Brief Facts About Chiropractic
Chiropractic is a method of health care that includes the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and injuries. Chiropractic physicians (DCs) are trained and licensed to use diagnostic techniques the same as those of medical physicians but also receive additional extensive training in the diagnosis of problems of the musculoskeletal system and in treatment utilizing non-surgical physical medicine, adjustive and manipulative procedures called Chiropractic Manipulative Treatment (CMT) or Physical Medicine.
Chiropractic physicians view the body as having a natural ability to heal and to maintain homeostasis. The nervous system, because it is the system that controls function in the body, is affected by malfunctions in the neuromusculoskeletal system.
While chiropractic physicians acknowledge the fact that many illnesses are caused by infections and toxic causes, they also emphasize the fact that many physical ailments result from abnormal structural alignment and interference with normal nerve function.
In the view of chiropractic physicians, the body is very frequently capable of healing itself, and the chiropractic doctor’s goal is to relieve pressure, irritation or interference in the nervous system and musculoskeletal system so that the body can be allowed to heal itself and for function to improve to whatever degree possible.
Intake and Treatment
In addition to recording patient history and symptoms, the chiropractic doctor performs a general physical examination, observes the posture and gait of a patient, palpates bones, and examines reflexes both to make a diagnosis and to determine which chiropractic techniques will be most effective. Chiropractic physicians utilize x-rays for diagnosis and to insure that manipulation will not adversely affect a patient. Chiropractic physicians utilize laboratory testing and conventional diagnostic methods common to all the healing professions.
Chiropractic doctors use gentle forms of spinal adjustment and a variety of other types of manipulation, preceded by soft-tissue therapies and various forms of physiotherapeutics that help the muscles to relax. Numerous techniques are used including forms of bodywork and physiotherapeutic modalities such as cryotherapy and decompression.
Education, Licensure, and Regulation
There are 18 chiropractic colleges in the United States and these are accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE). Pre-chiropractic requirements vary from 90 semester hours to a baccalaureate degree. The chiropractic course is a four to five academic year program consisting of more than 4,600 classroom hours similar to MD (Doctor of Medicine) and DO (Doctor of Osteopathy) colleges.
The chiropractic college curriculum is standardized and includes clinical as well as basic sciences and standard as well as structural and functional diagnosis. Clinical experience is required prior to graduation and is accomplished either through clinics associated with the colleges or through preceptor programs in which student doctors work under the supervision of licensed and certified chiropractic physicians in private clinics approved by the college and by the state board of chiropractic examiners in the state in which the clinic is located.
Chiropractic doctors are licensed in all 50 states and most foreign countries. The profession is regulated by the state board of chiropractic examiners. The graduate is required to pass the national boards in order to apply for licensure in the various states. Most states, including Oklahoma, also require additional testing and extensive background checks prior to application for licensing examinations.
Insurance and Managed Care
Chiropractic care is covered by most insurance plans and nearly all managed care plans (HMOs & PPOs), workers’ compensation, automobile medical pay plans, many government programs including veteran’s health programs, Medicare and active duty military healthcare programs.
Hospital Staff Includes Chiropractic Physicians
Over 500 hospitals in the United States include chiropractic physicians on the medical staff.