Chiropractic is an important component of the US health care system and the largest alternative medical profession. In this overview of chiropractic, we examine its history, theory, and development; its scientific evidence; and its approach to the art of medicine. Chiropractic's position in society is contradictory, and we reveal a complex dynamic of conflict and diversity. Internally, chiropractic has a dramatic legacy of strife and factionalism. Externally, it has defended itself from vigorous opposition by conventional medicine. Despite such tensions, chiropractors have maintained a unified profession with an uninterrupted commitment to clinical care. While the core chiropractic belief that the correction of spinal abnormality is a critical health care intervention is open to debate, chiropractic's most important contribution may have to do with the patient-physician relationship.