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Although still widely viewed as a branch of alternative medicine, chiropractic is the third largest area of healthcare behind medicine and dentistry. It is the practice of identifying, diagnosing and treating problems associated with musculoskeletal function, particularly disorders affecting the spinal column and the surrounding muscles.
As with all complementary practices, chiropractic does not rely on drugs or surgery. Chiropractors will use a range of techniques such as spinal adjustment and the application of pressure to certain points to treat symptoms, which may include back pain or limited mobility.
Chiropractors might be self-employed professionals or work as employed associates at private clinics or hospitals. Some will travel to visit patients in their homes.
Typically, a chiropractor will discuss health issues, medical history and the reasons the patient has for choosing chiropractic. They will perform any necessary physical examinations on the patient, including x-rays, before devising the best treatment strategy.
They advise patients on ways to maintain good health through exercise, posture and nutrition.
Chiropractors often work alongside other medical professionals in the field of both complementary and conventional healthcare. Doctors will sometimes refer patients to chiropractors if they believe that they will benefit from chiropractic more than conventional methods of treatment such as medication or surgery in extreme cases.
As is the case for all healthcare professionals, keeping patients relaxed and comfortable should be a top priority, along with maintaining extremely high standards of cleanliness throughout the clinic.