Chiropractor vs. Doctor

Chiropractor
Doctor

Are chiropractors "doctors"? Yes and No. They are doctors similar to non-medical "doctors" in other allied health care professions like optometry, podiatry, dentistry and psychology. Chiropractors usually have the academic degree of "Doctor of Chiropractic", which is awarded after an average of 8 years of university training.

However, medical doctors are allowed to prescribe medication while chiropractors are not (except in a few states, usually nutritional and homeopathic items). The scope of what medical treatment and procedures chiropractors are allowed to perform varies by state.

Comparison chart

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Chiropractor

Doctor

Residency and Internship One-year internship that coincides with clinical courses while in training. NO Residency required, but have the option to complete if accepted and desire to. One-year internship required, and 3-8 years of residency required for further specialization.
Practice Private practice clinics, generally. However, some are employed by health systems and hospitals. Generalist practice, neurology related, orthopedic related, and general alignment restoration dealing with the skeletal system. Same as Chiropractors but with larger focus at hospitals and clinics.
Can prescribe medication No. New Mexico recently allowed limited prescription rights to DCs Medical physicians (D.O., M.B.B.S., M.D.) can prescribe all medication.
Medical Licensing Exam (MLE) National Board Exam (NBCE). Parts I, II, III IV (practical) and state boards. USMLE or COMLEX (depending on specific medical degree) plus specialty boards after residency.
Treatment Techniques Chiropractic adjustment (grade I-V) ranging from soft tissue mobilization to joint adjustment. Electrical Stimulation. Acupuncture, Pain Management Extensive knowledge of general medicine, including knowledge of HEENT, Pulmonary, Cardiac, Vascular, Gastrointestinal, Genitourinary, Neurological, Psychiatric, Musculoskeletal, Endocrine, and dermatologic medicine
Years of medical school 4-5 undergraduate years (Bachelor's required / state dependent), 5 Chiropractic school, 1 year residency, minimum 10 years 4 years of undergraduate. 4-5 years of medical school. 3-8 years of Residency. Some may choose to do an additional fellowship as well. Minimum 11 years study for basic Family physician. Minimum 13-16+ years for any other specialty.
Status DC stands for Doctor of Chiropractic. They are not medical doctors, however for insurance purposes, some states consider chiropractors health care providers, some do not. All physicians are doctors. Some physicians are Primary Care Physicians, while others are specialists.
Surgery Minor surgery in some states. DCs are non-pharmacologic and non-surgical clinicians who are experts at conservative treatments within their scope of practice. However, do perform MUA in surgical setting. Specialists have full surgical rights in their area of expertise.
Specialization Orthopedics, Pediatrics, General Rehab, Internal Disorders, Radiology, Neurology, Nutrition, Occupational Health, Sports Med, Forensic Sciences. ENT, Ophthalmology, Anesthesia, Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Neurology, Cardiology, Pulmonology, Nephrology, Endocrinology, Pathology, Gastroenterologyl, Urology, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Psychiatry, Family Medicine
For more information Chiropractors are organized by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). www.acatoday.org. All information above was taken from this website. American Medical Association (AMA) and American Osteopathic Association (AOA)
Board Certification National exam, Chiropractic Board at the State level and Diplomate specialty boards. Medical Board at the State level and National specialty boards.

Contents: Chiropractor vs Doctor

edit Definition

A doctor of chiropractic is a professional that is engaged in the diagnosis of conditions throughout the body and focuses on the treatment of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, whereas a medical doctor is a medical professional involved in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries of the whole body. There are different types of medical doctors, such as psychiatrists pediatricians, neurologists, cardiologists, and so on, depending upon further studies in different areas of specialization. There are also different types of doctors of chiropractic, such as radiologists, orthopedists, sports medicine specialists, pediatricians, and so on, who require further studies and the passing of national examinations.

edit Differences in Medical Education and Training

The academic degree for chiropractors is called the "Doctor of Chiropractic", referred to as "DC". The World Health Organization (WHO) also lists other potential paths for pursuing this full time: B.Sc (Chiro) a 5-year integrated bachelor program and a 2-3 Masters program (M.Sc. Chiro) following a bachelor’s degree. Candidates can apply to a DC program after completing a four-year undergraduate degree. The DC Program is a four or five-year full time program. Post-graduate residency is available in specialized spheres of chiropractic like orthopaedics, radiology and neurology. Although chiropractic is the third largest doctor level health care profession, it suffers from having less credibility than other medical professions due to some chiropractic practitioners' rejection of evidence-based medicine.

American physicians are awarded the Doctor of Medicine degree (MD) or the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree (DO). Both of these degrees are awarded after four years of medical school. Candidates are required to take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), and complete a four year undergraduate program in order to be eligible for a medical school program. Before graduating, students are required to take the COMLEX (Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination) and/or the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination) Parts 1 and 2. Also a minimum of one year of internship (PGY-1) and USMLE Step 3/COMLEX Level 3 examinations are required before practicing in the United States. Further specialization requires 3-8 years of training and residency.

edit Differences in Treatment techniques and Specialization

There are at least 20 types of techniques used by doctors of chiropractic. These include manipulation of the spine and other joints--referred to as "extremity adjusting", Activator techniques (which uses a hand held device), Cox Flexion-Distraction (which targets compressed spine and relieves back pain), Thompson technique (method of adjustment in which the length of legs in analyzed to determine the type of misalignment and uses a “drop table”), Gonstead (looks at misalignment of spine causing pinched nerve), Sacro-Occipital technique (addresses the dysfunction of the base of the spine), which aims to correct vertebral and pelvic misalignments. Other modes for relieving pain are exercises, physiotherapeutic modalities like ultrasound, electrical stimulation, laser, cryotherapy (ice packs), nutritional and dietary recommendations, stress-relieving and relaxation techniques, disease prevention advice, and many chiropractors also use acupuncture.

Medical physicians can specialize in various areas and treatments that vary depending on the type of disease and age group. Specialists such as paediatricians treat children, internists specialize in internal medicine for adults, dermatologists treat disease and conditions pertaining to the skin, oncologists specialize in diagnosing and treating cancer, and so on. Treatments include, but are not limited to, diagnosing and prescribing drugs, surgical treatments, and other therapies that are beyond the scope of this article.

edit Board certification for a medical doctor vs doctor of chiropractic

In the United states, Canada and Australia, licensing or registration is done at the state level before practicing. Chiropractic schools are accredited through the Council for Chiropractic Education (CCE) and regional accreditation agencies.

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Comments: Chiropractor vs Doctor

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Anonymous comments (12)

July 13, 2010, 1:57pm

You wrote - Are chiropractors "doctors"? Yes, similar to non-medical "doctors" in other allied health care professions like optometry, podiatry, dentistry
, psychology, etc.
You must be joking. Chiropractors cannot prescribe drugs except in a very few jurisdictions. In those jurisdictions, the drugs they are allowed to prescribe are largely homeopathic, vitamin supplements, etc. They are much more limited than Physician's Assistants for instance, or many nurses in their ability to prescribe drugs. To compare them to dentist or podiatrists is absurd. Chiropractors cannot perform ANY invasive procedures. Dental specialists, e.g. maxilofacial oral surgeons are involved in major surgery. chiropractors "tend to pride themselves on not relying on medication" speaks volumes. So, treat hypertension with spinal manipulation? Well they did it just a few decades ago, as well as cancer. That's the problem: they fool people into accepting chiropractic when they need real medical treatment

— 164.✗.✗.3
2

May 16, 2014, 12:49am

MD implies medical doctor, so the education is geared towards helping people with such interventions as pharmaceutical drugs which are controlled by the FDA. Some MD's can specialize in an area such as podiatry or brain surgery which would require a more focused education in that area and would take longer to complete. A DC is a doctor of chiropractic, so the education is aimed at helping people with their hands ( chiro meaning hands). Their education involves a focus on non-invasive approaches with a greater emphasis on treatments that result in fewer side effects than those of the chemicals in pharmaceuticals. It is however an education that requires more educational credit hours than most medical schools, some being a five year curriculum beyond undergraduate level. The educational approaches for these health practitioners are different resulting in different approaches to treating their patients. MD's are taught a paradigm concerned with diagnoses and palliative approaches, and whenever possible, of course, a curative approach is taken to resolve health issues. DC'c are taught a paradigm concerned with prevention of chronic disease by being an educator to the patient so that the patient takes a responsible approach toward their own health and well being. Another significant difference is that MD's primarily treat people who have a sickness, but a chiropractor can also treat those looking to step up to optimal health. There is actually more evidence that chiropractic spinal manipulation helps correct back pain than any other health approach available. Search for solid, reputable, research like randomized controlled trials and you will find the truth. Don’t place too much clout in the multiple case studies and case reviews that fill science with questionable outcomes.

— 67.✗.✗.84
1

February 11, 2013, 4:45pm

“Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases.” ..Hippocrates, 460-377 BC.

Any attempt to overcome the ignorance of individuals who know nothing about the academic or clinical education of Chiropractors is a futile effort. Continued attempts to validate the profession against the opposition of those that would rather mask and address symptoms that identify causes are useless. People cannot hear what they do not wish to listen to.

— 76.✗.✗.191
1

July 18, 2010, 1:58pm

Chiropractic defines itself as being a drugless profession. To minimize the profession by saying they cannot prescribe drugs is illogical. The values of the profession are simply focused on optimizing the bodies natural healing capacity. As far as high blood pressure, the University of Chicago did a study published in 2007 under George Bakris, M.D., director of the University of Chicago hypertension center where he concluded (and I quote): "This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination. We saw no side effects and no problems." As far as cancer goes, I'm sure there have been a few chiropractors over the past 100 years that have overstepped their scope. But having seen my own grandmother killed by medical doctors after they caused her heart to stop with anesthetic, punctured her lung while installing a pacemaker and gave her septicemia (which killed her) in the course of the surgery... medicine has no high ground to stand on here.

— 98.✗.✗.165
1

December 9, 2013, 1:45pm

Are chiropractors "doctors"? Yes and No. I read further about the Yes part, but didn't see any explanation for the No. I am a doctor of chemistry. Should I put my title in quotes like the article does? Would that mean that I am not a real "doctor"?

— 76.✗.✗.248
0

July 11, 2013, 6:32pm

Docror of physchology... Lol. I will heal you with words, hallelujah! Doctors of chiropractic are creating wellness and health all over the world naturally! I have seen people with carpal tunnel, sciatica, horrendous disc injuries, headaches/migraines, plantar fasciitis, trigeminal neuralgia, adhesive capsulitis, chronic knee pain, chronic ankle pain, neck pain etc. Be completely symptom free through chiropractic care. I have had patients come in who were taking 80 mg oxycontin for their pain get completely off medication. Do you know that more people die from prescription drugs than heroin, crack, cocaine all cbined!? Numb the brains of america and you are healer lol. I had a patient that the doctors couldn't figure out her issue so they put her on antidepressants to numb her brain as a hope to decrease pain... 3 weeks in my office and she was running 4 miles a day pain free.

— 75.✗.✗.245
0

November 19, 2013, 6:20pm

The primary difference between a chiropractor and an M.D. or D.O. is that a chiropractor does not diagnose you as having a condition. Medical doctors provide a diagnosis and prescribe a treatment aimed at that diagnosis. Both the diagnosis and effectiveness of the prescribed treatment are scientifically measurable things for which the doctor is professionally liable for. For that reason, the level of responsibility is much higher for a medical doctor than a chiropractor. Chiropractic care, in general, isn't considered medically necessary and it's effectiveness is completely subjective based upon the patients personal feelings. But the term "doctor" is used to describe anyone with an advanced degree barring that name. So, in that sense, chiropractors are doctors, and certainly well educated people deserving of much respect. They just aren't medical doctors.

— 69.✗.✗.100
-1

October 17, 2012, 6:48pm

The very fact that chiropractors always feel the need to defend the legitimacy of their profession is pretty telling. Fortune tellers also insist that those who denounce fortune-telling are ignorant and misguided. Auto mechanics, on the other hand, don't have to convince everyone that they aren't quacks...the fact that they make cars work speaks for itself. I have had plenty of experience with both DC's and MD's - just my two cents here.

— 71.✗.✗.11
-1

September 20, 2011, 2:51pm

Webster's Dictionary defines a doctor as "a person skilled or specializing in healing arts; especially : one (as a physician, dentist, or veterinarian) who holds an advanced degree and is licensed to practice"
A Chiropractor does fit in to that definition therefore a Chiropractor is a Doctor.

— 69.✗.✗.2
-1

March 5, 2011, 3:05am

There are over 90.000 licensed chiropractic physicians in the United Stated alone, and I can guarantee you there are some irresponsible ones, even quacks. However, I can also guarantee there are many more invasive procedures, sham drugs prescribed (IE: Vitamin D2), and unnecessary surgeries performed by other quack physicians than the few unethical chiropractic physicians out there. The difference is, the other procedures carry much more risk and cost than any unnecessary adjustments would ever amount to. The only reason chiropractic medicine has survived the fear mongering of those stood to lose a lot of money and patients if word got out it actually does some good, is that it does some good. Please see:( J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2010 (Nov); 33 (9): 640–643) and ask yourself why this was not on the news or every other ad on television? Hint: ($) If anyone has a more current study showing the proof of snake oil sales and the millions of patients duped by it per year, shout ba

— 97.✗.✗.67
-1

December 22, 2013, 6:38am

Chiropractors do not perform physical therapy.

— 184.✗.✗.103
-2

January 13, 2011, 12:52am

Chiropractics 'doctors' are absolutely nothing whatseoever like doctors of psychology. The latter is a proper accredited degree, the former is quackery

— 130.✗.✗.23
-2

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