Chirotherapy is a primary health-care profession that specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and overall management of conditions that are due to problems with the joints, ligaments, tendons and nerves, particularly those of the spine. Treatment consists of a wide range of manipulative techniques designed to improve the function of the joints, relieving pain and muscle spasm. Chiropractic does not involve the use of any drugs or surgery.
This manual medicine carried out by doctors requires a holistic diagnosis of all health disorders, and this is placed in relation to the biomechanical disturbances of the patient’s musculoskeletal system. In certain cases X-rays are required before manual medicine can be applied.
After the biomechanical disturbances have been felt by the doctor’s hand, the patient is positioned so that the affected joint is briefly opened by a single short impulse with the hand. The procedure is called chirotherapeutic manipulation. The opening of the joint is mostly accompanied by a cracking sound, which greatly impresses some patients because they have completely wrong associations with a possible “putting back” of joints or “bone setting”. But that is precisely what does not happen. Chirotherapeutic manipulation merely releases reflectory muscle tensions that hinder the joint mechanics. As a result of the restoration of mobility, the physical perception is changed positively, and in cases of painful tension the pain is relieved. The cracking is a harmless, accompanying physical phenomenon (vacuum cracking), which has nothing to do with the actual therapeutic act. The force used by the doctor in manipulation is very slight and does not exceed the everyday stresses placed on a person’s joints (e.g. accelerating when driving, effects of forces when carrying loads, during sport, etc.). The manipulation itself must be absolutely painless – otherwise the doctor has a poor treatment technique.