Most people have heard of chiropractors, but do you know the difference between a medical doctor and a chiropractor? Are chiropractors qualified medical doctors? Well, to put it simply, chiropractors are not doctors.
They have no degree in medicine. They are not licensed to practice medicine, although some states require them to be certified as specialists in certain areas of medicine. However, chiropractors can prescribe medications and perform surgeries if they’ve received training in those areas.
A medical doctor is an MD (Doctor of Medicine). He or she has completed medical school with training in internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, and more. Doctors of osteopathy (DOs), who are also called osteopaths, complete a four-year program of study after high school to become licensed doctors of osteopathy (DO). They must also pass licensing exams.
Medical doctors can prescribe medications without consulting with their patient’s primary care physician first. They also treat patients with common illnesses such as sore throats, coughs, and colds. They diagnose and treat conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure by prescribing medications such as blood pressure pills or insulin injections.
Can chiropractors prescribe medication?
Generally, they cannot. While medical doctors can prescribe any medication, chiropractors can only do minor surgeries in a limited manner. Chiropractors are non-pharmacologic clinicians who are professionals at alternative treatments.
While many people are attracted to the idea of a “chiropractor” for their back and neck pain, it’s not always clear whether a chiropractor is an MD or NMD (neurologist/neuroradiologist) or whether they are, in fact, qualified to treat injuries and illnesses that affect other parts of the body.
Chiropractors have been called a combination of a surgeon, physician, and physical therapist — but they’re not trained in medical school like MDs are.
They must spend additional time at an accredited chiropractic college to learn about anatomy, disease process, and treatment options for specific conditions before they can become licensed as doctors of chiropractic (DC).
Which one is right for which situation?
If you’re looking for an alternative to the traditional medical doctor, you may consider finding a chiropractor instead.
Chiropractors are licensed healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions, including back pain and neck pain, using manual therapy techniques such as spinal manipulation. They may also perform other forms of physical therapy such as ultrasound therapy, massage, electrical stimulation, and heat therapy.
While chiropractors are not medical doctors, they are trained in the same manner as physicians and often have a lot of experience and a good history of producing meaningful results and relief for patients.
As long as you choose after research and careful deliberation, you’re in the clear.
A chiropractor has a strong grasp of the fundamentals of anatomy, physiology, psychology, nutrition, physical medicine, and rehabilitation. They specialize in conditions and treatments involving the spine.
Whether a chiropractor is your solution or not depends on what issue you have and who is the chiropractor. You need ample research before you go to one.
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