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truth about chiropractors

I remember an instructor of mine saying, "If your spine was across your face, would it then be okay to straighten it"? I was then asking myself, 'what would any orthodontist, dentist or maxillofacial surgeon say if I did not take care of my teeth and mouth'? You do not have to be a dental scientist to know the ramifications of unhealthy oral hygiene. The same can be applied to the spine, except to say that the spine is the protective vault that houses the central nervous system (your brain and spinal cord).

Suffering tremendous criticism.

Like many other healthcare professions, chiropractic has suffered tremendous criticism during its development and evolution. Osteopathy, Dentistry and Podiatry battled medical boards for many years to gain acceptance in their early development. It is safe to say that even traditional medicine has had their bout of ignorance while learning about the human body. Many medical procedures of yesteryear would be considered barbaric today; operations without the use of anesthesia, blood letting to eliminate disease, amputating a hand or foot placing the effected area in boiling oil to prevent the spread of infection. In fact, the use of leaches are still commonly used in hand/plastic surgery to relieve pressure or fluid.

It's true!

The stigma that chiropractic has suffered forced this healthcare practice into a more scientific realm and validity. It is true that chiropractic has not always had the level of education it has today. It is true that chiropractors do not prescribe drugs or do surgery. The fact that chiropractors do not prescribe drugs or do surgery is not a restriction by the AMA, it is a self-imposed restriction by chiropractors themselves. They say they don't want to! Chiropractic is built on the philosophy that respects the human being and its innate healing qualities. Lewis Pasteur, the founder of the germ theory, declared that the germ theory was a mistake. That germs are not the cause of disease, is it the soil. Many individuals raised on the medical model cannot let go of this concept. As I have stated in a previous article, "Bagworms do not grow on a golf course."

The education of a chiropractor.

A chiropractors education has many similar qualities to medical doctors, dentists, osteopaths and podiatrists . The first two years of undergrad are the same two years that any individual would undergo when seeking a bachelors degree. The next two years are spent fulfilling science requirements needed to enter chiropractic school. These science requirements include Biology, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Physics. As with some medical, dental, osteopathy or podiatry school's, a bachelors degree is not required for acceptance into chiropractic school, although most students enter with a degree. Also, MCAT is not required to enter chiropractic school, although CCAT is now being required. It is true that many chiropractors have had previous careers such as nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, laboratory technicians, x-ray technicians, construction worker, entrepeneur, massage therapist, geologist, teacher, not to mention M.D., Ph.D. or MBA before choosing chiropractic. This only makes for a more well-rounded doctor that can relate to your needs.

The first 2 years . . . The first 2 years of chiropractic school consist of the basic science courses that are required in most health care professional schools. These basic sciences are Cell Biology, Histology, Microbiology, Physiology, Nutrition, Embryology, Public Health & Hygiene, Neurology, Pathology, Biochemistry, Emergency Procedures, and Gross Anatomy. Although, more dissection in anatomy is required with classes like Spinal Anatomy and Neuroanatomy. In fact, in some cases, chiropractors have at least 300 required clock hours more of Gross Anatomy than any medical school in the country and a chiropractor will still not perform surgery. At this point National Board Part - One will be taken and a required Competency Board Part - One by the college.

More study! The second half of chiropractic school involves rotations in and out of the field and more classroom study such as; Rheumatology, Pediatrics, Geriatrics, Athletic Injuries, Cardiorespiratory, Psychology, Ear Eyes Nose Throat, Gastrointestinal, Urogenital, Endocrinology, Orthopedics, Clinical Neurology, Physical and Rehab Therapy, Dermatology, OB/Gyn, Biomechanics, Neuromusculoskeletal, 9 tri- mesters of X-ray and many hours of Differential and Physical Diagnosis. Chiropractors learn laboratory tests, diagnosis and procedures, perform venipunctures (blood draws), prostate and breast exams, chiropractic technique and philosophy classes as well. Chiropractors even use stethoscopes, otoscopes and opthalmoscopes. They are also educated in pharmocology and toxicology. Many patients will walk into their offices on approximately 12 medications when there is no way on earth to document what drug interactions are after 3 medications.

More board exams!

Also during the second half of their education, National Boards Part II, III and IV will be taken along with the schools own Competency Board Part II. Any other licensure or certifications your chiropractor may have is in addition to the 32-40 credit hour per trimester load already required. And yes, those credit hours are calculated in the same manner as any other credit hour in every college. There are many post-doctorate courses available to chiropractors in Neurology, Rehab and Sports, Geriatrics, Pediatrics, Orthopedics, Nutrition, X-ray and many more.

Tell them what you know. I hope this has helped in your education of chiropractic, so the next time you hear someone slam chiropractic, ask them what they know -- then tell them what you know.

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**This web site's goal is to provide you with information that may be useful in attaining optimal health. Nothing in it is meant as a prescription or as medical advice. You should check with your physician before implementing any changes in your exercise or lifestyle habits, especially if you have physical problems or are taking medications of any kind.