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Chiropractic Terminology for Employers: Learn the Lingo

chiropractic terminologyDR. MARC GILEROVICH, DC
Medical Case Manager-Wisconsin,
The ALARIS Group

Chiropractors use a different language. If your employee is visiting a chiropractor for a work-related injurywill you be able to translate?

When you understand the lingo, you can participate in a conversation. It demonstrates to your employee that you're committed to his or her recovery, which increases feelings of goodwill. Employees who feel supported don't look for an attorney with a sympathetic ear! Think of this tiny bit of chiropractic education as another way that employers can control work comp costs.

Here's a quick-and-dirty guide to some chiropractic terminology you could hear if your employee is receiving chiropractic treatment.

Interference to the nervous and immune systems

Your body's nervous system controls everything in your body, including your immune system, which fights disease. According to Mayo Clinic, chiropractic care holds that your body's structure, including nerves, bones, joints, and muscles, is deeply related to your body's ability to function healthfully. Chiropractors believe that when your structure (the spine, in particular) is out of sorts, this compromises the nervous system. Ultimately, your immune system experiences interference and cannot function normally.


This stands for Doctor of Chiropractic. Typically, earning a DC degree requires an undergraduate degree plus four years of chiropractic college, according to WebMD. Doctors of chiropractic are committed to a drug-free, hands-on approach to patient care, according to the American Chiropractic Association.


This mouthful of a word basically refers to muscles and the skeleton together. Chiropractic care looks at the interplay between the body's musculoskeletal and nervous (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) systems.


World Health Organization chiropractic guidelines describe subluxation as a dysfunction in a joint or motion segment in which alignment, movement, or otherwise normal functions are altered even though the joint surfaces still are intact. Subluxation basically is when one or more vertebrae in your spine are misaligned and cause pressure on the exiting nerve root. The result is interference in the nervous system.

Subluxation complex (vertebral)

Take the subluxation definition (above) and add to it changes to the surrounding nerves, muscles, ligaments, and vascular and connective tissues. Think of it this way: The bones in your back are out of whack, which affects the parts of the body that touch and interact with the spine — which is a lot of tissues and systems!


Sometimes called manipulation, a chiropractic adjustment typically involves DCs using their hands (or sometimes an instrument) "to manipulate the joints of the body, particularly the spine, in order to restore or enhance joint function" and remove the interference to the nervous system caused by the subluxation. This definition is from the American Chiropractic Association, which adds that adjustments can sooth joint inflammation and reduce a patient's pain.

What other chiropractic terminology has you scratching your head? Get the answers and learn more about chiropractic care for work-related injuries by viewing our on-demand webinar. Click the button below to access the slide deck and webinar recording.

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Topics: Construction Transportation Safety / Compliance Manufacturing