Australian Chiropractors receive the title “doctor” through the national registration body. As seen with family general practitioners and other allied health professionals, Chiropractors are regulated and subjected to strict clinical guidelines, licensing protocols and monitoring. While being referred to as a ‘doctor’ is a nice pat on the back, I must admit that the term makes me cringe sometimes.
Are Chiropractors doctors?
National Chiropractic programs include five years of university-based education that focuses on human structure, bodily function, injury management, disease identification and more. Combined with this, soon to be graduating students spend approximately 18months within dedicated student clinics and field placement where they conduct supervised consultations with members of the general public. Chiropractic education is extremely similar and has been estimated to exceed that of general practitioners. This means Chiropractors are regarded as primary health care practitioners. The term primary health care practitioners refers to an individual often being the first point of contact for a person who is seeking to receive treatment. Given this rigorous study it is perhaps fitting that Chiropractors are referred to as doctors.
Where Does Chiropractic Fit Into The Medical Picture?
Chiropractors are perhaps the best practitioner to consult with if you’re suffering a musculoskeletal type complaint. Chiropractors have without doubt the most comprehensive education regarding the spine, nervous and muscular systems meaning they are ideally placed to provide advice and management for problems such as back pain, neck pain, sports injuries, headaches, migraines, sciatica, disc injuries and much more. The major benefit of consulting with a Chiropractor as opposed to a medical doctor for this type of complaint is that medical doctors don’t receive specific education regarding musculoskeletal problems. The extent of a medical doctors knowledge regarding this domain is the prescription of pain medications which will not assist you in the long term.
In short, to answer the question ‘are Chiropractors doctors?’ my opinion is that Chiropractors have earnt the right to refer to themselves as one.