5 reasons why your Chiropractor is a “real” Doctor (2023)

Home » 5 reasons why your Chiropractor is a “real” Doctor (2023)

When it comes to healthcare, the term “doctor” often brings to mind the image of a medical physician in a white coat holding a little stick, asking you to say “aaaaah“.

However, there are other healthcare professionals who hold the title of “doctor,” including chiropractors!

Chiropractors specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, with a focus on the spine and nervous system. But are they real doctors? The answer may surprise you.

Today we settle the topic: Is my Chiro really a Doc? and, How are they trained? and even, How can you become one?

At a Glance:

  • Chiropractors complete extensive education and training, including doctoral-level programs.
  • Chiropractors are licensed healthcare professionals who undergo rigorous testing and continuing education requirements to maintain their licenses.
  • Chiropractors are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions, such as sciatica, headaches, and spinal disc injury.
  • Chiropractors work closely with medical doctors to provide holistic, patient-centered care.
  • Chiropractic care is safe, effective, and widely recognized as a valuable form of healthcare.
chiropractic doctor visit

Are Chiropractors Doctors?

Yes – Chiropractors (Doctors of Chiropractic, or “D.C“) hold the relevant degrees from extensive, regulated training, and are licensed to practice in their respective regions. They are not medical doctors, however the title “Dr.” is legally used is many countries.

Their focus is musculoskeletal system disorders, grounded in a holistic approach to pain relief and injury prevention.

You could say that Chiropractors are a pure form of Doctor – they treat the body naturally, without medicine, with great respect for your body’s wisdom.

What is Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractic care involves the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders related to the spine, nervous systems, and musculoskeletal system.

Chiropractic treatment is centered around spinal manipulation (chiropractic adjustments) and other non-invasive techniques that promote good health, enhance range of motion, and alleviate chronic pain, neck pain, and lower back pain.

Chiropractic care is not limited to spinal adjustments but often incorporates corrective exercises, ergonomic changes, dietary guidance, and lifestyle advice. This holistic approach aims to improve a patients’ overall health and well-being by addressing underlying issues rather than merely treating symptoms.

Chiropractic doctor lifting patient leg

Education and Licensing Requirements for Chiropractors

To become a chiropractic doctor, one must complete rigorous chiropractic education, including undergraduate degree programs in health sciences or related fields.

This is followed by graduate studies in chiropractic schools, where aspiring chiropractors obtain their Doctorate of Chiropractic (DC) degrees.

Chiropractic students must master basic sciences, clinical training, and chiropractic manipulation techniques during their studies.

Licensing requirements for chiropractors include successful completion of national board exams and fulfillment of any additional requirements imposed by their respective regions. This ensures that only qualified and reputable chiropractors are allowed to practice.

chiropractic course graduation
New chiropractic graduates from top U.S. institutions, including Palmer College of Chiropractic in Iowa, Logan University in Missouri, and Life University in Georgia. They have successfully completed extensive coursework and clinical training to earn their Doctor of Chiropractic degrees, now ready to offer holistic care to patients.

How to Become a Chiropractic Doctor

Becoming a chiropractor is an excellent career choice for those with a passion for helping others, a fascination with the human body, and an affinity for connecting with others – there’s really nothing else like it! By choosing the chiropractic path, you get to be the “spine whisperer,” easing people’s pain, one vertebra at a time.

The prime perk: you’ll be making a real, tangible, visible difference in people’s lives. As a chiropractor, you’ll witness firsthand the impact of your work as patients regain mobility, finally get pain relief, and enjoy life again – all thanks to your hands and knowledge.

The journey to becoming a chiropractic physician varies depending on the region. Here is a brief overview of the process in different countries:

United States

In the United States, chiropractic doctors must complete a minimum of 90 semester hours of undergraduate coursework before enrolling in an accredited chiropractic school.

After completing their chiropractic education, they must pass the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) exams and fulfill state-specific requirements to become licensed chiropractors.


Canadian chiropractic students must obtain an undergraduate degree, followed by a four-year Doctor of Chiropractic program at an accredited institution. Afterward, they must pass the Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board (CCEB) exams and meet provincial licensing requirements.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, chiropractic students must complete a minimum of a four-year integrated master’s degree in chiropractic (MChiro) accredited by the General Chiropractic Council (GCC).

They must then pass the GCC’s Test of Competence and fulfill any additional registration requirements.


Australian chiropractic students must complete a five-year double degree program, consisting of a Bachelor of Chiropractic Science and a Master of Chiropractic.

Upon graduation, they must register with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and meet ongoing CPD (continuing professional development) requirements.


What Can Chiropractors Diagnose?

Chiropractors in the United States are licensed healthcare professionals who are trained to diagnose and treat a variety of things, such as:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Whiplash and other car accident injuries
  • Sciatica and other nerve-related pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Work injuries
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Scoliosis
  • Posture-related problems
  • TMJ disorders

Do medical doctors like chiropractors?

The relationship between medical doctors and chiropractors has evolved over time, and today, many medical professionals appreciate and respect the expertise of chiropractors in their specialized field.

This collaborative environment has been fostered by an increased understanding of the value that chiropractic care can offer to patients, particularly when it comes to addressing musculoskeletal conditions and pain management.

As long as chiropractors and medical doctors stay within their respective areas of expertise, they can work together effectively to provide comprehensive care to their patients.

Is a chiropractor the same as a doctor?

While chiropractors focus on non-invasive techniques (like spinal manipulation) for musculoskeletal and nervous system disorders, medical doctors will emphasize pharmaceuticals and have limited training in physical management of conditions.

Despite these differences, collaboration between the two professions provides well-rounded care for patients.

Scope of Chiro Practice

Chiropractic doctors specialize in treating musculoskeletal and soft tissue conditions, with a particular focus on spinal health and the nervous system’s control of your body.

The relevant scope of practice as defined by the WHO includes manual adjustments of the spine, physical examination, injury prevention, and providing drug-free movement solutions and advice to address various physical health conditions.

Chiropractors often collaborate with medical professionals, such as medical doctors and physical therapists, to create comprehensive treatment plans for their patients. They can also offer sports medicine, nutritional counseling, and other complementary therapies to promote optimal health.

The Safety Record of Chiropractors

Chiropractic care is widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for various ailments, including low back pain, neck pain, and headaches.

While some side effects may occur, such as soreness or discomfort, these are overwhelmingly mild and short-term.

Chiropractic treatment has a lower risk of complications compared to more invasive medical procedures, such as surgery or prescription medications.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of chiropractic care in reducing pain and improving mobility for patients suffering from musculoskeletal conditions, for example knee osteoarthritis pain. It has also been shown to be beneficial for pregnant women, as it can help alleviate discomfort and promote better alignment during pregnancy.

The Role of Chiropractors in Healthcare

Chiropractors play a significant role in the healthcare system as primary care providers for spinal and musculoskeletal health issues. They are uniquely positioned to address a wide range of health concerns through a holistic and non-invasive approach.

This makes chiropractic care an appealing option for patients seeking an alternative to traditional medical treatment.

Chiropractors are also integral in promoting injury prevention and good health among the general population. They provide valuable lifestyle advice and guidance on maintaining optimal musculoskeletal health.

Furthermore, chiropractic doctors can work in tandem with other healthcare professionals, such as physiatrists and physical therapists, to create a comprehensive care plan for patients.

Insurance companies are increasingly recognizing the value of chiropractic care and including it as a covered service in their plans. This demonstrates the growing acceptance of chiropractic treatment as an essential component of the healthcare system.

Checklist: Choosing the Best Chiropractor

Finding the best chiropractor for your specific needs can seem a challenge, but by considering the following aspects, you can narrow down your search:

  • Does the chiropractor hold a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from an accredited institution?
  • Is the chiropractor licensed to practice in your region?
  • Does the chiropractor have experience treating your condition, based on website information, reviews, or local groups (e.g facebook)?
  • Do they have experience working with patients like you, such as infants, expectant mothers, or whiplash victims?
  • Does the chiropractor accept your insurance, or are they a cash practice (applicable mainly for the U.S)?

By asking these questions and conducting thorough research, you can find a chiropractor who will hopefully provide the highest quality care for your unique health needs.

Home » 5 reasons why your Chiropractor is a “real” Doctor (2023)

Author Bio

Dr Jason Whealing headshot

Dr. Jason Whealing is a Chiropractor with extensive experience across the UK and Australia. He is passionate about family care and injury management. The cases Jason works with daily include back pain, neck pain, jaw pain, sciatica, knee pain, shoulder pain, headaches and migraine.

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