Chiropractors, also known as doctors of chiropractic or chiropractic physicians, diagnose and treat patients with health problems of the musculoskeletal system and treat the effects of those problems on the nervous system and on general health. Many chiropractic treatments deal specifically with the spine and the manipulation of the spine. Chiropractic is based on the principle that spinal joint misalignments interfere with the nervous system and can result in lower resistance to disease and many different conditions of diminished health.
The chiropractic approach to healthcare focuses on the patient's overall health. Chiropractors provide natural, drugless, nonsurgical health treatments, relying on the body's inherent recuperative abilities. They also recognize that many factors affect health, including exercise, diet, rest, environment, and heredity. Chiropractors recommend changes in lifestyle that affect those factors. In some situations, chiropractors refer patients to or consult with other health practitioners.
Like other health practitioners, chiropractors follow a standard routine to get information needed to diagnose and treat patients. They take the patient's health history; conduct physical, neurological, and orthopedic examinations; and may order laboratory tests. X rays and other diagnostic images are important tools because of the chiropractor's emphasis on the spine and its proper function. Chiropractors also analyze the patient's posture and spine using a specialized technique. For patients whose health problems can be traced to the musculoskeletal system, chiropractors manually adjust the spinal column.
Some chiropractors use additional procedures in their practices, including therapies using heat, water, light, massage, ultrasound, electric currents, and acupuncture . They may apply supports such as straps, tape, braces, or shoe inserts. Chiropractors often counsel patients about health concepts such as nutrition, exercise, changes in lifestyle, and stress management, but chiropractors do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery.
In addition to general chiropractic practice, some chiropractors specialize in sports injuries, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics, nutrition, internal disorders, or diagnostic imaging.
Many chiropractors are solo or group practitioners who also have the administrative responsibilities of running a practice. In larger offices, chiropractors delegate these tasks to office managers and chiropractic assistants. Chiropractors in private practice are responsible for developing a patient base, hiring employees, and keeping records.
Chiropractors work in clean, comfortable offices. Like other health practitioners, chiropractors are sometimes on their feet for long periods. Chiropractors who take x rays must employ appropriate precautions against the dangers of repeated exposure to radiation.
Chiropractors work, on average, about 40 hours per week, although longer hours are not uncommon. Solo practitioners set their own hours but may work evenings or weekends to accommodate patients. Like other healthcare practitioners, chiropractors in a group practice will sometimes be on call or treat patients of other chiropractors in the group.
|1.||Diagnose health problems by reviewing patients' health and medical histories, questioning, observing and examining patients, and interpreting x-rays.|
|2.||Maintain accurate case histories of patients.|
|3.||Perform a series of manual adjustments to the spine, or other articulations of the body, to correct the musculoskeletal system.|
|4.||Evaluate the functioning of the neuromuscularskeletal system and the spine using systems of chiropractic diagnosis.|
|5.||Obtain and record patients' medical histories.|
|6.||Advise patients about recommended courses of treatment.|
|7.||Consult with and refer patients to appropriate health practitioners when necessary.|
|8.||Analyze x-rays to locate the sources of patients' difficulties and to rule out fractures or diseases as sources of problems.|
|9.||Counsel patients about nutrition, exercise, sleeping habits, stress management, and other matters.|
|10.||Arrange for diagnostic x-rays to be taken.|
|11.||Suggest and apply the use of supports such as straps, tapes, bandages, and braces if necessary.|
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