Chiropractors work with patients to diagnose and treat physical ailments. Their main focus is the human muscular skeletal system and its disorders. These disorders may affect the nervous system or a patient’s general health. Often a chiropractor will manipulate the spine in order to alleviate the effects of these disorders. The theory which guides most chiropractic procedures is that misalignment of the spine causes difficulty with the nervous system, a diminished immune system response, and can harm the overall health of the patient.
Chiropractors provide medical help that does not involve drugs. It is a holistic approach to healthcare that focuses on the overall well-being of the patient. A chiropractor may also advise their clients on lifestyle choices that may affect their health like diet and exercise.
Chiropractors must record a patient’s medical history and obtain a clear idea of the patient’s specific complaint before beginning to diagnose and treat them. In addition, laboratory tests or X-rays may be utilized. Chiropractors may manually adjust a patient’s spine and also attempt therapies such as heat, massage, and acupuncture.
Occasionally, chiropractors choose a specialized area in which to practice. These specializations may include:
- Sports injuries
- Internal disorders
Most chiropractors are in general practice. Often they work as solo practitioners, though they may also be part of a clinic. Most chiropractors work a 40 hour work week, however, some practitioner’s work evenings and weekends to accommodate patients.
Pursuing a chiropractic degree is a challenging project. In this field it is important to attend an institution which has been accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education. In order to be accepted into one of these programs offering a chiropractic degree, most candidates must already have completed a two or four year university degree. Although there is no formal requirement for the undergraduate degree’s discipline, it is important for anyone contemplating a career as a chiropractor to have an educational background that includes the study of subjects such as:
- Social Sciences
Programs through which students can receive a chiropractic degree are rigorous and typically require a total of 4,200 hours of study. This study will consist of work in the classroom and laboratory, as well as clinical experience. Students can expect to encounter a number of subjects in the classroom during their first two years of training, examples of which include:
- Public Health
In the latter two years of training to receive a chiropractic degree, study will emphasize clinical experience. Students will focus on spinal adjustment and manipulation as well as working on their ability to diagnose ailments.
Students may continue their education upon completion of these programs by selecting an area in which to specialize. At the end of such training, an examination will be given, the successful completion of which will qualify the candidate to practice in a specialty area.