Chiropractor

Community and Health

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Practical or MechanicalHelping or advisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 5

Chiropractors diagnose and treat patients by triggering the body's inherent recuperative abilities, alleviating health problems related to the nervous and skeletal systems, particularly the spine, Future Growth Very Strong without the use of drugs or surgery.

They would research a patient's details, carry out a physical examination and use and interpret diagnostic images, such as x-rays, before attempting to adjust a patient’s spine.


ANZSCO description: Diagnoses and treats physiological and mechanical disorders of the human locomotor system, particularly neuromuscular skeletal disorders, and provides advice on preventing these disorders. Registration or licensing is required.

Alternative names: Chiropractic Physician

Specialisations: Extremity Work, Paediatric Chiropractor, Sports Chiropractor

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A chiropractor needs:

  • to enjoy working with people

  • a reasonable level of physical fitness and agility

  • to enjoy health sciences

  • good interpersonal skills

  • to be able to think and work independently.



Duties and Tasks

Chiropractors may perform the following tasks:

  • administer a variety of neurological, musculoskeletal and functional tests to identify and assess physical problems and ailments of patients

  • write down patients' case history details, conduct physical examinations and interpret diagnostic imaging studies such as X-rays

  • planning and discussing effective management of patients' dysfunction

  • adjust patients' spine or other joints to correct joint dysfunctions interfering with proper nervous system control and integration of body function

  • treat patients by adjusting the spinal column to manipulate joints and soft tissues

  • designing, reviewing, monitoring, assessing and evaluating treatment programs

  • assisting and improving the function of all body systems such as musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, endocrine and genitourinary systems

  • referring patients to specialists and liaising with other Health Professionals in relation to patients' problems, needs and progress

  • conduct specialised work such as sports chiropractic, paediatrics, diagnostic imaging or various chiropractic techniques

  • educating patients, their partners, family and friends in therapeutic procedures, such as home exercises and lifestyle changes, to enhance patients' health and wellbeing

  • give advice on general health matters such as exercise and nutrition

  • perform pre-employment examinations and workplace assessments

  • provide certificates for insurance and work-related purposes.


Working conditions

Chiropractors generally work standard business hours, Monday to Friday. However, evening or weekend work may also be required. Most chiropractors work in an office environment, typically within a school, hospital, nursing home or community centre. Some chiropractors do go into private practice.

Tools and technologies

Chiropractors need to be able to read x-rays and other diagnostic test results. They may also need to be able to use ultrasound equipment.

 
Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a chiropractor you need to study chiropractic science at university. ​Graduates must be registered with the Chiropractic Board of Australia to practise in any state or territory in Australia.


Did You Know?

The spinal column – or backbone – is instrumental to the strength, support, flexibility and range of movement our bodies possess.

It’s a complicated structure, with many interconnected and interdependent components.

Scoi-spine


When we’re born, our spines consist of 33 individual vertebrae.

As we age, some of these vertebrae fuse together. The five vertebrae composing our sacrum become one bone and the coccygeal vertebrae – which can vary from three to five bones – fuse together as one. Thus, the tailbone is formed.

You have twelve vertebrae in your thoracic area – the middle portion of the back.You have five vertebrae in your lumbar spine area – the lower back. And the cervical area, or the neck, is comprised of seven individual vertebrae.

Did you know that both humans and long-necked giraffes have seven cervical vertebrae? Impressive given the giraffe’s height; however, this demonstrates well the flexibility and versatility of the spinal structure.

Giraffe neck bones

Another interesting fact about the cervical vertebrae is they’re sometimes referred to as Atlas, referencing the Greek mythological Atlas who was burdened with carrying the world on top of his shoulders (much like the neck supports and carries the weight of the head.)

Over 120 muscles are contained in the spine.

The spinal column includes approximately 220 individual ligaments.These ligaments keep the vertebrae interconnected which is paramount to keeping the spine, as well as the nerves it’s protecting within the spinal cord, stable.

Spine curves

Over 100 joints allow for the spine’s extreme flexibility and range of movement. Did you know, if bent into a circle, nearly two thirds of the shape could be created due to the intricate and flexible formation of the spine?

Over one fourth of the spine’s total length is created from cartilage, the sponge-like substance that separates one vertebral disc from the next. Cartilage can expand and contract.

Interestingly, if gravity is removed (in space travel, for example) a person can return to earth taller than when he or she left. Oppositely, gravity’s pull on our bodies over the years shrinks cartilage, making us decrease in height as we age.
(Source: Georgia Spine & Neurosurgery Center)

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