National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
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Chiropractic, Spinal Manipulation, and Osteopathic Manipulation

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A woman performing spinal manipulation.

© Matthew Lester

Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on the relationship between the body's structure—mainly the spine—and its functioning. Although practitioners may use a variety of treatment approaches, they primarily perform adjustments (manipulations) to the spine or other parts of the body with the goal of correcting alignment problems, alleviating pain, improving function, and supporting the body's natural ability to heal itself.

Spinal Manipulation is the application of controlled force to a joint, moving it beyond the normal range of motion in an effort to aid in restoring health. Manipulation may be performed as a part of other therapies or whole medical systems, including chiropractic medicine, massage, and naturopathy.

Osteopathic manipulation is a type of manipulation practiced by osteopathic physicians. It is combined with physical therapy and instruction in proper posture.

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This page last modified December 12, 2012