Are Chiropractors Doctors?

Opponents of chiropractic medicine often point out that chiropractors are not doctors. Of course, the truthfulness of this statement depends on what they mean by “doctor.” If they mean that most chiropractors are not physicians or surgeons, then they are correct. The majority of chiropractors do not possess a medical doctor (MD) or doctor of osteopathy (DO) degree. However, there are a variety of competent medical professionals that have earned a doctorate without being a physician or surgeon.

Would you trust a dentist to care for your teeth? Dentists typically have a DMD or DDS degree. Dentists are not physicians, but they are still qualified medical professionals. Similarly, a therapist or counselor may have a Ph.D. and be referred to as “doctor” without being a medical doctor. Just like chiropractors, these specialists have earned the title of doctor by completing advanced education and intensive training.

Requirements for Chiropractors

In Canada, chiropractors must first complete their undergraduate studies and pass the academic requirements even to be admitted to chiropractic school. Once enrolled, their chiropractic studies typically take at least four years, although some programs last for five years.

After graduation, a new chiropractor must successfully complete practical and written examinations by the Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board. They now have their doctor of chiropractic (DC) degree. Finally, the newly-minted chiropractor can apply for licensure from their territorial or provincial authority as Canada leaves chiropractic licensing up to the individual provinces.

Field of Knowledge

Chiropractors are required to know about much more than just the spine, although that alone would be difficult enough. After all, the human spine and its attendant nerves, soft tissues, and muscles are incredibly complex. Instead, a licensed chiropractor must demonstrate comprehensive knowledge about the musculoskeletal, nervous, and endocrine systems in addition to pathophysiology, nutrition, physiotherapy principles, sports medicine, and more.

An Earned Title

While it is absolutely true that a chiropractor is not the same occupation as a physician or surgeon, chiropractors have certainly earned their doctor title. The large majority of chiropractors are competent professionals with a huge fund of knowledge, both clinical and practical, and they adhere to strict ethical guidelines.

Sure, there are times when you will need a physician or other medical professional. A chiropractor certainly won’t be able to fill a cavity, after all. But for pain issues, headaches, low back pain, leg pain, most sports injuries, and a host of other problems, a licensed chiropractor is fully equipped to help.