Chiropractor Job Description

A Chiropractor’s Career

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The chiropractor’s career centers around treating a patient’s overall health through manipulation of the musculoskeletal system in general, and the spine in particular. They are experts in regards to the vertebrae, and treat numerous muscular and nervous problems that their patients face. The profession is based upon the philosophy of treating diseases through proper alignment of the spine. Thus, a chiropractor’s treatment is completely natural, sans drugs or medications.

The Chiropractor’s Job Outlook

In spite of the popular misconception that often portrays chiropractors as “fake” doctors, more and more people of all ages are seeking chiropractic care. People are looking for alternatives to surgery or drugs – both of which often come with negative side effects – and they are finding that a chiropractor’s treatment can bring relief and healing.

As the baby boom population ages, they are seeking relief from musculoskeletal and joint problems and this has been a boon to the chiropractic profession. In addition, many in the sports world are discovering the benefits of chiropractic treatment of injuries to the back, neck and limbs. These groups, along with many others, are creating an increasing demand for chiropractic services.

Due to these factors, overall employment of chiropractors is expected to grow substantially over the coming years. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 28 percent growth in the profession between 2010 and 2020.

A Day in the Life of a Chiropractor

The chiropractor will spend the majority of his day counseling his patients, examining them and diagnosing their problems, and suggesting treatment plans. He may arrive at the office fairly early in the morning in order to accommodate patients who have to get to work later.

His first patient may have been in a minor car accident, and is complaining of pain in her neck. The chiropractor will run through some of his ordinary diagnostic activities to understand what is causing the pain and how to treat it.

He will talk to the patient to get ample details on her health history, as little details could make a difference in the treatment he recommends. Next, he will physically examine the patient, taking note of her posture, her spinal alignment, and the range of movement in the affected areas. If necessary, he will take x-rays and interpret the images. He may also test the patient’s blood pressure and take blood samples or other similar tests, as blood pressure or other blood problems may hinder the chiropractor’s treatment of the ailment. He tries hard to get a clear picture of the whole scenario before beginning his treatment or making a recommendation.

Next, he may treat the patient by manipulating her body parts and treating the spinal column. Once he has completed treatment, he might prescribe some specific exercises that will help to relieve the pain and strengthen the injured area.

Each patient will receive similar attention, and throughout the day, the chiropractor will offer advice and treatment for various ailments. He may consult with the patient’s family so that they can help with the healing process. He will often also coordinate treatment with other healthcare professionals if a patient needs more extensive treatment. For example, if a patient needs surgery, the chiropractor may work closely with a surgeon and be able to refer the patient. If a patient needs prescription drugs, the chiropractor won’t write the prescription, but he will refer the patient to a physician who can.

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Aside from actual treatment of patients, the chiropractor will have to perform many of the activities that are involved with running a medical office. Patient record keeping is a big job in any medical facility, and a chiropractor’s office is no different. Records must be kept carefully – and very confidentially. If he runs his own office, the chiropractor will also need to properly maintain his office, run promotions, and keep the business running.

He may need to confer with other health care professionals in regards to his patients’ treatment. If a patient’s ailment is beyond his reach, he is expected to provide help for that patient by referring him or her to the appropriate health care professional. This is an important moral aspect of the practice, and chiropractors must be very careful to pass a patient on to the appropriate physicians if treatment is beyond his skill level.

Some Handy Skills

As one practitioner has noted, “Compassion is the greatest asset a chiropractor can have.” Treatment is very hands-on, and a chiropractor cannot afford to be cold, distant or disconnected from his patients. If a chiropractor wants to run a successful and lucrative practice, it is vital that he develop excellent interpersonal skills.

Communication skills go hand in hand with the profession. Much of the chiropractor’s job centers around hearing and understanding a patient’s ailments, pains or concerns. He will need to listen closely, understand what the patient is communicating, and be able to respond appropriately. Being able to listen and respond clearly and kindly will help the chiropractor to develop a good rapport with his patients.

Finally, the chiropractor will need to be well organized and efficient. A chiropractor’s salary is largely determined by the volume of patients he sees, so being able to work efficiently both in seeing his patients and attending to administrational duties will be a great benefit to him.

Further Opportunities

Most chiropractors begin their careers in public hospitals or working under other established chiropractors. They advance by eventually opening their own practice or going into partnership with another chiropractor. Some also choose to specialize in a particular field, such as geriatric care, pediatric care, or athletic care.

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