(adapted from the American Chiropractic Association)
Chiropractors treat a variety of conditions of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. These range from conditions of the spine, headaches, and conditions affecting the joints of the arms and legs.
The majority of all insured American workers have coverage for chiropractic services in their health care plans. For example, the federal government's Office of Personnel Management offers chiropractic coverage for federal employees in both the Mail Handlers and BCBS benefit plans. In addition, there is a chiropractic benefit in Federal Workers Compensation, and chiropractic care is available to members of the armed forces at more than 40 military bases, and is available at nearly 30 veterans medical facilities.
Chiropractors are educated as primary contact health care practitioners, with an emphasis on musculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment. Educational requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions. The typical applicant at a chiropractic college has already acquired nearly four years of pre-medical undergraduate college education, including courses in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, psychology and related lab work.
Once accepted into an accredited chiropractic college, the requirements become even more demanding four to five academic years of professional study are the standard. Because of the hands-on nature of chiropractic, and the intricate adjusting techniques, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical training.
In total, the chiropractic curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience. The course of study is approved by an accrediting agency that is fully recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Yes, chiropractic treatment is safe and effective. While any form of health treatment contains a degree of inherent risk, there is little danger in chiropractic care when administered by a licensed practitioner. To assure competency, all states require that DCs be board-qualified, licensed, and regulated according to stringent criteria. Statistics show that patient risk is substantially lower in chiropractic as opposed to medical care, where the use of prescription drugs and surgery pose a greater risk.
Yes, children can benefit from chiropractic care. Children are very physically active and experience many types of falls and blows from activities of daily living as well as from participating in sports. Injuries such as these may cause many symptoms including back and neck pain, stiffness, soreness or discomfort. Chiropractic care is always adapted to the individual patient. It is a highly skilled treatment, and in the case of children, very gentle.
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