Many people in Singapore are quite unfamiliar with the education and training process it takes to become a doctor of chiropractic in the United States.
This is even true among the vast majority of medical professionals and other healthcare professionals. Common misconceptions that chiropractors are “bone doctors” or “only do backs” without medical knowledge and training in diagnosis are false. We want our patients and their families to educate themselves and make informed decisions about their healthcare and healthcare providers.
Training to become a chiropractor can vary among different countries to some degree, just as is true for medical doctors, dentists and other healthcare professions around the world. We will focus on the details to become a licensed doctor of chiropractic in the United States, which is where our doctors were educated and where the majority of the world’s chiropractors come from.
In the United States chiropractic is a separate and distinct branch of healthcare; and although in the past there was a lot of negative sentiment in the medical community towards chiropractic, this is changing in modern times. Chiropractors and medicals doctors are increasingly working together for better patient outcomes.
Similar to pre-medical coursework, one must complete 3-4 years of undergraduate coursework and in many US states finish their bachelor’s degree before enrolling into a graduate chiropractic program. After which then consists of another 3-4 years of coursework involving anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, nutrition, differential diagnosis, radiology and of course extensive work in manual therapies, along with many other courses. Beyond that there are many sub-specialty pathways and post-graduate diplomate programs available for those wishing to specialise in one particular area of expertise. We do not focus on the study of most pharmaceutical drugs or surgery, as ours is a conservative care specialty.
So you see, the real difference between a medical doctor and a doctor of chiropractic is not the educational requirements or knowledge base, it is the philosophy of why and methods of how we choose to work with the human body. A well-educated, modern chiropractor should be a valued member of any healthcare team and will also refer patients out to other medical specialists should a patient present with problems which are outside of their scope of practice.
Author: Dr. Michael Bryant