I’m sure most of you have also asked this question yourselves. Just like me, a lot of people are also confused about the distinction between a chiropractor and a medical doctor. To answer this question, it is important to know, first and foremost, the necessary education and training involved with this profession. This is what this article aims to do.
Chiropractors are doctors who are comparable to optometrists, dentists, and psychologists, in terms of the health services they provide. They all belong to the category of allied health professionals. The educational attainment of Chiropractors include being awarded with an academic degree “Doctor of Chiropractic” after they finish an average of eight demanding years in university training. During their practice, they are not allowed to prescribe medications except for nutritional and homeopathic items in some states. The extent of medical treatment and measures that chiropractors are allowed to execute varies by state.
A doctor of chiropractic is a health care professional engaged in the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders. Chiropractors’ main focus is the manual change and/or the manipulation of the spine. Their treatment concept is the re-establishment of normal spinal mobility. This leads to alleviation of irritation to the spinal nerve and/or re-establishment of altered reflexes.
Chiropractic falls under the category of alternative medicine too. Chiropractors provide different non-surgical treatments to patients with lower back pain and leg pain. They also treat arthritic pain , neck pain, and headaches, as well as repetitive strains, sports injuries, and car accident injuries. In some states, they also perform minor surgeries and conservative treatment procedures, as long as it is within their scope of professional practice. They are non-pharmacologic and non-surgical clinicians. However, chiropractors refer their patients to medical doctors or other health practitioners whenever appropriate.
Chiropractic Education and Training
Before a person earns “Doctor of Chiropractic” degree, he has to undertake extensive education and training. Just like a Medicine degree, a four-year undergraduate program is necessary in order to apply for a DC program which takes four or five years to complete. For some specialized areas such as orthopedics, neurology, and radiology, there’s an available post-graduate residency. However, despite being the third largest doctor level in the health care profession, the credibility of chiropractic these days suffers due to the rejection of some chiropractic practitioners of evidence-based medicine.
Treatment Techniques and Specialization
Chiropractors use at least 20 types of techniques in their profession and some of these include:
- “Extremity adjusting” or the manipulation of spine and other joints.
- Activator techniques that use a hand held device and Cox Flexion-Distraction that targets the compressed spine and relieves back pain.
- Thompson technique in which the length of legs is analyzed to determine the sort of misalignment.
- Gonstead which focuses on the misalignment of spine.
- Sacro-Occipital technique which aims to correct the pelvic and vertebral misalignments.
Other means for relieving pain are exercises, physiotherapeutic modalities like electrical stimulation, ultrasound, cryotherapy, laser, nutritional and dietary recommendations, disease prevention advice, stress-relieving, and relaxation techniques, as well as the use of acupunctures.
Before a degree holder can practice a profession, a series of exams should be taken first. There’s also a need to pass the state level and national levels. Chiropractic schools for their part are accredited by the Council for Chiropractic Education. Then there’s also the American Chiropractic Association which was organized mainly to facilitate the transactions related to it.