Chiropractic care is the second largest primary contact profession in North America. The profession focuses on the relationship of the musculoskeletal (MSK) system and health. Chiropractic care is primarily a hands-on, non-invasive and drugless practice that is safe and effective for the management of MSK conditions – from new-born babies, to pregnant women to Olympic athletes. MSK conditions can range in severity from minor sprains and strains, to back and neck pain to disc herniations and spinal stenosis. MSK conditions come in all shapes and sizes and chiropractors, also know as Primary Spine Physicians/Practitioners, are here to help. Chiropractors are the most educated conservative health care experts of the spine and MSK injuries globally.
Chiropractic adjustments can be especially helpful in relieving pain for joint injuries, osteoarthritis, muscle spasm, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, and a slew of other MSK conditions. Moreover, scores of patients with chronic headaches, sinus problems, ear infections/pain, leg pain, arthritis, and many other illnesses have reported significant relief after chiropractic care.
Educational and licensing requirements for doctors of chiropractic (DCs) are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions. DCs are educated in nationally accredited, four-year doctoral graduate school programs through a curriculum that includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical internship, with the average DC program equivalent in classroom hours to allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) medical schools.
Chiropractors are designated as physician-level providers in the vast majority of states and federal Medicare program. The essential services provided by DCs are also available in federal health delivery systems, including those administered by Medicaid, the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, Federal Workers’ Compensation, and all state workers’ compensation programs.
The typical applicant at a chiropractic college has already acquired nearly four years of pre-medical undergraduate college education, including courses in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, psychology and related lab work. Once accepted into an accredited chiropractic college, the requirements become even more demanding — four to five academic years of professional study are the standard. Because of the hands-on nature of chiropractic, and the intricate adjusting techniques, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical training.
Chiropractors undergo a rigorous education in the healing sciences, similar to that of medical doctors. In some areas, such as anatomy, physiology, rehabilitation, nutrition and public health, they receive more intensive education than their MD counterparts. Like other primary health care doctors, chiropractic students spend a significant portion of their curriculum studying clinical subjects related to evaluating and caring for patients. Typically, as part of their professional training, they must complete a minimum of a one-year clinical-based program dealing with actual patient care. In total, the curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience.
This extensive education prepares doctors of chiropractic to diagnose health care problems, treat the problems when they are within their scope of practice and refer patients to other health care practitioners when appropriate.
DC – Chiropractor DO – Doctor of Osteopathy
DPT – Doctor of Physical Therapy MD – Medical Doctor
ND – Naturopathic Doctor RMT – Registered Massage Therapist
Studies by leading medical journals in recent years have confirmed the benefits of chiropractic care:
A risk assessment of cervical manipulation vs. NSAIDs for the treatment of neck pain. Conclusion: The best evidence indicates that cervical manipulation for neck pain is much safer than the use of NSAIDs, by as much as a factor of several hundred times. There is no evidence that indicates NSAID use is any more effective than cervical manipulation for neck pain. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8583176
Conclusion: This review identified limited evidence indicating that manual therapy techniques (eg, osteopathic spinal manipulation, physiotherapy consisting of manipulation and mobilization techniques, and chiropractic manipulation), in addition to other treatments or alone, are more cost-effective than usual GP care (alone or with exercise), spinal stabilization, GP advice, advice to remain active, or brief pain management for improving low back pain and/or disability. Similarly, one study  demonstrated that spinal manipulation in addition to GP care was more cost-effective than GP care alone in reducing shoulder pain and related disability. http://www.jmptonline.org/article/S0161-4754%2814%2900087-6/fulltext