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Chiropractors, or doctors of chiropractic, are health care professionals who focus on musculoskeletal health problems. Through manipulation of the bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, they treat patient ailments, such as back or neck pain. Spinal adjustment can relieve acute back pain, widen a patient's range of motion, and improve function. These professionals emphasize health maintenance and disease prevention through exercise, maintaining posture, stress management, proper nutrition, and care of the spine and the nervous system. Approximately 52,600 chiropractors practice in the United States. Most work in solo practice; other work settings include group practices, health care clinics, and teaching institutions.
Chiropractic emphasizes health maintenance, the whole person, and natural healing and is considered an alternative health care approach. At the same time, chiropractic has more of the advantages enjoyed by the medical profession than does any other alternative health care field: Chiropractic has licensure requirements, accredited training institutions, a growing scientific research base, and insurance reimbursement.