The medical world is filled with a huge array of specialists focusing their skills on myriad diseases, injuries, and health issues. Being able to effectively confront a medical problem often means finding the right doctor to provide treatment, and that means figuring out which type of specialist needs to be visited.
For those suffering from back or neck pain in the Downtown Vancouver area, finding a chiropractor could be the key to escaping from the pain. However, many people don’t fully understand what a chiropractor is or why they’re such an integral part of the medical community today. Dr. Stuart Kilian at Advantage Chiropractic believes that understanding chiropractors is the first step towards trusting in what they can do for you, which is of course a natural step towards pain relief and a better overall quality of life.
One of the key questions that man have concerning chiropractors is simple – are they doctors? It’s easy to assume that a chiropractor is a charlatan due to the way some are portrayed in the media, but there’s no snake oil here – chiropractors are doctors of their field, and over the years they have earned acceptance within the medical community and today are widely regarded as doctors. Taking a closer look at what they do and how they help patients can show you why this is.
The Education Of A Chiropractor
Chiropractors actually have to undergo more medical education than a physician will. This extensive training readies them to provide care to patients, and is often more involved than many realize. After high school, the basics of earning a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree will involve:
- 90 hours of undergraduate studies in medical areas including anatomy, biology, and more. This lays the foundation for their career.
- A 4-year chiropractic course must be completed next, involving hands-on training as well as traditional classroom work and culminating in receiving the DC degree.
- Over 500 hours of manual medicine training must also be completed in order to practice chiropractic care.
- Internships lasting one year must be completed as well, usually coinciding with clinical courses during the education.
- Continuing education is required as well, and chiropractors must complete routine educational courses to stay abreast of the latest developments in their field – just like any other doctor.
Simply put, a chiropractor goes through tremendous amounts of education and training in order to be able to provide care to their patients. As such, their breadth of knowledge is on part with their counterparts.
What Makes A Doctor A Doctor?
When looking more closely at whether or not a chiropractor is a doctor, one thing that’s worth taking a look at is just what makes a doctor a doctor. Consider health care professionals like podiatrists or dentists – or even psychologists. These people are considered doctors, though they’re generally defined as ‘non-medical doctors’ since they don’t often fit the traditional mold of a family physician. A chiropractor falls within that definition.
Essentially, a doctor is a medical professional who has undergone training and holds a license to diagnose and treat patients. In that way alone, a chiropractor is clearly a doctor – they see patients, diagnose their injuries or illnesses, and then treat them accordingly. There are two key differences between chiropractors and traditional doctors:
- Chiropractors focus on illness and injury that impacts the spine, and use manipulation and other techniques to help provide relief.
- Physicians and other doctors are licensed to prescribe drugs in order to help with illness or injuries. A chiropractor can’t write prescriptions, but in many cases the actual approach that they follow involves drug-free treatment anyway, and this actually fits into their preferred method of providing relief.
These are the main differences, and it’s important to note that many other medical professionals can’t prescribe you medications, either. As such, chiropractors are still widely considered to be doctors by most in the field. By delivering treatment and relief to patients, this alone should qualify them as such.
The Question Of Referrals
Another point to look at when asking yourself whether or not a chiropractor is a doctor or not comes down to the process of referrals. Referrals are an integral part of the medical community – when a primary care physician identifies an illness that is beyond their scope of practice or treatment, they will send patients to a specialist in that area. Identifying cancer means a referral to an oncologist. Gastrointestinal issues usually require a referral to a gastroenterologist.
The same applies to chiropractic care, and over the last few years more and more doctors have sent their patients to chiropractors after finding themselves unable to provide relief for problems. In particular, back and neck pain as well as sciatica issues are the three main reasons that a doctor could refer a patient to a chiropractor, and research has shown that these are all valid problems that a chiropractor can legitimately solve.
Referrals go both ways, however. Another main reason that a chiropractor stands out as a doctor is that they will actually refer patients to other medical professionals if it’s found that they can’t provide treatment for their issues. The willingness of a good chiropractor to send a patient elsewhere for treatment shows that they – like any doctor – actually care about solving a patient’s existing problems.
Is A Chiropractor A Doctor?
So, reviewing all of this information, the question still remains – is a chiropractor a doctor? The answer is, for most people, that yes, they’re a doctor. In fact, in recent years many insurance companies have adopted the same attitude and now chiropractic care is commonly covered by a variety of insurance policies that agree that a chiropractor is a doctor. However, they’re not exactly the kind of doctor that many think of when they hear the term.
But the medical community is very large and involves many different areas of practice. When it comes to muscular and skeletal issues, a chiropractor could be the one person who provides treatment that works. Just because they operate in private practices and don’t prescribe medications doesn’t mean that they’re not.