Comes from 2 greek words, cheiro meaning 'hand' and prakos meaning 'done by', i.e. done by hand or manipulation. Chiropractic is a manipulative art based on an understanding of the spinal column and the nervous system and its role in maintaining normal health, without the use of drugs or surgery. Chiropractors believe that much dis-ease or abnormal function is caused by interference with nerve transmission due to pressure, strain or tension on the spinal cord or spinal nerves as a result of vertebral segmentmal position.

Daniel David Palmer, who practised magnetic healing, in 1895 'rediscovered' chiropractic when he examined the spine of ajanitor in the building where he worked, who complained of deafness. Palmer found the one of the vertebraes in the janitors neck was displaced and, on correction, the mans hearing was restored. Hence modern day chiropractic was born - that correction of any malfunctioning vertebral segment through manipulation relieves the pressure on the spinal nerve root and restores normal nervous supply to the affected areas. The British Chiropractic Assiciation began in 1925.

Patients are evaluated using orthopaedic, neurological and radiological examination procedures in order to assess any neuro-muscluar involvement which may be caused by limitation of joint mobility.  Spinal manipulation is an 'assisted passive motion' applied to the spinal facet joints.  The motion segment is suddenly carried beyond its normal physiological range of motion without exceeding the boundaries of anatomical integrity - the short thrust is given usually at the end of the normal passive range of movement and a cracking sound often results!

Most common conditions treated are low backpain, disc problems, sciatica, neck pain, whiplash injuries, headaches, migraine, and arm and leg pains.

See also osteopathy.


  • The British Chiropractic Association
    Equity House
    29 Whitley Street
    RG2 0EG

    Tel: 01734 757557 or 0800 212 618
  • The Scottish Chiropractic Association
    20 Roseburn Place
    EH12 5NX

    Tel: 0131 346 7500
  • General Chiropractic Council (www.gcc-uk.org)
    344-354 Gray's Inn Road
    WC1X 8BP
  • Anglo-European College of Chiropractic
    13-15 Parkwood Road
    BH5 2DF

    Tel: 01202 431021

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