Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine that emphasizes diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine, under the belief that these disorders affect general health via the nervous system. It is the largest alternative medical profession, and although chiropractors have many similarities to primary care providers, they are more similar to a medical specialty like dentistry or podiatry. The main chiropractic treatment technique involves manual therapy, especially manipulation of the spine, other joints, and soft tissues; treatment may also include exercises and health and lifestyle counseling.
Chiropractic is well established in the U.S., Canada and Australia. It overlaps with other manual-therapy professions, including massage therapy, osteopathy, and physical therapy. Back and neck pain are the specialties of chiropractic but many chiropractors treat ailments other than musculoskeletal issues. Most who seek chiropractic care do so for low back pain.
D.D. Palmer founded chiropractic in the 1890s, and his son B.J. Palmer helped to expand it in the early 20th century.
The practice remains at a crossroads between science and ideological dogma.