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Chiropractic Medicine Overview


For more information on becoming a chiropractor, see the career profile on the right. For salary ranges, schooling requirements and more, check out the Career Explorer.

Chiropractic medicine focuses on the relationship between the body’s main structures – the skeleton, the muscles and the nerves – and the patient’s health. Chiropractors believe that health can be improved and preserved by making adjustments to these structures, particularly to the spinal column. They do not prescribe drugs or perform surgical procedures, although they do refer patients for these services if they are medically indicated.

Once derided by the mainstream medical community, chiropractic medicine has become a well-recognized and highly respected health care field. Chiropractic services are covered by health insurance, including Medicare, and chiropractors are bound by the same regulations and ethics as allopathic doctors (M.D.) and osteopathic doctors (D.O.).

Most patients seek chiropractic care for back pain, neck pain and joint problems. However, many patients choose a chiropractor as their primary care doctor, because they prefer treatment plans that do not rely on medication or surgery.

Because of the emphasis on holistic health care, chiropractic medicine is associated with the field of complementary and alternative medicine.

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Note: The Association of Chiropractic Colleges reviewed this overview.

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