The What and Why of Chiropractic
What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is the largest natural health profession in the world and the nation’s third largest primary health care profession, surpassed in numbers only by medicine and dentistry. Chiropractors have provided safe and effective health care to many people for more than a hundred years. Studies indicate that upwards of 15 percent of the U.S. population has consulted a chiropractor.
Chiropractic promotes the idea of vitalism, that the body has an inborn ability to heal. The primary role of a chiropractor is to restore and maintain the health of the spine and the nervous system in order to support the body’s natural ability to be healthy. Chiropractic care is delivered via a specific adjustment (usually done by hand) to restore integrity and function to the spinal column.
How is your health related to your spine?
Your health is both directly and indirectly controlled by the nervous system and any interference or instability within this system impairs normal function and lowers resistance to disease. The chiropractic adjustment restores the spine to a more functional and stable position which in turn allows the nervous system to function more effectively. When the spine and nervous system are operating at a higher level, this enables the body to function at a more optimal level and to heal through its own natural recuperative powers.
Chiropractors are highly skilled in the art of adjusting all of the joints of the spine which reduces the effects of chronic or acute trauma and biomechanical instability. An adjustment is a gentle and specific maneuver which can be applied effectively and safely to people no matter their age.
Why do people choose to become a chiropractor?
People frequently choose the field of chiropractic because they love the idea of helping people achieve health naturally, without the use of drugs and surgery.
People who make successful chiropractors usually possess qualities such as:
- an affinity for wellness and a healthy lifestyle
- an entrepreneurial spirit and an enthusiasm for being your own boss
- an enjoyment of meeting and spending time with people
- a personal drive to help people and make a difference
- a willingness to be different and say something new and important
How do you become a Doctor of Chiropractic?
The Doctor of Chiropractic Program at Life West is a professional program which typically takes three and a half years (14 quarters) to complete. The program is entered after the student has completed a bachelor degree or at least 90 semester hours of undergraduate work, with significant specific (see pre-requisites) preparatory coursework completed in the health sciences.
A chiropractic professional education provides the doctoral candidate with a core of knowledge in the basic sciences, clinical sciences, and many related health subjects. A chiropractor is a gatekeeper who provides direct access to the health delivery system and has responsibilities as a primary clinician. In practice, a chiropractor may offer services in wellness promotion, and health assessment, as well as the chiropractic management of the patient’s health care needs. A doctor of chiropractic will consult with, co-manage, or refer to other health care providers when appropriate.
What do you need to do after you graduate to become licensed as a chiropractor?
After earning your Doctor of Chiropractic degree you will need a few more things to get licensed.
- National Boards: In order to practice in the US you will need to complete all four parts of the national boards which are independently administered by the NBCE (National Board of Chiropractic Examiners link). Most students take the boards as they go through school and while the information is freshest in their minds.
- State license to practice: Every state has slightly different requirements for licensure, ranging from requirements prior to beginning school to specific educational coursework while in chiropractic school.
You will need to familiarize yourself with the requirements of any state you think you might be interested in being licensed in. You can do this research at the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards’ website. Ultimately, it will be your responsibility to make sure that you can become licensed in the state of your choosing.