What is Chiropractic?

What is Chiropractic?

600 500 Kristi Corder

I am a chiropractor. So today I want to tackle the question What is Chiropractic?

According to many people, chiropractic is an alternative treatment for neck pain, back pain, headaches, and sciatica. That’s a pretty common definition or response you’ll get if you ask anyone you know.

But that is not Chiropractic.

The profession

To this day I will stand behind my opinion that our profession has done an awful job at educating people about chiropractic. Why? Because many in the profession don’t really know what chiropractic is themselves.

When I go anywhere and someone asks me what I do, I’ll respond that I’m a chiropractor and I always get the same response. They’ll point to their neck and say “I have this pain right here.” They’ve obviously been to a chiropractor and he/she has focused on their ache and pain, so I can’t blame them for their response.

I blame our profession.

As a chiropractor who travels the country, I get to see many chiropractic offices and chiropractors. As a colleague, it pains me to lay down on another chiropractor’s table only to be asked, “how are you feeling?”

What is chiropractic the adjustment

If everyone walking into a chiropractic office is being asked how they’re feeling, then what more could they possibly think chiropractic is?

And do you know WHY chiropractors ask people how they feel?

Insurance.

Our profession has stepped into the medical realm to provide services so they can receive insurance reimbursement. So to appease the insurance companies, they have to practice like a medical doctor…symptom based.

So if it’s not about headaches, back pain, or how you’re feeling, then what IS it about?

What is chiropractic?

In a nutshell, chiropractic is the science, philosophy, and art of detecting and correcting vertebral subluxations to restore normal nervous system function and increase a person’s life potential. It’s an alternative health care profession that focuses on LIFE and how your brain and body connection works to express LIFE within you.

Chiropractic is LIFE

I like to use the example of the dimmer switch when I explain chiropractic to people I meet. The electric meter is the brain, the light bulb is the body, and the dimmer switch is the vertebra.

When the dimmer switch is turned up (properly positioned vertebra), the light in the room shines bright. The electricity from the meter (brain) is communicating at 100% with the bulb (body). When the dimmer switch is turned down halfway (subluxated vertebra), the light bulb (body) dims because there is interference along the pathway from the electric meter (brain) to the light bulb (body). When the switch is turned all the way down (chronically subluxated vertebra), there is darkness. The electricity from the meter (brain) is now failing to communicate with the light bulb (body) at all…0%.

What do you think would happen if the nerves that send signals from your brain to your heart were only communicating at 50%? You might have arrythmias, high blood pressure, or a whole host of other issues. You could be put on medication to band-aid those issues, but that does nothing for the root cause…the subluxation.

The science

What is chiropractic the science

The brain controls every cell, tissue, and organ in your body.  It does this by sending electrical signals from your brain to your body to regulate and coordinate all functions and aspects of your body.  These signals pass down the spinal cord and thru the nerves that pass out of your spinal column and go to every area of your body.  If one of the bones of the spinal column moves out of proper position (what chiropractors call a vertebral subluxation), it can irritate the nerve that passes thru that area and cause a breakdown in the communication pathway from the brain to the body.  This process will cause poor function, sickness, and disease.

The philosophy

God designed our body to be self-healing and self-regulating to the constant stresses and demands that we place upon it; that is, we all have an innate (or inborn) intelligence within us that allows us to heal ourselves.  If there is interference in the communication pathways, then the body cannot accomplish this itself.  If the pathways are clear, we are able to heal and function at an optimum level.

The art

Chiropractors check the vertebrae in the spine to find subluxations.  This is a hands-on sensitivity that is learned over time.  If one or more subluxations are found, the chiropractor will then use his/her hands or an instrument and apply a specific force, speed, and torque to your spine moving the vertebrae closer to their normal position (this is a chiropractic adjustment).  As your body adapts to the changes, your communication pathways will become clear and your body will function at greater potential.

What is chiropractic the art

Every chiropractor is different and uses a technique that they have perfected to their liking. Just as two painters can paint the same object on a canvas using different mediums, chiropractors use different techniques to achieve the same goal: correcting vertebral subluxation.

Who should see a chiropractor?

Anyone with a spine.

Yep, you heard me right. EVERYONE!

Do you have a dentist? You see them for regular teeth cleanings and to make sure you don’t have any issues that may indicate decay or disease, right?

Do you have an optometrist? You see them for regular eye exams and to make sure you don’t have any underlying problems that could lead to eye issues, right?

Females: do you have a midwife or gynecologist? You see them for regular checkups to make sure you don’t have any issues that may develop into problems in the future, right?

Do you see where I’m going with this? Why is it that we have doctors we see for every other aspect of our health except our spinal health?

What is chiropractic adjusting everyone

Everyone with a spine (yes, infants and children included) should have regular checkups with a trusted chiropractor. You don’t need to have anything wrong to have your spine checked for vertebral subluxations. Just get checked to be sure that your nervous system is working at 100%!

How much does it cost?

The cost of chiropractic care is very different depending upon the area you live in and what type of chiropractor you see.

Some chiropractors take insurance. Your out-of-pocket cost would be whatever your copay or co-insurance amount is based on your insurance contract. However, be aware that insurance will only cover chiropractic on the basis of a medical issue/symptom. Insurances DO NOT cover regular non-symptomatic spinal checkups or maintenance care.

Cash pay chiropractors may charge anywhere from $20 to $60 per visit with the initial visit being even higher. Places like The Joint (a chiropractic franchise) are on the lower side of this dollar amount while private chiropractic offices are on the higher end. And some of these chiropractors lay out long term care plans that can be upwards of $5000 for a year worth of care.

What is chiropractic the cost

There are also chiropractic membership offices. Membership chiropractic is just like it sounds. You pay a monthly membership fee as you would at a gym, and you get access to as many chiropractic checkups as you need/want each month. This is a great option for families, as many of these chiropractors have a family membership fee that covers everyone in the family.

My chiropractic office is still a bit different than all of these other options. I focus on family care and practice with a fee system called Box on the Wall, or Honor Fee System. It’s similar to how farmers used to set out their produce and have a box for people to put their money in when they came to the farm to get produce for their family. They paid for the produce on their honor. Families love having this option because it makes it affordable for the ENTIRE family to have regular checkups.

So you can see, there are many different options of care ranging from more expensive to extremely affordable.


In short, chiropractic is not massage, physical therapy, nutrition, or treatment for your neck or back pain. Chiropractic is a profession focused on making sure your nervous system is free from interference so that you express LIFE at your greatest potential.

Do you have a chiropractor? Do you see him/her when you’re in pain or do you get regular care so you can live your greatest LIFE? Leave a reply in the comments at the bottom of the page.

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28 comments
  • I don’t know much about this so this is helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  • I agree with your philosophy Kristi and more people need to see this post!

  • Wow! What an interesting post! I’m very grateful to know that this info confirms what I have discovered about my current chiropractor. He doesn’t even allow his patients to say what hurts….he simply assesses and adjusts things accordingly. He is amazing and after living in five states and having searched for a good chiro in each one (and probably trying about 20 different chiropractors in my lifetime,) I am so happy to have found this one.

    Thank you for the great post!

    • That makes me so happy! I’m glad you have found such a wonderful chiropractor in your area. Now share him with others! Thanks for reading!

  • Chiropractic care has saved my back and hips after each birth! I didn’t start until my second baby (I have 4), but after once month of adjustments, my chronic pain was gone! I go back after couple of months just to make sure everything is where it should be!

  • This post is so informational. I have wanted to go to the chiropractor for a long time now. I feel I could benefit from getting adjusted.
    I have had to wait because of surgeries that I have had on my stomach. But I feel well enough now to go. Thank you for writing this. It was very helpful to me.

    • Thank you for reading, Kathy! Did you know that there are chiropractic techniques that allow you to sit up during your adjustments so that you don’t even have to lay on your stomach? I’m so glad you have recovered but just wanted to mention that in case anyone else reading this might feel like they can’t go after having surgery.

  • Chiropratic work has helped me a ton as a dental hygienist!

    • Some of my best patients are dental hygienists. They always tell me that they’d die from doing their job if they didn’t have a great chiropractor. 🙂

  • I have never been to a chiropractor, but I would feel much more at ease going if I need to after reading your article. You have provided a good explanation of what the practice is, and what a visit should be addressing.

  • Adrienne B Redelings July 30, 2019 at 1:51 am

    Great article! I go to a chiropractor and bring my kids also. I have a lot more faith (and regular visits) to him than my family practice doctor…

    • That’s awesome! I love seeing so many parents taking their kids in to have their spines checked. Love it!

  • I haven’t been to a chiropractor but my parents love their’s. There was a lot of good info in your post. Thanks for sharing!

  • I’ve only ever been to the chiropractor once in my life. It wasn’t a negative experience, I enjoyed it actually. But, I admit that I don’t think of it as a regular part of my healthcare. This post was really interesting to read!

    • Thanks for reading, Jo. I’m finding that many people don’t see chiropractic as a regular part of their healthcare. But how can we live to our greatest potential if our nervous system is going haywire?

  • Very informative. Thank you for sharing and clarifying. I love your point that we have dentists and OBGYN’s and such that we regularly go to for check ups, but never occurred to me that my back needs regular visits as well.

  • Kyndall Bennett July 29, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    This is an amazing explanation! I’ve been using The Joint for a few years now and so far I have loved them. I did take a break at one point from the care to save some money because I thought “I was good”, but then I learned that it’s not a set it and forget it ordeal, especially since my back injury came from an accident in the military. Overall, I appreciate all that you do as a chiropractor!

    • Awww thanks, Kyndall! Yes, recoveries from accidents can take years to heal fully. I have a friend who is a manager of one of The Joint franchises. Great guy. So glad chiropractic helps you so much!

  • I never knew a baby could see the chiropractor, thank you for sharing your wonderful post!

    • Absolutely! My kiddos have all been adjusted since birth. And I personally do a lot of infant adjusting at my office.

  • Interesting post. Chiropractic medicine is often mis understood. Nice explanation

  • I absolutely LOVE this post! One of my best friends is a chiropractor and she would love this explanation of the profession. I could not agree more!

    • Hi Wendy!

      Thank you so much for reading. I’m glad you enjoyed it and hope that you will share it with your friend. It’s great that she has a similar chiropractic philosophy. I hope she’s she’s sharing her philosophy with all that she meets!

  • I have gone to a chiropractor since high school (100 years ago ;)) and I will always swear by them. They have saved me many times!! Thanks for the great read.

    • Hi Linda!

      I’m so glad you’ve seen the benefits of chiropractic care. And thank you so much for reading!

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