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5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Chiropractors



A Chiropractors Official Title Is Doctor

The NZ Commission of Inquiry into the chiropractic profession was a global landmark study carried out in the late 70’s. It was initiated by concerns raised about quackery on the part of the medical profession. The outcome of the Enquiry set the gold standard for chiropractic legislation across the developed world. The commission concluded based on the level of education chiropractors receive that we are entitled to use the the title doctor. It also concluded that it was in the publics interest that chiropractors and the chiropractic profession be embraced by the  mainstream healthcare system, which incidentally has already become the case in the UK. Sadly for the NZ public for reasons that are not clear to me this has still not happened over 30 years later.

Chiropractors are not doctors in the medical /pills / prostate examination sense. We are doctors in our own sense. We are qualified to diagnose disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system and to manage them… in the same sense that a dentists is qualified to diagnose and treat disorders of the teeth, gums and jaw.


Chiropractors Treat Ankle Sprains

The traditional way of doing dentistry was to sniff out painful little holes in teeth and then pull the whole tooth out. In a far less invasive but similarly basic sense the traditional way of doing chiropractic was to sniff out locked spinal bones manipulate them back to life all day every day.

Both the dental profession and chiropractors have evolved somewhat since these more simplistic and 1 dimensional beginnings. Chiropractors now embrace a broad ‘scope of practice’ which includes the management of a broad range of complaints and techniques. My personal practice these days probably only consists of 25% pure chiropractic technique and complaints. The rest of what I do is a broad and flexible approach to pain management that merges chiropractors tools with techniques most people would associate with physiotherapy, acupuncture, coaching and osteopathy. This includes managing a million sprained ankles.


Chiropractic Isn’t Neck Cracking

Most healing professions start off with a fairly basic methodology or tool and expand their scope over time. If you took a peek at what surgeons were doing in Victorian times and then compared it what they can do now you would al last certainly have a nasty shock. When surgeons founded their profession they were essentially in the business of cutting peoples legs and breasts off with no anaesthetic and no hand or knife washing between patients.

In infinitely less horrifying but similar terms chiropractors started off with some simple procedures and have expanded our scope of practice over time. The original chiropractic intervention was the mobilisation of a spinal bone which gave an audible pop as it released. Manipulation of spinal bones is of huge help to many back and neck pain sufferers so it has very much remained a core tool. The simple fact is that if you looked at all the different types of treatment being delivered by chiropractors today you would see a spectrum of tools that was as broad as you did in the example of 21st century surgery. The thing is though, chiropractic is a far younger profession than surgery so we do have a few more than our share of old fashioned purists still doing it the old ways… thankfully with chiropractors this doesn’t involve anything dangerous.


Chiropractors Aren’t Alternative

Spinal manipulation is now an absolutely bonafide treatment for lower back pain and it is part of international guidelines for the management of lower back pain. Chiropractic is a fully regulated healthcare profession who’s practitioners receive more basic training in the science of back pain, neurology and biomechanics than any other discipline. Chiropractors have the same fundamental legal standing as doctors and dentists, we are primary healthcare providers. What is alternative about that?


Chiropractors Didn’t Invent Spinal Manipulation

The oldest record of spinal manipulation being used to treat a patient is on 3000 year old papyrus. Bonesetters are known to have practiced spinal manipulation along with other basic lay orthopaedic services in numerous cultures for millenia.

Daniel Palmer was the visionary gentleman who founded the chiropractic profession a century ago. Palmer had noted that spinal manipulation was an age old tool and became interested in developing theories around how it might work. Palmer subsequently began testing and experimenting with spinal manipulation to great effect. Palmers primary legacy though was the development of a fully modern healthcare profession with education standards built around the art and science of spinal manipulation. He did not invent spinal manipulations though.. far from it.