Get to know more about healthcare professionals chiropractors

Are Chiropractors medical doctors or MDs

Some questions defy simple yes/no replies. A typical example of such questions when it comes to healthcare professionals is “Are chiropractors doctors?” Of course, the answer is “yes” if you have a thorough understanding of the profession and you are aware of the benefits chiropractic patients receive. However, for most individuals, a doctor is someone who has earned a medical doctor (M.D.) degree to complete medical school, an internship, a residency, and a license. Chiropractors aren’t called medical doctors because they don’t have an M.D degree. They are simply called chiropractors or doctors of chiropractic, professionals who care about their patients and are committed to providing natural and non-invasive therapy.

What degree do chiropractors hold?

Aspiring chiropractors begin their studies by earning a bachelor’s degree in science. They are then required to obtain a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree, which is a postgraduate professional degree that takes about four years to accomplish. The subjects covered in the D.C. program include anatomy, physiology, biology, and other science-related subjects. Chiropractic students also receive supervised clinical experience in which they learn how to assess the spine, perform adjustments, and perform diagnoses.

Upon having the Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree, chiropractors are also required to be licensed. To become licensed and certified in a specific state, candidates must obtain a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and pass all four portions of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) test.

How is a doctor of chiropractic degree different from MDs?

The main distinction between them is due to philosophical differences. In a nutshell, the medical model and educational process are centered on disease treatment. The chiropractic approach, on the other hand, is tailored to the fact that the human body is a self-healing and self-regulating entity. As a result, rather than fighting or treating diseases, chiropractors focus on the individual and aim to provide the best possible environment for healing.

What illnesses are treated by chiropractors as compared to doctors?

Many forms of spinal disorders that cause musculoskeletal or nerve pain are diagnosed and treated by chiropractors. A chiropractor, like other doctors, conducts a physical and neurological examination as part of his or her process of determining a correct diagnosis. To validate your diagnosis, X-rays, MRI or CT scan tests may be ordered. Below are some illnesses that are treated by chiropractors as compared to doctors;

  • Back and Neck Pain
  • Cervicogenic headaches
  • Short Leg Syndrome
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Sciatic
  • Whiplash
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Myofascial pain
  • Spinal osteoarthritis

What is the treatment methodology of a chiropractor as compared to doctors?

Chiropractic adjustments are a drug-free, natural way for chiropractors to help patients relieve pain and enhance mobility. Chiropractic adjustments are extremely successful at restoring joint function and mobility, resulting in a greater range of motion and pain relief. Chiropractic focuses on strengthening the neurological system of the body so that it can function at its best and eliminate inflammation. However, chiropractors think that surgery and medical therapy should only be used as a last resort.

Below are some of the different types of chiropractic adjustments used by chiropractors, and they include:

The Diversified Technique

The three major goals of the diversified technique are to correct spinal alignment, treat joint dysfunction, and assure adequate movement and mobility. Practitioners can restore spinal alignment and increase a patient’s range of motion, which may be hampered by misaligned joints or bones, by using extremely precise hands-on thrusts.

Spinal Manipulation

Chiropractors often use spine manipulation to relieve joint pressure, reduce inflammation, and improve nerve function. While spinal mobilization is a manual treatment approach similar to the diversified technique mentioned earlier, it involves more gentle thrusting strokes and stretching.

The Gonstead Adjustment

Chiropractors often use Gonstead Adjustment to restore normal disc alignment and mobility. It can be given to the patient whether they are sitting or lying on the floor. It’s one of the best types of  adjustments used by chiropractors.


The Flexion-Distraction technique involves using a special table to gently distract and rhythmically flex the spine. Symptomatic disc injuries with back pain and leg pain are routinely treated with this method. The adjustment is painless and even pleasant, making it an excellent choice for individuals who have recently sustained injuries or who are sensitive to other types of adjustments.

Spinal Decompression

Spinal decompression involves lying down on a special table that gently stretches the spine, allowing water, oxygen, and other necessary fluids to flow freely into the discs and throughout the spine. It is quite effective in the treatment of symptoms of bulging, herniated, degenerative, and slipped discs in the lower back.

Can chiropractors prescribe medicines or pain killers?

No, and chiropractors do not believe in using painkillers regularly. As a result, they can prevent any possible side effects that might arise from taking painkillers.

Can chiropractors order MRIs?

Many people visit a chiropractor for minimally invasive therapy when they are feeling some form of discomfort around their body. However, making a change may not always be the best option, and it could even be risky. A chiropractor may determine that such individuals require an MRI in this instance. An MRI scan can provide vital information, and a chiropractor can request one if they believe it is the best thing to do at that moment.

Although an adjustment isn’t always the ideal solution, many chiropractors use it to help them figure out how to effectively manage their patients. Hands-on tests and X-rays are often used by chiropractors to investigate the health of your spine. However, these tests may not be sufficient enough to understand and identify the specific problem of the underlying condition. That’s where the MRI test comes in.


Comparing chiropractors and medical doctors is like comparing two things that work together. There isn’t much difference between these two professions because they are all trying to achieve similar things. While a medical practitioner concentrates on the illness, a chiropractor focuses on the patient. A chiropractor attempts to repair one’s neurological system, which can then help with other problems, whereas a medical doctor studies the tissues in the system. Perhaps the most significant distinction is that a medical doctor uses surgical techniques and medicines to address symptoms, but a chiropractor treats the entire condition using natural and non-invasive procedures and a supportive lifestyle.

About The Author
photo of Dr Oscar Noriega DC
Dr. Oscar Noriega, DC, is a trusted chiropractor who has been practicing for over ten years at Revolution Chiropractic Murfreesboro. He holds a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Northwestern Health Sciences University. Dr. Noriega is also a member of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and the Tennessee Chiropractic Association. He resides in Murfreesboro with his wife and two children.