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As late as the 1800's, medical doctors (MDs) often received their education by apprenticeship to practicing doctor.
"The likely youth of that period, destined to a medical career, was at an early age indentured to some reputable practitioner, to whom his service was successively menial, pharmaceutical, and professional; he ran his master’s errands, washed the bottles, mixed the drugs, spread the plasters, and finally, as the stipulated term drew toward its close, actually took part in the daily practice of his preceptor,—bleeding his patients, pulling their teeth, and obeying a hurried summons in the night" (Flexnor, Medical Education in America, The Atlantic,2010).
Medical education today has dramatically changed. Chiropractic education likewise has become much more standardized and rigorous since its origins back in 1891. Today chiropractic eduction is among the more stringent programs of the health care profession in the U.S.
"The typical applicant at a chiropractic college has already acquired nearly four years of pre-medical undergraduate college education, including courses in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, psychology and related lab work. Once accepted into an accredited chiropractic college, the requirements become even more demanding — four to five academic years of professional study are the standard. Because of the hands-on nature of chiropractic, and the intricate adjusting techniques, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical training" (ACAtoday).
A comparison of chiropractic education to a MD or physical therapy program is as follows. Note that hours listed do not include an MDs time in post-graduate residency.
- Meeker W, Haldeman H. Chiropractic: A Profession at the Crossroads of Mainstream and Alternative Medicine. Annals of Internal Medicine 2002, Vol 136, No 3.
- American Physical Therapy Association. 2005-2006 Fact Sheet, Physical Therapist Education Programs. January 2007.
Officially licensed as health physicians, chiropractors have the capability to clinically evaluate, dignose, and refer as appropriate. Chiropractic physicians are not medical doctors as they tend to emphasize less invasive means of treatment.
If one is asking whether or not chiropractors are medical doctors (MDs), the answer is no. Chiropractors have chosen not to include medicine in their treatment options, and therefore are not educated nor qualified to practice medicine.
When they ask in the movies "Is there a doctor in the house?" they typically do not mean a doctor of dentistry, a PhD in English literature, nor a chiropractor. However, a dentist is still referred to as a doctor, and a college professor likewise is called a "doctor." Chiropractors today are qualified doctors with the ability to work together with medical doctors in your best interests.
We never under-estimate what the body can recover from, sometimes in spite of medical intervention. However, in some cases medical care is necessary. We understand that it is wise to go the natural route first, so a good rule of thumb is:
"Natural first. Drugs second. Surgery last."
Today chiropractors have privileges in many hospitals. Ideally, doctors of chiropractic would go through every ward and check all patients' spines; after all, who needs healthy spines more than people facing life-threatening diseases?
The presence of D.C.'s in hospitals is a welcome beginning - hopefully paving the way toward making drugless, natural methods of chiropractic care available to all hospital patients.
No. Chiropractic deals with the spinal column, nervous system, meninges and body structure. Massage therapists deal with muscle tension, circulation and body fluid drainage.
For most patients, chiropractic adjustments are painless. Some patients who are new to chiropractic treatments may involuntarily stiffen or resist the adjustment and feel a small amount of discomfort until they are able to relax during treatment. In addition, mild discomfort may be felt if the patient has had a recent trauma, such as whiplash, due to inflammation. However, many patients report a feeling of relief, calmness, and a sense of well being after the adjustment; others feel improved mobility.
When your vertebrae are adjusted, tiny pockets of gas are released from the joints, making a "popping" noise. It's the same sound you hear when you pop your knuckles. Not all patients hear this noise. It's not a sign that the adjustment is working or not working.
Dozens of research studies have documented the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic adjustments. They are significantly safer than taking medications or having spine surgery. Research shows complications from chiropractic adjustments are rare and random.
In one relatively recent study, adverse events like stroke are more likely to in a medical doctor's office than a chiropractors (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25494315" target="_blank">see here).
No. This is dangerous. Chiropractic adjustments need to be performed by a skilled professional.
Yes. Some osteopaths (DOs) perform these techniques (but this is rare these days). However, Chiropractors perform 95% of all adjustments in the world. Be careful of physical therapists, massage therapists, or "healers" who make similar claims but do not have the credentials, qualifications, and experience of a chiropractor.
Chiropractic adjustments (a precise method of restoring proper movement) are very useful in correcting:
- Pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, back, arms, hands, chest, abdomen, hips, legs, feet.
- Certain types of headaches.
- Injuries and trauma to the body such as whiplash.
- Leg pain and nerve disorders.
- Sports injuries and most muscular skeletal injuries such as tennis elbow, strained muscles, and sprained joints and ligaments.
- Bursitis and Tendonitis (conditions involving inflammation of soft tissues).
- Repetitive strain disorders such as carpal tunnel.
- Fibromyalgia (chronic muscle pain and stiffness).
Chiropractors believe and emphasize that the first response in most illnesses and injuries should be conservative care. However, chiropractors are also trained to recognize when an injury is outside of their scope of practice and will refer patients to the appropriate medical specialist if necessary.
Not always. A subluxation is like a dental cavity - you may have it for a long time before symptoms appear. That's why periodic spinal checkups are so important. Although it may be possible to know you have a subluxation, it is rarely possible to be sure you don't. An occasional spinal checkup is always a good idea.
If only it were (just a little!), there'd be a lot less sick people around and chiropractors wouldn't get patients who last saw a chiropractor "a few years ago when my back went out." It is possible to get used to feeling more balanced less stressed and more energetic as a result of periodic chiropractic care. You may become more sensitive to your body and know when you've "lost" your adjustment.
Yes. Having your subluxations corrected is important, no matter what other type of health care you are receiving. Today many D.C.'s and M.D.'s are working together in clinics and on joint research projects. M.D.'s are quite likely to have patients who are under chiropractic care; in fact many medical doctors see a doctor of chiropractic themselves.