what is a chiropractor

What Is a Chiropractor? Everything You Need to Know

There are currently over 70,000 active chiropractors in the United States. A physician might refer you to a chiropractor if you’re suffering from neck, back pain, or another musculoskeletal issue.

Despite how many chiropractors are available in the country, many people still ask the question, “What is a chiropractor?”

Look no further! Here’s everything you need to know about what a chiropractor is and how they can help. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about chiropractors before your first appointment. 

What is a Chiropractor?

First, let’s answer the question that’s on everyone’s mind: what is a chiropractor?

Chiropractors are health care professionals that adjust the human spine and other parts of the body. They might use a number of techniques to manipulate the body to ensure it functions properly. 

What is a chiropractor good for, exactly? Your chiropractor will focus on correcting any spinal alignment problems. By keeping your spine aligned, your chiropractor can ease your pain. 

Keeping your spine in alignment can also ensure your body can heal itself naturally.

What is a chiropractor capable of treating?

Most people visit chiropractors to treat low back pain, headaches, and neck pain. You might consider visiting a chiropractor after a car crash or sports injury. They can also treat these conditions with regular appointments.

A spinal manipulation could speed up your recovery time.

Chiropractic Adjustments

Now that we’ve answered the question “what is a chiropractor,” let’s talk about adjustments.

During a chiropractic adjustment, your chiropractor will likely ask you to lie facedown on a padded, chiropractic table. If they’re treating another area of the body, they might place you in a different position to treat that area.

What does a chiropractor do during a treatment? Once you’re in the right position, your chiropractor will use their hands to apply a controlled force to the treatment area. The sudden force will push a joint beyond its usual range of motion.

Your chiropractor might also use a small instrument to control the force they apply. Either way, their goal is to improve your spine’s motion.

You might hear a pop or cracking sound.

This sound indicates your chiropractor has moved the joints to ensure your body is in alignment. 

What Happens During an Appointment?

What does a chiropractor do during an appointment? Understanding the steps involved in chiropractic treatment can give you peace of mind before your initial assessment. Here’s everything you need to know.

1. Assessment

During your first appointment, your chiropractor will need to assess your condition. They’ll likely ask you when your pain started or when you sustained your injury.

Do certain activities make the pain worse? What happened to cause your pain? Is it sharp, throbbing, or dull pain?

Make a note of how you feel before your assessment to ensure you can answer these questions properly.

Your chiropractor will also need to take your medical history. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, injuries, or received other treatments, let them know.  

2. Physical Exam

Your chiropractor will also complete a physical exam. They’ll check your blood pressure, pulse, reflexes, and respiration. 

They might also determine your range of motion, muscle strength, and tone.

If you’ve sustained an injury, your chiropractor might also want to use diagnostic testing to learn more. For example, they might use magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), X-rays, or laboratory tests.

These tests will help them gather the necessary information to develop a treatment plan based on your needs.

3. Diagnosis

Once your chiropractor has the information they need, they’ll diagnose your condition. Understanding the root cause of your pain will help them determine the type of chiropractic care you need. 

For example, you might have:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Neck pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Stress
  • Poor posture
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Lower back pain

What does a chiropractor do if you have one of these conditions? They’ll help develop a treatment plan that will ease your pain and help you heal. 


4. Recommendations

Before developing your treatment plan, your chiropractor will develop a list of goals and recommendations. For example, you might want to learn new methods for reducing your pain.

Other patients look for ways they can improve their posture. If you’re physically active, you might want to learn exercises that can improve muscle strength. Your chiropractor can also develop a plan for long-term pain management. 

5. Treatment Plan

Your chiropractor will create a customized treatment plan based on your short- and long-term goals. 

When developing your treatment plan, your chiropractor will consider the extent of your injury. They’ll also keep your general health and spine’s condition in mind. 

Their treatment techniques might include:

  • Hot and ice therapy
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Rehabilitative exercises
  • Weight loss, diet, and lifestyle counseling
  • Dietary supplement recommendations
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Regular adjustments

Your chiropractor will determine how long you need treatment based on the severity of your condition. They might adjust this time estimate as your treatment progresses. 


About 60% of American adults agree chiropractors are effective in treating neck and back pain. However, not many people realize that chiropractic care can benefit your overall health.

Some of the benefits of regular chiropractic adjustments include:

  • Improved sleep
  • More energy
  • Faster recovery
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Improved organ function
  • Stronger immunity (reducing the risk of sickness and disease)
  • Decreased joint and connective tissue degeneration
  • Reduced stress
  • Better athletic performance
  • Reduced prenatal discomfort
  • Shorter duration of labor
  • Reduced depression symptoms
  • Improved blood circulation (which helps improve healing)
  • Improved wellness for infants and children
  • Better nervous system function
  • Improved muscle contractibility and strength 

Potential Side Effects

There are a few potential side effects you might experience. While these risk and side effects are rare, they can include short-term:

  • Headaches
  • Discomfort around the treatment area
  • Fatigue

These symptoms should fade shortly after your treatment.

Potential risks include stroke and pinched nerves.

Make sure to look for a qualified, licensed, and trained chiropractor. Choosing a qualified chiropractor can reduce these risks and give you peace of mind. 

What is a Chiropractor?: Your Guide to Sweet Relief

To recap, what is a chiropractor? They’re a healthcare professional trained to reduce your pain and improve your musculoskeletal health. By visiting a chiropractor, you can improve your overall health one spinal manipulation at a time. 

Looking for the best Oak Lawn chiropractor in the area? Contact us today to get started!