Chiropractor (doctor of chiropractic medicine)

Chiropractors are health professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of problems that affect the alignment of the muscles and bones of the body. They use a variety of techniques to adjust the spinal column to prevent and treat muscle, joint, and ligament problems.

Chiropractors believe the spinal and musculoskeletal system must be aligned for the body to function properly. They examine the spinal column, nervous system, and circulatory system and consider lifestyle choices, such as eating and exercise habits, when treating illness. Chiropractors can also provide muscle massage and ultrasound stimulation of tissue and may order tests, such as X-rays, but they generally do not prescribe medications.

Chiropractors must complete a minimum of 3 years (90 credits) of undergraduate study, with course work in anatomy, physiology, and chemistry, and then attend chiropractic school. Chiropractic schools require 4 to 5 years of study, including clinical experience. Chiropractors must then pass a national examination and be licensed by the state in which they practice. Licensure is required in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Last Updated: August 25, 2008

Author: Bets Davis, MFA

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine

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