chiropractor working

What does a Chiropractor do?

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 to learn what a chiropractor does:

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How to Become a Chiropractor

chiropractor working

Chiropractors must earn a Doctor of Chiropractic degree (D.C.). Though they do graduate with their doctorate degree, they are not medical doctors. Most students obtain a bachelor’s degree before entering the D.C. Program and you must have a minimum of 90 semester hours of undergraduate education. The bachelor’s degree should contain courses in physics, biology, and chemistry.

While obtaining your doctorate in chiropractic studies, you will learn about human physiology and anatomy. You will also learn how to diagnosis spinal conditions, conduct spinal assessments, and learn adjustment techniques. Some chiropractors may choose to specialize in pediatrics or orthopedics. Others choose to complete a master’s degree in a similar field such as sports rehabilitation or nutrition while continuing to obtain their Doctorate of Chiropractic degree. 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.

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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.