adjusting
In chiropractic biophysics, abnormal human posture is analyzed and corrected by means of what is termed "mirror-image" adjustments. Basically this is done by first analyzing the standing posture in three dimensions and then stressing the patient's abnormal posture into its exact opposite, or "mirror," image. Once the patient has been pre-stressed into the mirror image, a light adjustment is applied.