What exactly is a chiropractor?

And what training or qualifications do they have?

Are you suffering from back pain? What about frequent headaches or shoulder tension?

These may seem like separate problems, but they all have a common link. Each of these conditions can stem from your spine.

People often underestimate the influence their spines have over their bodies. If you suffer from spinal difficulties, a visit to the chiropractor could solve the problem.

However, many people have some skepticism about these professionals. Some even ask, “Are chiropractors doctors?” To answer that question, we must first ask, “What’s a chiropractor?”

In this guide, we’ll explore the chiropractor definition as well as what training they receive. By the end, we feel confident you’ll recognize how skillful these professionals are.

What’s a chiropractor?

A chiropractor is a healthcare professional who specializes in the body’s neuromusculoskeletal system. This system includes the bones, nerves, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

If you visit a chiropractor, it will likely be for back and neck pain treatment. A chiropractor will treat these conditions by adjusting your spine to maintain a healthy alignment.

Spinal adjustments utilize the vital principle behind chiropractic care. Rather than use invasive treatments to solve your ailments, chiropractic treatment focuses on your body’s self-healing capabilities.

When the spine functions healthily, it has wide-reaching effects. A healthy spine makes it easier for other systems in the body to function.

As you can imagine, chiropractors need extensive training to do their job effectively. We’ll discuss the training they receive in the next section.

What kind of training do chiropractors receive?

Chiropractors must have a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. They also need a license to practice in the state in which they work. Typically, a Doctor of Chiropractic program lasts four years.

However, before an applicant can enter this program, they must first complete three years of undergraduate education. During this time, they must complete 90 semester hours.

Once a candidate enters the four-year program, they spend the first two years studying basic sciences. The last two years of the program include training in the clinical sciences.

As chiropractic candidates proceed through their training, they receive experience and practical skills in three areas. These areas include:

  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Chiropractic technique
  • Case management

Another requirement for a chiropractic candidate is serving for one year as an intern at a college clinic. This internship develops their skills and makes them more suitable to run a clinic of their own.

Finally, a chiropractor may receive post-graduate training. At all stages of their education, chiropractors must meet high-level educational standards. You can learn more about these requirements by seeing the standards for yourself here.

Conditions chiropractors are qualified to help treat

So, once a candidate receives their chiropractic license, what conditions can they help people treat? As we’ve mentioned elsewhere, chiropractors specialize in problems relating to the spine. Often, these take particular forms.

The most common type of spinal problem people suffer is lower back pain. When clinicians research spinal manipulation, they often focus on pain in the lower back. Chiropractors can offer better treatment for these conditions than standard doctors.

Another typical spine-related problem is patients experiencing neck pain. Neck pain stems from spinal conditions changing over time. Alternatively, neck pain may originate from injury.

When people hear about chiropractors, they often associate the word with back and neck pain. However, even headaches may stem from the same systems as these other symptoms.

Tension headaches cause pain in the back of your head and neck. These pains often develop from poor posture and stress. Likewise, migraine headaches can relate to these systems.

Although chiropractic care may not eliminate migraines, it often decreases their frequency and pain. These are just a few of the conditions that chiropractors treat, but it is not an exhaustive list.

Chiropractors can help with shoulder pain, neck pain, lower back pain, sciatica, and more!

Treatments they offer

Chiropractors offer several types of treatments to help their patients. The most common treatment that chiropractors offer is a spinal adjustment. However, these adjustments and shifts may change depending on the problem you suffer.

For example, if you go to a chiropractor with neck pain, they often treat it with neck manipulation. These neck adjustments coupled with physical therapy exercises can improve your neck more than some pain medications.

Another application of an adjustment helps with headaches. If you suffer frequent tension headaches, a chiropractor may use a neck adjustment to resolve the pain. They may also recommend some stretching exercises to help improve your neck.

Techniques used

Chiropractors use several different techniques to adjust your spine. In this section, we’ll explore some of the methods they use.

First, a chiropractor may use a flexion distraction for lumbar conditions. This technique aims to increase your overall spinal motion. It also mends disc bulges or herniations.

Second, chiropractors may use the Gonstead technique. This method is an adjustment tool that realigns the spine. Chiropractors use these methods to relieve pain and support the spine’s ideal alignment.

Another option for spinal care is extremity manipulation. This technique often helps people who suffer from carpal tunnel and posture-related issues. This technique aligns the joints outside of the spine and promotes increased mobility.

Some chiropractors help athletes recover from injuries with treatments that specialize in restoring athletic performance. These sports chiropractors may have independent offices or work at a sports clinic.

What an average session looks like

A typical visit to the chiropractor will look similar to other healthcare visits. Upon arriving, you’ll fill out an intake that asks questions about your current health. From there, you’ll undergo a physical exam.

However, this physical exam will often focus much more on spinal issues and adjustments. Once the chiropractor completes this assessment, he’ll offer a treatment plan to improve your overall health.

Drop by today

If you came to this article asking, “What’s a chiropractor?” we hope you found an answer. Chiropractors of all sorts help people adjust their spines and live more pain-free lives.

If you feel like you could use chiropractic care, consider calling our offices! We offer a wide range of services to help you live a more active life.

Most of all, we endeavour to give you control of your health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Alex Tieu

Dr. Alex Tieu is a chiropractor with a passion for helping others achieve their health goals. Dr. Tieu wants to help his patients achieve optimal health and feel their best. He firmly believes that chiropractic care can make a significant difference in people's lives.

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