One difference between a medical doctor and a chiropractic doctor is the chiropractic profession has chosen not to use drugs or surgery to treat disorders. Some people consider chiropractic to be the largest form of 'natural medicine' in the world. Sometimes chiropractic is called a Complimentary Alternative Medicine abbreviated CAM.
Like doctors in the field of medicine, in the court system, chiropractors serve as experts in the field of chiropractic. The success and popularity of chiropractic has led to it being added to the medical services offered by the United States Army, Air Force, and Navy.
History of Chiropractic
Did you know that chiropractic started in the United States of America? It is true. Historians state that on September 18, 1895 in Davenport, Iowa Daniel David Palmer started a college offering a degree in what is now called chiropractic. At that time in 1895, Dr. Palmer used his hands to perform a spinal adjustment to help correct a patient's deafness that was related to his spine - and, it worked!
Like other doctors, chiropractic training is difficult and takes years to complete. Most states require 4 years of college plus 4 years of chiropractic training at an accredited chiropractic college. Many other countries besides the United States have chiropractic colleges.
As students, they learn about anatomy, the body's processes (physiology) and other science, how the body moves (kinesiology), disease, how to diagnose disorders, x-rays (radiology) and other types of imaging and tests, physical therapy, nutrition and much more. Plus chiropractors learn special skills that include adjusting the spine to restore and maintain the spine's health.
Some chiropractors continue their education to specialize in sports injuries, orthopaedics, neurology, radiology, nutrition, and physical rehabilitation.
After school is completed, a chiropractor must pass rigorous national and state boards to become licensed. The 'boards' are very difficult tests that usually include oral and written tests. Throughout their career, chiropractors continue their education by taking special courses to be current in their profession.
Chiropractors work to restore the body's harmony - or happy balance by using treatments that are kind to the body's form and function. Treatment may include spinal adjustments, massage, heat or ice therapy, ultrasound, physical therapy, and exercise. These treatments help to relax tight muscles, ease pain, and increase the patient's ability to be active and flexible. The goal is to help the patient return to their normal activities of daily living.
As stated earlier in this article, chiropractors do not to use drugs or surgery to treat their patients. Along with the treatments listed above, they use their hands and bodily strength to gently adjust or manipulate the spine. It is not a good idea to try and adjust yourself - that is what a chiropractor is trained to do correctly! Adjustments are not painful or harmful - but a pleasant feeling of relief.
Some people visit a chiropractor even when they are not injured or hurting for treatment called well care. Well care is a routine check-up to help keep a patient in good health. The goal of this type of care is similar to an annual physical exam by a doctor or dentist - it can help to prevent a problem from developing.
Of course, it would be silly to think that a chiropractor can treat all disorders affecting a human being. For example -- would you expect a dentist to perform complex brain surgery? I don't think so!
If a chiropractor determines he (or she) cannot treat a patient, then the patient is referred to another type of doctor. Doctors of all kinds refer their patients to other types of doctors or health care professionals that specialize in different conditions and parts of the body.