What does a Chiropractor do?

Median Pay $68,640
Growth Rate 12%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

A chiropractor treats patients that suffer from neuromusculoskeletal problems that involve the tendons, muscles, nerves, bones, and ligaments. For example, a patient may need spinal adjustments and manipulation or other manual techniques to help the patient with neck or back discomfort.

Watch a Video:

How to Become a Chiropractor

chiropractor working

Chiropractors earn a Doctor of Chiropractic degree (D.C.) and must have a minimum of 90 semester hours of undergraduate education. Applicants should have courses in physics, biology, and chemistry. Most students obtain a bachelor’s degree before entering the D.C. Program.

The classroom should provide studies in physiology, anatomy, and other similar work. The student must also gain experience in diagnosis, spinal assessment and adjustment techniques. Some options are available for a chiropractor to receive additional training in a specialized area, like pediatrics or orthopedics. Some students go on to earn a master’s degree in a similar area like sports rehabilitation or nutrition. It is also possible for one to obtain a duel-degree where a student can complete a master’s degree in another area while obtaining their D.C.. All states require a license and passing the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners test.

Job Description of a Chiropractor

The chiropractor is responsible for giving their patient physical exams, looking at their medical history, and then analyzing the problem. They conduct testing and take X-rays evaluating a patient’s posture, reflexes, and spine. If necessary, the chiropractor gives adjustments by hand to the patients joints or spinal column. They may need to use cold or hot applications to problem areas. He or she may use ultrasound in the process of treatment or give rehabilitative exercise massage therapy.

A chiropractor also educates a patient on lifestyle and health issues, such as nutrition or exercise. He or she must diagnose and treat all neuromusculoskeletal ailments that would involve the bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and tendons of a patient. Sometimes, a chiropractor must refer patients to other health care professionals. He or she should have skills in decision making and dexterity. They should be detail oriented and have empathy as well as, interpersonal skills.

Chiropractor Career Video Transcript

Many people depend on the skill of chiropractors to help them heal from injuries and the aches and pains generated from life’s wear and tear. Also called Doctors of Chiropractic, they diagnose and treat problems associated with the muscular, nervous, and skeletal systems, especially the spine. Chiropractors need a combination of physical skill, scientific knowledge, and empathy for patients.

They make manual adjustments to the spine and other joints to correct poor alignment. Using their knowledge of anatomy, and diagnostic skills, they review patients’ medical histories and analyze test results to develop treatment plans. As part of the field’s commitment to wellness, they also often advise patients about exercise and nutrition.

Chiropractors must earn a Doctor of Chiropractic, or D.C., degree which generally takes four years of full-time study. Students may be admitted to D.C. programs with a bachelor’s degree, or with coursework totaling at least 90 hours that includes physics, chemistry, and biology. After completing the D.C. program, they must pass board certification tests, and maintain a professional license to practice.

Chiropractors can establish their own practice, purchase or join an established practice, or seek employment at a health care facility. With growing national interest in holistic, preventive medicine, and increased coverage by health insurance, this is a field of medicine that is only expected to expand.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Chiropractor.

National Center for O*NET Development. 29-1011.00. O*NET OnLine.

The video is Public Domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.