Chiropractor Career Profile

In a chiropractor career, you will diagnose and treat conditions that arise due to the dysfunction of the joints. As a chiropractor, you will have to analyze the causes of body pain. Generally, body pain treated by chiropractors is the result of skeletal imbalance or vertebral dysfunction. This has an effect on the nervous system and on various bodily functions.

Basic Tasks

As a chiropractor, you need to approach health care with a focus on patients' overall health. You will have to diagnose and treat the conditions of a patient in these ways:

  • Provide treatment that is natural and non-surgical and does not require drugs. This means that you have to rely on the body's natural recovery abilities.
  • Recognize the effects of factors like diet, exercise and environment on health. You have to recommend changes in a patient's lifestyle accordingly. You may also have to refer the patient to another health practitioner.
  • Keep track of a patient's health history.
  • Carry out various physical, orthopedic and neurological examinations. In certain cases, obtain reports of X-rays, laboratory tests and other such tests. This will help you deduce effects on the spine and nervous system.
  • Analyze a patient's posture and spine.
  • Recommend and carry out additional procedures, like therapies with heat, water, an electric current or acupuncture.
  • Counsel patients on nutrition, exercise and stress management. 

In a career as a chiropractor, you have the option of specializing in various chiropractic practices. You may specialize as an orthopedic chiropractor, a pediatric chiropractor or a family chiropractor.

Work Environment

As a chiropractic physician, you have the opportunity to work in a clean and comfortable office. Yet, like many other health care professionals, you have to stand for long periods of time. Another drawback to the field is the danger of being exposed to radiation. As a result, taking appropriate safety measures is critical.

Salary Information

You will generally have to work about 40 hours a week, and on some occasions, you may have to put in some extra hours. If you are a solo practitioner, you have the liberty to decide your own work hours, but if there is an emergency, your free time could easily be interrupted for the sake of one of your patients. While working in a group, you may have to treat other chiropractors' patients and also be on call. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009, the average salary of a chiropractor was $94,500.

An Outlook and Professional Advice

Employment of chiropractors will be on the rise with growing demand for different health care solutions. However, in the new health care environment we are in, the future is unpredictable, and the career will possibly not be as rewarding as it once was.

The fact that a chiropractor does not perform surgery or prescribe drugs appeals, however, to a lot of health-conscious people. Pediatric chiropractors may be in demand, as their treatment tends to be very gentle on children. It is vital to educate the community about the advantages of chiropractic care; this can only help you and your possible future practice.