Are you one of the 79% of American adults who would rather avoid treating their back or neck pain with medication and surgery if possible? If so, you might have visited a chiropractor for alternative treatment.
Chiropractors treat chronic pain, acute injuries, and other medical conditions. They also use spinal manipulation, massage, exercise, and modalities like E-stim to reduce pain. There’s no doubt that they’re great at helping us feel better, but are chiropractors doctors?
For the answer to that question and an explanation of how people enter this profession, keep reading.
Are Chiropractors Doctors?
If they treat medical conditions, then chiropractors are just specialty doctors, right?
Yes and no. The chiropractor vs doctor question needs to be broken down into smaller parts to identify the differences.
First, are chiropractors doctors? Yes, they technically are. They hold a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree.
Are chiropractors medical doctors, and do chiropractors go to medical school? The answer to both of these questions is no.
Rather than attending medical school, chiropractors enroll in an accredited graduate training program. All schools that offer DC degrees have to meet the standards set by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE). This means that while they’re a type of doctor, they can’t prescribe medications or do surgeries.
Becoming a Chiropractor
The first steps to becoming a chiropractor are graduating from high school and college. Their undergraduate coursework includes biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and other natural sciences.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree, they’ll apply to a doctorate program for chiropractics. These programs are often four years long but can be longer if a student decides to pursue a specialty. To graduate, they’ll have to complete at least 4,200 hours split between labs, classroom work, and clinical practice.
After graduating, the next step is to take the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) licensing exam. If they pass and complete the licensing process, they can start treating patients.
Differences in State Licensing
While all chiropractors take the NBCE licensing test, they can’t practice everywhere after taking it. Once they decide where they want to work after graduation, they have to get a license from that state. This may involve taking another test as well.
This means that a Brooklyn chiropractor would have a New York-specific license. At the same time, a Denver chiropractor would only be able to practice in Colorado.
Despite the different requirements for each state, though, you can rest assured that the rigorous testing they have to go through means your chiropractor knows what they’re doing.
Chiropractors Provide Valuable Medical Treatment
Even though the answer to “are chiropractors doctors?” is both yes and no, it doesn’t undermine the value of the services they provide.
If you have chronic pain or an injury and are looking for alternative treatment, seeing a chiropractor can help. Make sure to check with your primary care doctor to make sure you’re a good candidate before making an appointment.
Are you looking for more insight into the medical community or advice on staying healthy? If so, make sure to check out the other articles on our site.