April 23, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Chiropractic is a drug free non-invasive health practice that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the affects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health.
Using their hands to manipulate the spine, muscle and joint positioning, chiropractors provide a range of manual manipulation techniques to attain better alignment and positioning for the body. This is achieved using a controlled sudden force as chiropractors manipulate bone placement to improve quality and range of motion.
The role of a chiropractor is to work on the proper alignment of the spine and the body’s musculoskeletal structure to assist the body in healing itself without surgery or medication.
Using hands-on spinal manipulation and other manual alternative therapy, chiropractors can reduce pain in joints, muscles, bones, and connective tissue, including ligaments, cartilage and tendons. They also aim to re-establish mobility to joints affected by tissue injury caused by events such as an accident, injury, or repetitive stress such as sitting in a badly adjusted office chair all day with incorrect back support.
Chiropractors generally work with patients on a long-term basis. The first appointment determines the patient’s medical history and condition based on talking with the client and performing a physical examination. X-rays or lab testing may also be advised depending on the client’s condition. At the end of the consultation a manipulation may be performed, or the chiropractor may wait until the following visit or until lab results are available. After the initial 30-90 minute consultation, following appointments generally are between 15-45 minutes and focus on providing manual adjustments.
Some chiropractors only treat conditions related to the spine including lower back or neck pain, while other chiropractors can treat a wider range of conditions including chronic headaches or pain, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma and more.
Chiropractors generally work in private clinical practices with other health care professionals. Other positions are also available teaching and conducting research in universities or working as a health consultant in areas such as education and health promotion, sport, rehabilitation, occupational health and safety, medical legal advice or health insurance assessment. Typically they work eight-ten hours a day either in one or two shifts.
Chiropractors work with people individually or as part of a team of health care professionals. A good chiropractor will have the following skills and personality traits:
A genuine interest in the health and wellbeing of patients
Initiative, patience, sensitivity and tact
Excellent communication skills
Ability to work in a team
Excellent organisational skills
Ability to be encouraging, empathetic and firm
Ability to establish a good relationship with patients and their families
Interest in anatomy and physiology
Ability to work under pressure and manage time effectively
To practice as a chiropractor in Australia you have to complete a Bachelor or Masters degree in Chiropractic Science through a university. Entry into university courses requires the completion of Year 12 and pre-requisite subjects may include English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics depending on the university. Once you have graduated you are required to complete extensive clinical practice before you can receive accreditation. Graduates must also register with the Chiropractic Board of Australia before working as a chiropractor in any state or territory in Australia.