Chiropractic is a health care profession that is categorized as a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). These healthcare professionals are concerned with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disorders that arise from the neuromusculoskeletal system. Chiropractic medicine has attributes similar to that of a primary care provider but it mostly resembles dentistry or podiatry. The most common technique for treatment involves manipulation of the spine, manual therapy, and other soft tissues. There are two groups of chiropractic medicine: straights, which is the less practiced and mixers, which is the more mainstream and conventional. Some chiropractors believe that the misalignment of the spine or vertebral subluxation will interfere with the Innate Intelligence of the human nervous system which will then lead to an overall diminished level of health. However, chiropractic because of its manual-therapy approach overlaps with other professions such as osteopathy, massage therapy, and physical therapy. Most chiropractic patients are seen for lower back pain due to the effective use of spine manipulation. The chiropractic approach has not always been a valid option but after years of research and legal battles the chiropractic profession is seen by the healthcare field as a very viable option for patients. With a special emphasis placed on the spine, Chiropractors or doctors of chiropractic emphasize a non-surgical and non-medicinal approach when treating disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system. When treating a patient there are several diagnostic methods ranging from neurological and orthopedic evaluation, tactile and observational assessments, and skeletal imaging. Common treatments are spinal manipulation, rehabilitative exercises, and lifestyle counseling. Spinal manipulation also known as spinal adjustment is a passive manual maneuver that involves taking the spine past its normal range of motion without causing damage or dislocating joints. A chiropractor may also partner with another healthcare professional and co-manage a patient’s treatment. Although chiropractic care does not have the same notoriety as the other accepted medicines, satisfaction rates for patients are extremely high especially those patients treated for lower back pain. Most states in the U.S. now require that chiropractic care be covered by insurers and most of these services are now covered by HMOs. The scope of practice for chiropractors vary by state and with the exception of New Mexico most are not allowed “advanced practice” meaning they are not allowed to perform major surgery or issue prescriptions. Although chiropractic training is limited to the classroom learning adjustment, theory, and marketing the curriculum of chiropractic and medical colleges can have some similarities. The time necessary for each subject and the basic and clinical sciences match up well in the two programs. Chiropractors tend to make less than medical doctors but once a chiropractor has developed a client base they tend to make more money later in their careers. In 2010, the average salary for chiropractors was estimated at $87,538.
Today, many Chiropractors are working with Personal Injury or Workers Compensation patients. These cases are usually done with a lien or LOP (Letter of Protection). Basically, the physician will see the patient and agree not to request payment from them immediately. Instead, the physician will be paid his or her fees out of the settlement of the case. This type of business can be very profitable for the doctors, but also come with risks as well.