Chiropractic Medicine

What is Chiropractic Medicine?

Chiropractic Medicine emphasizes the diagnosis and treatment of problems with the spine, nervous, muscular, and skeletal systems to help other body systems function properly. They believe that problems within these particular body systems lower a personís resistance to disease and affects how the rest of the body works. Chiropractors also believe that body pain is caused by skeletal imbalance and vertebral dysfunction, affecting the nervous system and altering the rest of the bodyís functions. Chiropractors are also referred to as chiropractic physicians or doctors of chiropractic and may specialize in areas such as pediatrics, diagnostic imaging, sports injuries, nutrition, orthopedics, internal disorders, and neurology.

Using a holistic treatment approach, chiropractors emphasize the importance of overall wellness and acknowledge that various factors affect health such as diet, heredity, environment, rest, and exercise. They encourage patients to improve their lifestyles by adjusting sleep, eating, and exercise patterns. Without using surgery or drugs, chiropractors treat patients by focusing on the natural healing and recovery abilities of the body.

Chiropractor Training and Job Qualifications

Licensure is required for a chiropractor to practice in all 50 states. Although each state demands different examination and educational requirements to obtain a license, agreements have been made between some states to recognize each otherís requirements for licensure.

For a license, State boards generally require the minimum of a 2-year undergraduate degree. Many states now require a bachelorís degree. In addition to a degree, chiropractors must graduate from a 4-year accredited chiropractic college.

The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners gives a four-part test that most State boards require to be passed for licensure. Some States require supplemental examinations for licensure.

Continuing education is necessary to maintain a license. Programs are often offered by accredited chiropractic programs and chiropractic associations. Chiropractors can attend specialty councils while continuing their education to obtain ďdiplomateĒ certification, or clinical specialty certification in sports injuries, internal disorders, nutrition, orthopedics, diagnostic imaging, neurology, occupational and industrial health, and thermography.

Applicants to a chiropractic institution or program must have a minimum of 90 credit hours of undergraduate study, but a bachelorsí degree is required before admission to many Chiropractic colleges. These credit hours must include courses in physics, organic and inorganic chemistry, psychology, biology, humanities, and English. Pre-chiropractic study and also a bachelorís degree program are offered by several chiropractic colleges. As of 2003, the Council on Chiropractic Education recognized the accreditation of 2 chiropractic institutions and 16 chiropractic programs in the U.S.

The majority of chiropractic programs in the first two years focus on laboratory work in science fields including pathology, public health, anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, and physiology. Clinical experience in geriatrics, neurology, nutrition, orthopedics, physiotherapy, and in laboratory and physical diagnosis, along with courses in spinal adjustment and manipulation are provided in the final two years of a program. After four years of study, the degree obtained from chiropractic institutions and programs is Doctor of Chiropractic.

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