Are chiropractors real doctors?

What kind of training do chiropractors have?

We hear these questions a lot. So we thought we’d share some answers.

Are chiropractors real doctors?

Yes, they are.

Only specific health professionals are permitted to call themselves doctors. Canadian health care legislation recognizes chiropractors as doctors. In Alberta, chiropractors are regulated under the Health Professions Act, along with medical doctors, dentists and optometrists.

Like physicians, chiropractors are educated and trained to diagnose, as well as treat disorders and conditions. Chiropractors specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions of the musculoskeletal system (the body’s bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, joints and connective tissue). They are also qualified to advise patients on corrective exercises, healthy lifestyle choices, injury prevention and nutrition.

Chiropractic education and training

Did you know chiropractors have at least seven years of post-secondary education? It’s true. This includes a four-year academic program at an accredited chiropractic program, as well as supervised clinical training treating real patients.

Specific education and training in accredited chiropractic colleges varies slightly from school to school, but typically includes courses in:

  • anatomy
  • physiology
  • disease pathology
  • biochemistry
  • neurology
  • histology
  • radiology
  • immunology
  • microbiology
  • clinical sciences
  • body mechanics
  • nutrition

These courses provide chiropractic students with a firm understanding of body processes both in good health and when disease is present.

Clinical training includes a lengthy internship program and provides knowledge in areas such as:

  • systems diagnosis and treatment protocols;
  • specialized training in chiropractic, including theoretical studies, practice, diagnosis and application; and
  • education in therapeutic techniques, including palpation and instruction on how to adjust the spine and body joints.

 Chiropractors in Alberta

To practice in Alberta, chiropractors must pass stringent national and provincial board examinations.

They also participate in annual practice reviews and an ongoing clinical competency program to ensure they remain up-to-date with treatment protocols, clinical competency and professional knowledge.

When you see a chiropractor, you can be confident that you are in the hands of a well-qualified health care professional. To find a chiropractor near you, use our Find a Chiro tool at www.albertachiro.com.