Chiropractic is a drug-free holistic health care profession founded on the principle that the spine and its surrounding structures have a direct relationship to the function of your nervous system. Chiropractic focuses on restoring the normal movement and alignment of your spinal vertebrae to improve the integrity of the nervous system and thereby maximize your body’s natural ability to express optimal health.

Chiropractors are licensed health professionals that utilize a broad set of diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitative methods to treat patients. They are educated in four-year, doctoral graduate schools and undergo rigorous national board certification exams before earning their license.

The most common therapeutic procedure performed by chiropractors is manipulation of the joints and soft tissues of the spine and extremities to restore mobility. Manipulation removes joint and tissue scaring that limits the body’s normal motion. This restores nerve communication between the brain and body reducing or eliminating pain, stiffness and other symptoms associated with joint dysfunction.

A recent study showed that chiropractic services are associated with decreased visits to primary care physicians for back and neck pain. However, the reason for this association is not completely clear. This article will explore how the availability of chiropractic influences the utilization of primary care physician (PCP) services for pain management. PCPs specialize in musculoskeletal disorders and often refer their patients to see a chiropractor for neck or back pain. This could be because these patients are more likely to seek a non-pharmacologic treatment option for their pain.