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Chiropractic: from Greek chiro- χειρο- "hand-"
+ praktikós πρακτικός "concerned with action"
Chiropractic is a health care discipline and profession that emphasizes diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine, under the hypothesis that these disorders affect general health via the nervous system. Though frequently categorized as a complementary or alternative form of medicine, the World Federation of Chiropractic considers that, as a result of the acceptance of chiropractic as a valid treatment option for various muskuloskeletal conditions, the discipline is now in the realm of mainstream.
The primary modality of treatment involves manual therapy, including manipulation of the spine, other joints, and soft tissues; treatment also includes adjunctive physio-therapeutic modalities, nutritional supplementation, exercises, and health and lifestyle counseling. Modern Chiropractic Doctors explain the basis of a Chiropractic adjustment by scientifically acceptable terms.
D.D. Palmer founded chiropractic in the 1890s and his son B.J. Palmer helped to expand it in the early 20th century. The profession is currently dominated by modern progressive Doctors who are attuned to the results of scientific studies, and are more open to other mainstream and alternative medical techniques such as exercise, massage, nutritional supplements, and acupuncture.  Chiropractic is well established in the U.S., Canada and Australia., although, like any profession, there remains a small faction which refuses to give up a concept based in vitalism, called "innate intelligence" and consider subluxations to be the leading cause of all disease; "mixers"
Chiropractic has gained greater acceptance among medical physicians and health plans in the U.S., and evidence-based medicine has been used to review research studies and generate practice guidelines. Many studies of treatments used by chiropractors have been conducted. Collectively, systematic reviews of this research has demonstrated that spinal manipulation is effective. Spinal manipulation has been alleged to have serious complications in rare cases (about 1.4/1,000,000), this is clearly less than the risk of taking an aspirin tablet, and thus chiropractic care is generally safe when employed skillfully and appropriately.
Chiropractic is autonomous, and competitive with mainstream medicine, and osteopathy outside the U.S. remains primarily a manual medical system; physical therapists work alongside and cooperate with mainstream medicine, and osteopathic medicine in the U.S. has merged with the medical profession. Members distinguish these competing professions with rhetorical strategies that include claims that, compared to other professions, chiropractors heavily emphasize spinal manipulation, tend to use firmer manipulative techniques, and promote maintenance care; that osteopaths use a wider variety of treatment procedures; and that physical therapists emphasize machinery and exercise.
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