Chiropractors vs. Medical Doctors
Chiropractors are doctors who specialize in the study, diagnosis and treatment of physical disorders of the skeletal and muscular system. Chiropractors perform diagnostic and therapeutic spinal manipulation, diagnostic tests of muscle and nerve structure, and diagnostic imaging studies. They also provide therapeutic services like occupational therapy, orthopedics, physical therapy, and sports medicine. Some chiropractors are involved in research activities.
Most people consult chiropractors for relief from back, neck or joint pain. For patients who have first appointments, it is common for chiropractors to ask questions about the patient’s medical history, lifestyle, and symptoms. It is important for chiropractors to ask questions about the source and severity of pain, because sometimes pain can be an indicator of a disease. Many times, chiropractors make adjustments in a patient’s spine without using drugs, which are known to have many side effects.
In United States, chiropractors are licensed by the state to practice and must meet continuing education requirements every two years. The requirements vary by state and you should contact your state’s licensing board for more information. Once licensed, you will need to pass the National Certification Examination for chiropractic doctors (NCLEX-PN) and take a test that includes both patient and practitioner assessments. These tests are nationally recognized as the standard for diagnosing and treating chiropractic problems. In order to qualify, chiropractors must successfully pass four of the seven required exams.
To start treatment, chiropractors assess a patient’s medical history and examine the structure and function of the spine and joints. Then, they create a treatment plan based on the best clinical findings. In most states, before a chiropractor may start treatment, he or she must obtain written authorization from the patient. In most cases, this authorization is necessary for the patient to receive treatment. You may call your local regulating body to find out what steps you need to take to start obtaining your chiropractor’s license.
In most states, chiropractors can begin providing chiropractic care in the office. They may work under the supervision of a licensed physician or practitioner, in which case he or she would be referred to as a primary care physician. In some states, however, licensed chiropractors are allowed to treat patients under their own supervision. If this is the case in your state, then you would need written permission from your primary care physician to perform chiropractic adjustments on patients.
Many people seek chiropractic care for a variety of ailments, including back pain. Back pain can cause extreme discomfort for the person who has it and can be a serious distraction in daily life. In addition to treating the back pain, chiropractors can also treat various other ailments in a similar way. They may even seek out patients with health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, or other disorders that affect the hips, shoulders, or legs. Because chiropractors are trained to evaluate these conditions and seek to treat them in an appropriate way, they may even seek out patients who have no underlying medical condition and treat them as needed.
It is important to know and understand how chiropractors do the chiropractic adjustments. To start with, a chiropractor will place his or her hands into the patient’s spine as if she were a small child trying to manipulate some loose tissue in the mouth. From there, the chiropractor will apply controlled forces along the spinal column, which will often include spinal manipulative therapy. Most chiropractors use a variety of manual therapies, but most of them rely on chiropractic adjustments as a mainstay of their practice.
Although spinal manipulation can relieve pain and promote healing in its own right, it is important to note that chiropractors are not medical doctors. Their job is simply to make sure that the body is operating within the limits of its physical abilities. In other words, they are not healers, but they can refer you to a medical doctor if your condition calls for it. Be sure to consult your primary care doctor first, especially if your back pain or other condition is causing serious complications and you need medical treatment.