It’s a little uncertain where this myth began, but it certainly does seem to be a common perception that chiropractors are purely back pain specialists. This isn’t strictly true – chiropractors are neuromusculoskeletal specialists.
A neuromusculoskeletal specialist is a medical practitioner who primarily looks at conditions to do with nerves, muscles and joints. These can vary from postural related aches right through to migraines and trapped nerves.
It shouldn’t, however, be taken from the above that chiropractic is a miracle cure, offering permanent solutions for every known ailment. A chiropractor’s remit is to diagnose neuromusculoskeltal conditions, treating only to treat those with a mechanical origin.
That is to say, a chiropractor is qualified to diagnose that the pain in your wrist is coming from gout (something which would then be confirmed with imaging and/or blood tests), but that this is not something that can be treated manually, and requires specific medication to control. Should the pain in your wrist, however, be originating from a previous sprain, a chiropractor is then well placed to offer appropriate treatment.
And this remit applies, not just to backs or to the spine, but to the whole body. Even at undergraduate level, chiropractors have spent longer learning how to assess and treat neuromusculoskeletal conditions than any other medical professional. This training covers the whole body, without any specific focus on one particular area and it should be emphasised at this point that whether your pain is in your ankle or your jaw, or anywhere in between, a chiropractor should be your first stop.