Chiropractors, also known as doctors of chiropractic or chiropractic physicians, treat people suffering with musculoskeletal problems. Chiropractors specialize in treating spinal problems since they believe spinal joint misalignments affect the nervous system, resulting in decreased immunity.

Chiropractors, also referred to as chiropractic doctors, treat individuals with musculoskeletal disorders. These disorders often cause nervous system and other health problems. Chiropractors specifically focus on spinal problems when treating patients. Chiropractic medicine is centered around the concept that spinal misalignments affect the central nervous system, which in turn lowers the body’s immunity to disease and other problems.

Like other medical specialists, chiropractors utilize standard procedures when collecting information necessary to diagnose and treat health problems. They collect patients’ medical histories, conduct orthopedic, neurological, and physical evaluations, and occasionally request laboratory tests. Chiropractors review x-rays since they focus specifically on spinal and musculoskeletal problems. Likewise, chiropractors examine an individual’s posture and spinal alignment through specialized methods. When patients are diagnosed with musculoskeletal system problems, chiropractors adjust the spine with their hands.

Chiropractors use alternative medicines including massage, water, light, massage, electric, acupuncture, and heat therapies, and they use straps, tapes, and braces to adjust the spine. Chiropractors do not prescribe medicine or perform surgery, but they consult patients about diet and exercise, and other natural remedies to improve health.

Certain chiropractors specialize in diagnostic imaging, internal problems, orthopedics, pediatrics, sports injuries, and neurology.

Many chiropractors run their own business or work in a group practice, so they have administrative responsibilities as well as chiropractic duties. Office managers and chiropractic assistants usually perform administrative duties at larger offices. Chiropractors running their own businesses must find new clients, hire staff, and maintain medical records.

Work environment. Chiropractors spend their time in comfortable offices. Like other health professionals, chiropractors spend a lot of time standing. Chiropractors using x rays machines must protect themselves against radiation exposure.

Chiropractors usually work 40 hours per week but sometimes work long hours. Solo practitioners enjoy flexible hours but often work evenings or weekends to accommodate patients. Like other health professionals, chiropractors working in a group office will often treat patients of other chiropractors in the group.

Education and Training

Most students in chiropractor training programs hold bachelor's degrees, but some programs admit students without them. Regardless of whether you have a bachelor's degree, you should complete the prerequisite classes listed by the Council on Chiropractic Education before applying for a program.

After completing an accredited training program in chiropractic medicine, you'll be recognized as a Doctor of Chiropractic medicine. Chiropractic medicine students are required to complete the following courses:

  • anatomy
  • biochemistry
  • physiology
  • microbiology
  • pathology
  • public health
  • physical, clinical and laboratory diagnosis
  • gynecology and obstetrics
  • pediatrics
  • geriatrics
  • dermatology
  • otolaryngology
  • diagnostic imaging procedures
  • psychology
  • nutrition/dietetics
  • biomechanics
  • orthopedics
  • neurology
  • first aid
  • spinal evaluation
  • research methodology
  • Medical ethics

Information about accredited training programs in chiropractic medicine can be obtained from the Association of Chiropractic Colleges.

Job Outlook

Job growth for chiropractors is expected to increase at an above average rate. As a result, job opportunities for these specialists should be good.

Job growth for chiropractors is projected to rise by 20 percent through 2018. Job growth will be attributed to increased demand for holistic medical treatments. Since chiropractors recommend lifestyle and dietary changes and do not encourage the use of prescription drugs, people interested in natural healing often consult chiropractors. Current research and changing attitudes about holistic medicine is increasing demand for chiropractic medicine. Chiropractors who work exclusively with children will also be in high demand since chiropractic treatment is not painful and children do not complain about subsequent visits. Aging populations will also increase demand for these specialists since elderly people often struggle with structural and mechanical disorders.

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