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Chiropractors | What Do They Do?

Chiropractors treat patients with health problems of the musculoskeletal system, which is made up of bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They use spinal manipulation and other techniques to treat patients'ailments, such as back or neck pain.

Chiropractors typically do the following:

  • Assess a patient's medical condition by reviewing his or her medical history, listening to the patient's concerns, and performing a physical examination
  • Analyze the patient's posture and spine
  • Provide musculoskeletal therapy, which involves adjusting a patient's spinal column and other joints by hand
  • Conduct additional diagnostic tests, including evaluating a patient's posture or taking x rays
  • Provide additional treatments, such as applying heat or cold to a patient's injured areas
  • Advise patients on health and lifestyle issues, such as exercise and sleep habits
  • Refer patients to other medical specialists if needed

Chiropractors focus on patients'overall health. Many believe that misalignments of the spinal joints interfere with a person's nervous system and can result in lower resistance to disease and many different conditions of diminished health.



Some chiropractors use additional procedures, such as acupuncture, massage therapy, and ultrasound. They also may apply supports, such as straps, tape, braces, or shoe inserts, to treat patients and alleviate pain.

In addition to operating a general chiropractic practice, some chiropractors specialize in sports injuries, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics, nutrition, internal disorders, or diagnostic imaging.

Many chiropractors are solo or group practitioners who also have the administrative responsibilities of running a practice. In larger offices, chiropractors delegate these tasks to office managers and chiropractic assistants. Chiropractors in private practice are responsible for developing a patient base, hiring employees, and keeping records

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition


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