It is the "science that utilizes the recuperative powers of the body, and the relationship between the [body's] musculoskeletal structures ... the spinal column, and the nervous system, in the restoration and maintenance of health."
-- Steadman’s Medical Dictionary, 24th ed.
Chiropractors focus on the relationship between structure and function in the human body. Abnormal function of the spine may cause a compensation that can result in minor displacements or derangement of one or more vertebrae, causing irritation to spinal nerve roots directly by pressure or indirectly through reflexes.
Chiropractors restore normal spinal mobility, which in turn alleviates the irritation to the spinal nerve and/or reestablishes altered reflexes. These irritations may be due to accidents, falls, tension, overexertion or other injuring mechanisms. Chiropractic care is natural, safe and effective in treating injury and disease, and in promoting better health and a healthier lifestyle. Doctors of Chiropractic do not prescribe medication.
Chiropractic is the second largest primary health care profession in the United States today. The American Chiropractic Association's description of the scope of chiropractic practice is "The practices and procedures which may be employed by doctors of chiropractic are based on the academic and clinical training achieved in and through, but not limited to, the use of diagnostics and therapeutics, specifically including the adjustment and manipulation of the articulations and adjacent tissues of the human body, particularly of the spinal column; included is the treatment of intersegmental disorders for alleviation of related neurological aberrations.
Patient care is conducted with due regard for environmental, nutritional and psychotherapeutic factors, as well as first aid, hygiene, sanitation, rehabilitation and physiological therapeutic procedures designed to assist in the restoration and maintenance of neurological integrity and homeostatic balance.