Are Chiropractors Real Doctors?
Myth: Chiropractors are not real doctors.
Fact: There are more than 9,000 licenced chiropractors practicing in Canada. Each has completed a rigorous academic and practical education (including national standardized educational requirements) and passed a licencing examination (by province) to become a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC).
Although this chiropractic myth has greatly diminished in recent years, many are still uncertain about the training and qualifications that chiropractors actually do have. Some may worry that an uneducated, semi-trained individual will be pulling on their spine and joints. Rest assured, this is simply not the case.
Canadian chiropractors are spine, muscle, and nervous system experts. They diagnose the causes and treat patients to relieve pain and prevent it from returning – helping them be healthy and active. What do chiropractors do as spine experts? The assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and preventative care of biomechanical disorders originating from the muscular, skeletal and nervous systems.
Canadian chiropractors adopt evidence-informed practice principles to guide clinical decision making by integrating their clinical expertise, patient’s preferences and values, and the best available scientific evidence.
All healthcare practitioners undergo a rigorous course of study and chiropractors are no exception. Entrance requirements are high so students with the best academic standings completing a minimum of a three-year university program or equivalent are accepted. The CMCC program requires four years of full-time study and UQTR requires five following graduation from a CÉGEP health science program.
Both the CMCC and UQTR offer diverse faculty members who can offer students a wide range of expertise. Faculty backgrounds include biological sciences, pathology, medicine, and psychology, as well as chiropractic.
Comprehensive national examinations are administered by the Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board (CCEB) and must be passed before a student can qualify to become licenced by the regulatory authority in their province of practice. Chiropractors educated outside of Canada are also required to pass the same Canadian qualifying examinations to become licensed to practise in this country.
In Canada, there are five post-graduate specialty colleges where chiropractors can undertake additional education to further advance their skills. The colleges focus on sports sciences, radiology, clinical sciences, orthopedics, and rehabilitation.
Additionally, while in school, aspiring chiropractors take many of the same classes that any medical student would take—anatomy, physiology, even pediatrics. They are highly qualified to assess, diagnose, treat, and refer patients, like any other doctor.