What is a Chiropractic Doctor?

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  • Written By: K T Solis
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2019
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A chiropractic doctor treats patients who suffer from health issues relating to the musculoskeletal system or nervous system. Those who are proponents of chiropractic medicine believe that if the spine is not aligned properly, the nervous system is negatively affected. As a result, a patient's overall health decreases and he or she has difficulty resisting disease.

Using natural methods, a chiropractic doctor can help the patient improve his or her health. This is often done through the use of spinal manipulation, diet, exercise, and other positive lifestyle changes. Through these natural methods, a chiropractor believes that the human body has the power to heal itself without the assistance of surgeries or drugs.

When a patient first visits a chiropractic doctor, the chiropractor will review the patient's medical history and conduct a series of examinations: physical, neurological, and orthopedic. The chiropractor may also order labs for the patient. X-rays and other diagnostic images may be taken of the patient in order for the chiropractor to have access to a detailed picture of the patient's spine. The chiropractor may then choose to manipulate the patient's spinal column, seeking to coax it into proper alignment.


Spinal column manipulation is not the only treatment a chiropractor may use to help his or her patients. For example, the chiropractor may employ other natural methods, including acupuncture and heat therapy. The chiropractic doctor may use therapies such as electric, light, ultrasound, and massage as well. In addition, braces, straps, and tapes may be employed to assist the chiropractor in the adjustment of the patient's spinal column.

In order to become a chiropractor, a person must have completed between two to four years of undergraduate education. He or she must then complete a four-year program in the chiropractic field. While enrolled in a chiropractic program, students will take basic courses in anatomy and physiology, pathology, biochemistry, and public health. They will also be expected to complete courses in spinal adjustment, spinal manipulation, orthopedics, nutrition, and other related subjects. In total, the student will complete approximately 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory, and clinical experience.

After graduating from the program, an aspiring chiropractor must pass a national examination administered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Some states may require that future chiropractors pass a test administered by each respective state where the chiropractor plans to practice. A chiropractor can only practice in the state where he or she is licensed to do so.

Patients who suffer from headaches, joint pain, neck pain, low back pain, and sciatica can sometimes benefit from chiropractic treatment. People with osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, sprains, spinal disk problems, and tendinitis may also find chiropractic treatment beneficial. Even patients with allergies, asthma, and digestive problems may find relief if they receive medical treatment from a licensed chiropractic doctor.



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