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Chiropractors

Chiropractors, also referred to as chiropractic doctors, treat individuals with musculoskeletal disorders. These disorders often cause nervous system and other health problems. Chiropractors specifically focus on spinal problems when treating patients. Chiropractic medicine is centered around the concept that spinal misalignments affect the central nervous system, which in turn lowers the body’s immunity to disease and other problems.

Like other medical specialists, chiropractors utilize standard procedures when collecting information necessary to diagnose and treat health problems. They collect patients’ medical histories, conduct orthopedic, neurological, and physical evaluations, and occasionally request laboratory tests. Chiropractors review x-rays since they focus specifically on spinal and musculoskeletal problems. Likewise, chiropractors examine an individual’s posture and spinal alignment through specialized methods. When patients are diagnosed with musculoskeletal system problems, chiropractors adjust the spine with their hands.

Chiropractors often utilize additional procedures when treating patients, such as acupuncture, electric current, ultrasound, massage, light, water, and heat treatments. They also treat patients using shoe inserts, straps, braces, and tape. In addition to chiropractic treatments, chiropractors recommend dietary and lifestyle changes to patients. Chiropractors do not perform surgery or prescribe medications.

Education and Training
Most students in chiropractor training programs hold bachelor's degrees, but some programs admit students without them. Regardless of whether you have a bachelor's degree, you should complete the prerequisite classes listed by the Council on Chiropractic Education before applying for a program.

After completing an accredited training program in chiropractic medicine, you'll be recognized as a Doctor of Chiropractic medicine. Chiropractic medicine students are required to complete the following courses:
  • anatomy
  • biochemistry
  • physiology
  • microbiology
  • pathology
  • public health
  • physical, clinical and laboratory diagnosis
  • gynecology and obstetrics
  • pediatrics
  • geriatrics
  • dermatology
  • otolaryngology
  • diagnostic imaging procedures
  • psychology
  • nutrition/dietetics
  • biomechanics
  • orthopedics
  • neurology
  • first aid
  • spinal evaluation
  • research methodology
  • Medical ethics
Information about accredited training programs in chiropractic medicine can be obtained from the Association of Chiropractic Colleges.

Job Outlook

Job growth for chiropractors is expected to increase at an above average rate. As a result, job opportunities for these specialists should be good.

Job growth for chiropractors is projected to rise by 20 percent through 2018. Job growth will be attributed to increased demand for holistic medical treatments. Since chiropractors recommend lifestyle and dietary changes and do not encourage the use of prescription drugs, people interested in natural healing often consult chiropractors. Current research and changing attitudes about holistic medicine is increasing demand for chiropractic medicine. Chiropractors who work exclusively with children will also be in high demand since chiropractic treatment is not painful and children do not complain about subsequent visits. Aging populations will also increase demand for these specialists since elderly people often struggle with structural and mechanical disorders.

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