Resources and Strategies

The Evidence-Informed Chiropractor


What Patients Should Know About Chiropractic Training And Scope of Practice



Common Questions

     As a patient, have you been curious about the training of your chiropractor and scope of a chiropractor's knowledge?

    How do you know when the treatment plan suggested is reasonable?

   What are the risks?

    Are chiropractors trained to screen for standard health risks and can they advise you regarding healthy living and wellness?


Chiropractic Education


A chiropractor's education is an exhaustive, intensive 4 year program. Many chiropractors elect to attend college through the summer months and can complete the program in a little over 3 years.


The training is, for the first 2 years, quite similar to medical education with a focus on the basic sciences including histology, embryology, anatomy, physiology (with separate courses based on systems such as gastrointestinal and cardiovascular), pathology (with separate courses based on systems such as gastrointestinal and cardiovascular), microbiology, and biochemistry.


Chiropractors do not receive in-depth training in pharmacology simply because they do not prescribe medications. They do receive training in the mechanisms of many common classifications of drugs and certainly in the potential side-effects that influence a patient's complaint(s).


 The scope of practice is different in each state and the reimbursement for services varies among companies, however:

  • Chiropractors are trained to take and interpret x-rays.
  • Chiropractors are trained to order and interpret laboratory tests.
  • Chiropractors are able to order a number of special tests including MRI, CT, electrodiagnostic studies (e.g. EMG/NCV), bone scans, absorptiometry (osteoporosis), diagnostic US, sleep studies, audiologic studies, and others.
  • Some chiropractors are able to cast for orthotics, cast for fractures, perform EKGs, and gait analysis and other biomechanical analysis.

Chiropractic is part of the health services provided for through the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Veterans' Administration. Services are gradually expanding across these facilities throughout the United States.

What are the benefits of chiropractic care?

Low Back Pain - Dx & Tx

Neck Pain - Dx & Tx

Headache - Dx & Tx

What are the risks of chiropractic care? Chiropractic care: The risks

How do I choose a chiropractor?

How to choose a chiropractor

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