Both chiropractors and physicians carry the title of “Doctor,” but there are some differences to keep in mind when you are choosing the best type of professional to treat you. A medical doctor (MD) diagnoses and treats injuries and diseases of the whole body, while a chiropractic doctor (DC) focuses on the musculoskeletal system. While medical doctors aim to eliminate physical symptoms of disease, chiropractors aim to cure the root of the problem. Their approach reflects both their training and approach to health, and both types of doctors have their place in keeping you well.
Chiropractic treatment has established itself as the most direct, helpful, and cost-effective approach to many types of pain. If you are suffering from back pain or a soft tissue injury, visiting your chiropractor is often the most direct route to health.
How Chiropractic Training Differs From Medical Doctor Training
During their training, DCs focus on the anatomy of the body, while medical doctors concentrate on physiology. An MD must first pursue a bachelor degree, followed by four years of medical school, 3-8 years of residency, and additional time for fellowships in particular specialties. In contrast, a DC must have a bachelor degree in most states, plus 5 years of chiropractic school, and a year of residency. Chiropractors who wish to specialize in sports medicine, orthopedics, radiology, or pediatrics must pursue additional training.
After passing the examinations required, a medical doctor can write prescriptions and do surgery in addition to examining and treating a patient, whereas a chiropractor has limited or no ability to either write prescriptions or perform surgery.
Chiropractic And Holistic Health
Their training gives DCs special expertise in musculoskeletal health, neurology, and general wellness. For this reason, chiropractors often focus on a more holistic approach to health care; it is not uncommon for them to work in settings that include other alternative health professionals who practice homeopathy, acupuncture, biofeedback, massage therapy, behavior modification, and more mainstream techniques such as massage and physiotherapy.
Chiropractors specialize in a more hands-on approach to medicine. A major part of their treatment is manipulating or “adjusting” the spine and other joints in order to relieve pain and promote healing in the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, cartilage, and nervous system. They often supplement their manipulations with electrical stimulation and physiotherapy and may prescribe relaxation techniques, yoga, exercise, and diet modifications to help alleviate problems.
As with other physicians, they will examine you, question you about your medical and family history, and order any needed x-rays and lab tests, and if necessary, refer you to a medical doctor if they cannot help you. In cases where pharmaceuticals or surgery are necessary, they work as part of a team with medical doctors to assure that the patient receives comprehensive treatment.
Taking Control Of Your Health
Chiropractors believe that the patient has an important role to play in achieving and maintaining health. Rather than primarily relying on drugs and physician actions to achieve wellness, the chiropractor offers spinal adjustments that address the cause of pain, while empowering the patient to participate in healing themselves through lifestyle changes.
When To Choose A Chiropractor
Not sure when to choose a chiropractor? To see the broad reasons that many people visit a chiropractor, see our previous blog “Common Conditions Treated By Chiropractors.” For more information about the chiropractic services we offer at Raintree Medical and Chiropractic Center, call us today at 816-623-3020 or request an appointment online.
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