What is a chiropractor?
In Canada, chiropractic is one of the largest health care professions. Practitioners utilize a manual approach to health care that allows for patient assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.
Specifically, chiropractors assess patients for disorders related to the central and peripheral nervous systems, pelvis, joints of the upper and lower limbs, and spinal cord.
Like other health professionals, chiropractors also take a social and physical history of their patients and are able to provide a diagnosis for the patient’s presenting condition(s) and implement a thorough treatment plan.
In addition, chiropractors are trained to ?recommend therapeutic exercise, to utilize other non-invasive therapies, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary, and lifestyle counselling.?
Approximately 6,000 chiropractors practice across the country and four and a half million Canadians use the services of a chiropractor each year.
Education and training
Chiropractic is a regulated health profession recognized by jurisdictions in all Canadian provinces. There are two accredited chiropractic educational facilities in Canada: the chiropractic program at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) and the chiropractic program at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) in Toronto. Each year, approximately 200 graduates matriculate from these schools. In addition, there are 16 schools in the United States.
In addition to courses and academic preparation, chiropractic education requires clinical, hands-on training and experience under the supervision of licensed practitioners. This experience includes taking patient histories, diagnosis, treatment, and familiarization with the referral protocols.
The multi-disciplinary faculties at both Canadian schools offer a wide range of clinical opportunities and engage students with other experts in the fields of health sciences, medicine, psychology, and chiropractic.
According to the Canadian Chiropractic Association, approximately 90 per cent of students entering chiropractic school in Canada have completed a baccalaureate or graduate degree. There are no course requirements for admission at the CMCC; however, students are encouraged to take courses in biology, psychology, anatomy, physical education, and chemistry.
At CMCC, the minimum academic requirement for admission is a cumulative grade point average of 2.50 on a 4.00 grade point average scale from at least three full years (15 full-year courses or 90 credit hours) of undergraduate university study in Canada.
Where do chiropractors work?
Chiropractors may work in primary care dealing with patients that have low back pain. Furthermore, they may work with patients that have other medical conditions and chiropractic care may complement or support medical treatment by placing emphasis on the musculoskeletal aspects associated with the condition.
Some chiropractors work in a palliative setting, providing relief to patients with chronic conditions. By focusing on and attempting to treat the physical elements of chronic ailments, the aim of chiropractic may be to improve the general well-being of the patient.
Salaries and demographic information
Median salary per annum (2008)
Source: Adapted from Payscale
For more information regarding naturopathic medicine, please visit the Canadian Chiropractic Association website.