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Chiropractors are medical professionals that treat patients with health problems of the neuromusculoskeletal system, which includes nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They use spinal adjustments, manipulation, and other techniques to manage patients' health concerns, such as back and neck pain.[1]

Many people who have injured their back or spine will seek out a chiropractor if they do not wish to go into any type of surgery. A chiropractor will utilize neuromusculoskeletal therapy, the moving of the joints and spinal column by hand. This technique will adjust the bones, ligaments, and joints back into their appropriate positions. These bones and ligaments will cause intense pain, and sometimes the numbing of limbs, if they are bumped out of place. A chiropractor will first go through a general education program as well as a master's or a PhD program to become qualified and certified. After licensed, they may build their own practice or join a larger company. Once working, their salaries can range from $30,000 to $140,000.

Job Description

A chiropractor will often examine the posture of their patient, and help them to correct it.

Through the realignment of the spine, chiropractic physicians help their patients to feel less pain. Injured people usually seek out chiropractors after car collisions, serious falls, a sports injury, or other similar accidents. These patients have come to chiropractors often because they would like treatment that does not include medications or surgeries. A chiropractor may ask questions about various lifestyle habits. Sleep, diet, and exercise may all factor into the patients pain. [2] A chiropractor will analyze their patients spine. They will look at the posture of the injured person, and also examine the curve of the spine. They may occasionally take x-rays to more easily diagnose the injury to the spine or other joints. [3]

A very important aspect of chiropractic care is neuromusculoskeletal therapy, the moving of the joints and spinal column. This is most commonly done by hand, but there are a few tools that can be used as well. A chiropractor will then create a plan for that patient to follow through with at home. This plan could range from administering heat or cold to the injured area, to completing certain exercises a few times a day. In a chiropractic office, rehabilitative and massage therapy may also be provided. Ultimately, a chiropractor may also refer their patients to other offices and possibly medical doctors who may be able to more effectively assist the patient's injuries. [3]


A chiropractor will use a chiropractic table when adjusting the joints of their patients.

Once meeting the chiropractor for the first time, the patient will explain to the doctor what types of pain they have been experiencing. The chiropractor will ask questions like how long they have been having this pain and where specifically they experience the most pain. It is also important for the doctor to know when the pain is most intense, and what activities aggravate the area. The doctor may also want to become familiar with the daily activities of the patient, such as their occupational duties and how often they exercise. [4]

The doctor may use static and motion palpation techniques, or neuromusculoskeletal therapy, to determine the bones or joints that need to be worked with. They will use their hands to feel what joints are restricted and need to be released in order to lessen the pain of the patient. If necessary, x-rays may also become necessary depending upon the injury. The doctor will then proceed with their decided adjustment of the back or neck. An adjustment is a manual manipulation of the spine and its joints. Adjustments may cause the bones and joints to pop, but not all the time. After an appointment, the chiropractor may advise his patients to ice or relax the area for the rest of that day. [5]


The salary of a chiropractor will depend upon a number of things. Years of experience, level of education, location of the practice, overhead expenses, and company size can all affect the outcome of a chiropractor's salary. The median wage of all chiropractor's across the country is around $67,000. However, this can drop or raise exponentially. The lowest 10% of chiropractors earn less than $32,000 annually, and the highest percentage will make over $142,000. [6] Some chiropractors will establish their own practice. If they do this, they will also become small business owners, and will pay their own salary as well as their employees. Another option is to attempt to be hired at an office which houses more than one chiropractor. In this scenario, a chiropractor will be paid by the head doctor. [7]


To become a chiropractor, one must first go through a graduate as well as a postgraduate program at an accredited university. They must receive a Doctor of Chiropractic degree to become a licensed chiropractor. This postgraduate course can take around four years. Before postgraduate study, a student will first receive a bachelor's degree. This must include courses in biology, physics, as well as chemistry. Postgraduate or doctorate education will include hands-on work. This will take place in classes such as anatomy, physiology, or other subjects relating to the human body. Clinical hands-on work is also included in these doctorate programs. In this clinic work, students will practice assessing injuries and adjusting patients. [8]

In addition to postgraduate education, a chiropractor can also choose to receive specialized education. This specialization can be in areas such as orthopedics or pediatrics. To practice in any state in the United States of America, a chiropractor must have a chiropractic license. To receive this certification, a doctor must have their doctorate degree as well as a bachelor's degree in most states. To obtain this license, The National Board of Chiropractic Examiner's exam must be passed. Some may even need to take a state-specific law exam. Chiropractors must continuously educate themselves and learn more about their practice to keep their license. [8]


An average adjustment on the neck of a patient


  1. Chiropractors U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Web. Publish January 8, 2014.
  2.] Web. 3 May 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. What Chiropractors Do Bureau of Labor Statistics. Web. 8 January 2014 (Date-Published).
  4. Chiropractic Examination. Spine-Health. Web. 19 May 2015 (Date-Accessed).
  5. Chiropractic Adjustment. Spine-Health. Web. 19 May 2015 (Date-Accessed).
  6. Chiropractors Pay. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Web. 8 January 2014 (Date-Published).
  7. Work Environment. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Web. 8 January 2014 (Date-Published).
  8. 8.0 8.1 How To Become A Chiropractor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Web. 8 January 2014 (Date-Published).