Chiropractors are doctors who specialize in the field of chiropractic. Chiropractic is an alternative medicinal discipline that is focused on the diagnosis and treatment of non-surgical mechanical disorders of the skeletal system, particularly the spine. This practice also includes the prevention and management of disorders and diseases of the neuromusculoskeletal systems, particularly the spine.
The most common disorders and diseases for which chiropractors provide treatment include back pain, neck pain, jaw pain, shoulder pain, joint pain, and neck pain. Common examples of conservative treatments used by chiropractors include spinal manipulation, manual therapy, physical therapy, and alternative treatment protocols such as acupuncture and meditation. Sometimes chiropractors employ medications such as pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroidal drugs.
To become a chiropractor, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree, although some states require a master’s degree or even a PhD before they will grant a chiropractor’s license. Often chiropractors begin their careers as registered nurses, although many go on to complete undergraduate education and medical school. Many chiropractors work in hospitals or clinics as assistants to licensed physicians. A number of chiropractors specialize in one specific area such as pediatrics, chiropractics, sports medicine, geriatrics, or women’s health.
Some chiropractors offer alternative medicine techniques such as spinal adjustments and massage. These techniques are commonly employed alongside traditional chiropractic treatment methods. The purpose of spinal adjustments is to relieve pressure on and improve alignment of the spine, allowing nerves to operate more efficiently. Massage therapy is sometimes used in conjunction with chiropractic treatment. The goal of massage therapy is to reduce pain and promote the overall health of the patient.
While chiropractors believe that chiropractic manipulation and physical control of the spine are the main causes of ill health and disease, the world health organization (WHO) disagrees. Although chiropractors employ manual treatment methods, the source of ill health and disease is thought to be a miscommunication of the nervous system between the body and its immune system. By manipulating and aligning the spine, chiropractors can correct this miscommunication, restoring proper communication between the body and its immune system. It is this understanding that helps to explain the connection between chiropractic manipulation and the world health organization.
There are several different kinds of treatment that chiropractors employ. Manual therapy is one of the most common techniques used by chiropractors and includes such things as spinal manipulation, ultrasound, electric stimulation, and x-ray machines. Some chiropractors prefer not to administer any medications or drugs to patients and choose instead to focus solely on manual therapy. Others incorporate medicine into their practice by prescribing anti-inflammatory drugs, pain relievers, and other prescription and over-the-counter drugs in order to help control symptoms and boost the immune system.
Chiropractors have also formed their own organizations to provide a unified forum for education and support. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is a non-profit membership organization that brings together chiropractors from all around the country for educational and cooperative efforts. The mission of NCCAM is “to advance scientific studies that demonstrate the effectiveness and safety of alternative and complementary medicines, including chiropractic medicine.” Although chiropractors may differ in their approach to healing, many agree that the goal of chiropractic medicine is to improve the quality of life for its patients.
Chiropractors may be among the health professionals most challenged by changes in technology. Chiropractors trained in traditional medicine techniques may be at a disadvantage when it comes to applying the latest methods of diagnostic care and treatment. Because chiropractors rely on the use of the hands to manipulate the spine, it is important for them to remain up-to-date on emerging diagnostic and treatment techniques. By educating themselves, chiropractors can help their patients to manage their diseases and injuries better, thus enabling them to better enjoy a high degree of health.