More About Chiropractic

What is Chiropractic?

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, spinal stenosis or even traumatic injury. MSK conditions come in all shapes and sizes and chiropractors, also know as Primary Spine Physicians/Practitioners, have the education and experience to help.  Chiropractors are the most educated non-surgical 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.  Whilst a chiropractic adjustment is an effective modality, chiropractors use a myriad of other modalities to boost the recuperative healing of the body.


Chiropractic Qualifications


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 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 students, 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:

  1. A 1993 report by the Ontario Ministry of Health concluded that chiropractic care was the most effective treatment for lower back pain. The agency also recommended that chiropractic care be fully integrated in the Canadian government’s health care system.
  2. In 1994, the federal Agency for Health Care Policy and Research published its Clinical Practice Guidelines, which asserted that spinal manipulation was effective in reducing pain and speeding recovery among patients with acute low back symptoms without radiculopathy.
  3. A 1996 New England Journal of Medicine study of outcomes and costs for acute low back pain found that patients treated by chiropractors were significantly more satisfied than those who saw primary care, orthopedic or managed care practitioners.
  4. A 1996 study in the journal Spine echoed that study and found that patients who sought chiropractic care were more likely to feel that treatment was helpful, more likely to be satisfied with their care, and less likely to seek care from another provider for the same condition, compared to those who sought care from medical doctors.
  5. In 2001, the Center for Clinical Health Policy Research at Duke University concluded in a study that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for cervicogenic headaches, or those that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly prescribed medication.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 [57] demonstrated that spinal manipulation in addition to GP care was more cost-effective than GP care alone in reducing shoulder pain and related disability.