Chiropractor - Job Description, Duties, Education, Skills, Salary, & Growth

Chiropractor


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Job Description

Chiropractors believe that the body can heal itself without drugs or surgery. They manipulate the structure of the body to bring about healing and restorative effects.

A Chiropractor's main job role and job description is to be a health care professional that is focused on the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders. They specialize in treating disorders through manual adjustment and/or manipulation of the spine.

Most chiropractors seek to reduce pain and improve the functionality of patients. They also educate them on how to live healthier and treat their bodies better.

Chiropractors focus on working with patients to help alleviate or reduce the pain and problems that are related to nerves, muscles, ligaments, bones, and tendons. The manipulation that Chiropractors tend to perform on patients involves small spinal adjustments or manipulating of the spine to help alleviate back and neck pain which might be affecting a patient elsewhere throughout their body.

The next important thing to remember about a Chiropractor's job is that Chiropractors believe that other traditional forms of medical intervention like prescription drugs or surgery aren't always necessary. Instead, the body can naturally heal itself through realignment of anatomical structures.

An easy way to remember what it is that Chiropractors do is to remember that they try to focus on the connection between the body's structure and its function. In other words, the Chiropractor will try to re-establish proper function in a particular region that a patient is suffering from by realigning the structure of the body.

In addition, Chiropractors are responsible for working with other healthcare professionals to determine how to treat patients who are suffering from chronic muscular, skeletal, and nervous system ailments.

Other Physicians or medical practitioners will often recommend that a client seeks the aid of a Chiropractor before recommending potential surgery or intensive medical procedure because an easier solution might exist with a Chiropractor's aid.

Chiropractors are also well known for their hands-on approach when it comes to readjusting or setting the proper bone structure alignment. Chiropractors will typically apply pressure or specific force to a targeted area that will allow them to reposition or alleviate pressure in certain areas that might be causing structural and functional problems throughout a patient.

This allows them to safely realign the skeletal structure that might be impacting another area. An example of this is how sleeping unnaturally for quite some time will cause pressure on your back, which then affects your knees or your stride. Chiropractors will assist patients in this scenario by realigning the spinal posture to help reduce the unnatural form that their stride might have taken as their stature slowly regressed.

Chiropractors believe that the body needs to be aligned for the muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems to ensure that the body functions properly, doesn't experience pain, and is resistant to disease or other illnesses. In the event that the body isn't properly structured or functioning properly, the body is potentially more susceptible to feeling pain or having a lower resistance to those diseases and illnesses.

Chiropractors do not perform surgery or typically prescribe pharmaceutical drugs or pharmaceutical prescriptions. If necessary, Chiropractors will refer patients who are not responding to the holistic methods of re-aligning the anatomical structure and should be seen by a specialist for the next stage of improving their care and overall well-being.

Becoming a Chiropractor is a great way to use a holistic approach in terms of healing and aiding patients. Chiropractors also use a variety of different exercises which are designed to improve the range of motion, improve structure conditions, and rehabilitate patients by strengthening support structures around the weak area.

It's important to remember that Chiropractors don't just focus on cracking your spine and setting it in place. They do a host of other things that are related to joints, muscles, and nerves. The reason that Chiropractors are often associated with the spine is because they mainly focus on the spine and are often seen using it as an example when they are attempting to explain a patient's condition or structural issues.

Chiropractors must also consider using alternative methods to diagnose and treat problems that a patient might be suffering from. This includes using different water therapy techniques, electric therapy, acupuncture therapy, massage therapy, and heat therapy techniques.

In addition, Chiropractors might also use different tools or items to help them alleviate some of the structural concerns that a patient is potentially suffering from with assistance devices like tapes, braces, and straps. These tools and devices help Chiropractors fix structural concerns temporarily until strength can be developed in the surrounding area and allow a patient to return to their normal routine.

Chiropractors might also be asked to complete a variety of other clerical or administrative tasks associated with patients and their medical evaluations. Depending on the nature of the healthcare business as well, Chiropractors might be in charge of running their own practice instead of working in another hospital or healthcare facility.

In the event that they are in charge of their own practice or work alongside other Chiropractors in running a large practice, they might be tasked with some additional accounting or administrative tasks that are associated with running a successful business venture.

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Responsibilities

Chiropractors have a handful of responsibilities that allow them to improve a patient's overall well-being through a holistic approach. As we've covered earlier, Chiropractors focus their efforts on resolving structural problems that might be affecting the nervous system somewhere else throughout their body.

For instance, a misaligned spine might cause some knee issues that can be fixed with a simple posture change. Chiropractors are responsible for treating people's musculoskeletal issues. They manipulate the skeleton to relieve pain and and improve overall health.

Chiropractors use a variety of non-surgical treatments to treat patients with:

  • Lower back pain

  • Leg Pain

  • Neck pain

  • Repetitive strains

  • Headaches

  • Sports injuries

  • Car accident injuries

  • Arthritic pain

While they primarily focus on treating neuromusculoskeletal disorders, chiropractors are not exclusively limited to problems with the nervous system and musculoskeletal system. They work with other healthcare providers and refer patients to medical doctors for other health concerns as they arise.

One of the most important responsibilities for Chiropractors is to assess a patient's physical and medical condition to understand what might be causing issues for them. Before the formal examination period begins, Chiropractors will often get a baseline reading on some important medical information like the patient's heart rate, blood pressure, or pulse. These are tools they can use to check how a patient is struggling based on the effort they exert later on in the examination process.

Another way in which Chiropractors try to understand what a patient is currently experiencing is through reviewing their medical history. By observing a patient's medical history, Chiropractors are able to determine whether or not the ailment they are suffering from has only recently started or been an ongoing issue for quite some time.

In addition, Chiropractors are able to tell what kind of work was previously done with the patient, and what success if any was accomplished as a result of those interventions.

Another way in which Chiropractors evaluate a patient is through active listening and communication skills. A patient might express some concerns that they're having and it's up to the Chiropractor to listen to those concerns and then watch their non-verbal actions to see if what they're saying aligns with the issues they could potentially be suffering from.

The next way that Chiropractors evaluate a patient is through the physical examination itself. This might revolve around watching the patient perform a certain exercise or evaluate the anatomical structure of the patient.

In addition, the examination will revolve around identifying how the posture of the patient is, the structure of the spine, and the reflexes that the patient demonstrates based on certain actions. The patient might have said that they don't think something is a major concern, but the physical examination that a Chiropractor conducts can elaborate on a potential larger issue or issue of greater concern that the patient is underselling.

Another key responsibility for Chiropractors is to conduct additional tests that help them get a better picture of what a patient might be suffering from. For instance, one way that Chiropractors can get a better understanding and picture of their patient's health and well-being is through the use of x-rays or additional tests. X-rays are fantastic ways to identify any underlying structural issues that cannot be easily seen based on other examinations conducted that we've highlighted above.

The next important responsibility for Chiropractors in their day to day routine is to help a patient by providing neuro and muscular-skeletal therapy. One way that Chiropractors provide neuro and muscular-skeletal therapy is to perform various soft tissue therapy. These soft tissue therapy sessions might include a light massage to the affected region or some of the non-traditional therapy methods we've highlighted above like water therapy or electric stimulation therapy.

Chiropractors will also assist patients by adjusting their joints or a patient's spinal column by manipulation with their hands. Another key job responsibility for Chiropractors is to analyze a patient's health and lifestyle.

Many patients don't understand how some of their lifestyle routines have contributed to their underlying issues. In this scenario, Chiropractors are in charge of identifying the underlying issues in their lifestyle and helping educate the patient about how those underlying issues are caused by their lifestyle choices.

One of the ways that a patient might have to change their lifestyle issues is through their nutrition as well. Different foods can help potentially speed up the recovery process and help strengthen their own anatomy as well. In addition, a patient's sleep habits might be affecting their ability to recover from exercises which then ultimately increase the strain and load they put on their musculoskeletal structure. Additional lifestyle choices might have an impact on their anatomical structure.

Chiropractors will also use different techniques that they have learned throughout their education to manually manipulate and adjust joints and the spinal column by their own hands.

The next important job responsibility for Chiropractors is that they have to have to effectively communicate with their patient about their condition, treatment options, and treatment plan. Many patients are unaware of how their ailments might be caused by a structural issue in another area, or how their lifestyle choices are contributing to their current issues.

Once a patient better understands what their condition is, the next thing that Chiropractors have to communicate to their patient is the different treatment options they have, different treatment plan lengths and considerations, and more.

Part of this process will also involve Chiropractors acting as a counselor or support system for patients who are concerned about their future prospects. This is where the effective communication techniques come into play as a Chiropractor in the day to day role, as healthcare professionals have to perform many different functions in their treatment and care capacity.

One way to ensure that they are providing proper support and guidance to their patients is to educate the patient about how simple changes in their lifestyle might lead to a drastic improvement in their overall well-being and condition. Effective education and communication rely on breaking things down that are easy to understand for those patients who find the concepts difficult to grasp.

The next important job responsibility for Chiropractors is to coordinate with other healthcare professionals regarding each patient and elaborate on the medical recommendations or medical treatments they provided if necessary. One way that Chiropractors ensure they keep track of everything that they recommended or have done is through the use of extensive medical records and patient notes.

Both of the patient notes and medical records are confidential to ensure that the Chiropractor or team of other healthcare professionals have all the tools they need to make important medical treatment decisions and guide the patient to improved overall well-being.

The next important job responsibility for Chiropractors is to stay up to date on relevant career and healthcare industry information. The best way to do this for Chiropractors is to regularly attend conferences and complete continuing education credits.

The completion of continuing education credits is a near-mandatory requirement for every healthcare professional to ensure that they are staying up to date on all the relevant healthcare knowledge, skills, and tools of the trade that are necessary to ensure they are providing safe and up to date care recommendations to their patients.

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Common Activities On The Job

For those who are potentially interested in pursuing a career as a Chiropractor, a glimpse into what a normal day's routine might consist of will help provide a better understanding of what it is that a Chiropractor can be expected to do each day. Here are some of the most common activities you can expect each day while working as a Chiropractor.

• Evaluate Patients

Arguably the most common activity on the job for Chiropractors is to evaluate the patients that come in. This will involve different baseline evaluations, exercise evaluations, reflex evaluations, and more. In addition, Chiropractors will be tasked with evaluating what a patient verbally says and what their non-verbal signals are saying about their underlying medical ailments and physical conditions.

The goal of the evaluation period each day is to determine what health problems a patient might be suffering from based on what they express, and what they fail to express.

• Monitor Patients and Record Information

Another important part of the evaluation process is to monitor how patients respond to different exercises or treatment techniques and then record that information. The recorded information will come in handy down the road when the Chiropractor is tasked with coming up with different treatment options, treatment plans, and following the implementation and response to those treatment plans.

• Perform Different Therapy Techniques

The next common activity for Chiropractors is to perform the different therapy techniques on patients. This might involve simple massages, heat therapy, water therapy, electrical stimulation therapy, acupuncture, and more. The choice of which therapy to use will largely depend on what the Chiropractor determines is best based off of their training, education, and evaluation they conducted during the beginning of the patient evaluation process.

• Communicate With Patients

Chiropractors will spend most of their day communicating with their patients to discuss their pain, their treatment options, treatment plans, and more. Chiropractors will communicate with patients and guide them through the different concerns that they might have and provide education and counseling services as it relates to their care and their treatment outlook.

• Communicate With Other Healthcare Professionals

Chiropractors are also in charge of communicating with other healthcare professionals to enlighten them and keep them apprised of the different treatment recommendations, methods, plans, and other medical concerns for each patient they might be working with on their own.

• Stay Up To Date On Industry Knowledge

Another common activity for Chiropractors is to stay up to date on different things that are going on within the industry, and common industry knowledge. For instance, this might be reviewing different research endeavors, attending different conferences, watching various educational seminars or webinars, and more.

Part of staying up to date on industry knowledge also includes reading different online sources and educational material that helps Chiropractors understand what the healthcare industry is facing and how their role might change in the ever-evolving healthcare industry.

• Complete Continuing Education Credits

The next most common activity for Chiropractors is to complete mandatory or optional continuing education credits. Continuing education credits ensure that they are able to provide the most efficient and effective care to their patients and that they are implementing the best procedures to speed up the pace of care while still maintaining and improving overall patient care.

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Skills

As a Chiropractor, there are several important skills that would help individuals pursuing a Chiropractor career to thrive and be successful throughout the duration of their career.

 

Communication

Must be able to clearly convey thoughts and ideas about patient issues, tell the patient how to rehab their injuries, and communicate treatment options.

Monitoring

Monitoring/Assessing patient to make sure they are responding well to treatment and make improvements or take corrective action when necessary.

Critical Thinking

Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making

Needs to be able to act autonomously and make difficult decisions that would benefit the patient or make corrections. Must consider all benefits and repercussions of potential actions and choose the appropriate one.

Complex Problem Solving

Must be able to identify complex problems and develop and evaluate corrective options and implement solutions.

Trustworthiness

Must be trustworthy because you have people's lives in your hands (literally) and what you do could help or hurt them. They are entrusted with a great responsibility and must live up to it.

Dexterity

Must work well with your hands, as they are your main tool for your job.

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Working Conditions

Chiropractors enjoy clean, comfortable offices with normal work schedules. They mostly work an average 40 hours a week, but some can work longer.

Most own their practice and have a good level of autonomy. They do spend a ton of their time on their feet and use their hands all the time.

In all they have a relatively low-stress medical job and work great schedules in a good environment. Many chiropractors set up their offices to bring about a calming effect to their patients, so low lighting and comfortable seating is not uncommon.

To learn more about what it takes to become a Chiropractor, take a look at our Chiropractor Career Path.

 

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