What is a Chiropractor?

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A doctor of chiropractic (DC), chiropractor or chiropractic physician, is a medical professional who is trained to diagnose and treat disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Chiropractors treat patients of all ages—infants, children, and adults. They believe in a conservative (non-surgical) hands-on approach to treating these disorders.
Chiropractor with PatientSome chiropractors specialize in areas such as:
  • neurology
  • orthopaedics
  • sports medicine
  • rehabilitation
  • occupational and industrial health
  • nutrition
  • diagnostic imaging
  • internal Disorders
  • pediatrics
  • forensic sciences
A visit with a doctor of chiropractic is similar to other doctor appointments. The chiropractor takes the patient's medical history, performs a physical and orthopaedic neurological examination, and relies on other tests, such as diagnostic imaging and blood tests.
After a diagnosis is made, the chiropractor recommends a treatment plan. If the patient's disorder is beyond the scope of chiropractic care, the doctor refers the patient to the appropriate healthcare provider. Many times chiropractors co-treat patients with other healthcare providers.
Chiropractors do not perform surgery. Although hands-on manipulation of the problem-specific joints is central to chiropractic, treatment focuses on whole-body health. Working toward restoring and maintaining overall health may include physiological therapeutics (done by a physical therapist) and lifestyle counseling.
Chiropractors treat patients in different settings, such as a private or group practice, multi-disciplinary group practice, or hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
Updated on: 03/22/16
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Chiropractor Education and Training
Stephen M. Perle, DC, MS
This article was reviewed by Stephen M. Perle, DC.
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Chiropractor Education and Training

Chiropractic education and training is much more than spinal manipulation and includes anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and pathology.
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