Looking for pain relief? Find answers to some of our patient’s (and we’re guessing your) most frequently asked questions about visiting a chiropractor. Since 1895 when D.D. Palmer first successfully adjusted a patient suffering from a cardiovascular illness, chiropractic care for pain has been a weapon in the arsenal for treating chronic pain. For many people, finding a great chiropractor to help with their pain can be a lifesaver. Whether utilized as a first-line treatment or as a part of a holistic pain management plan, chiropractic care has been proven effective for a variety of pain conditions.

1. What is a chiropractor?

According to Spine-Health.com, at their most basic level, a chiropractor is:

“A health care professional focused on the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders, with an emphasis on treatment through manual adjustment and/or manipulation of the spine.”

Of course, as medical professionals, chiropractors are much more than that. Chiropractors are highly-trained doctors who emphasize treating the patient in a holistic way. They incorporate therapies that can benefit both physical and mental health. As ExploreHealthCareers.org notes, chiropractic “is a health care discipline that emphasizes the inherent power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery.” It’s this focus that often makes chiropractors a trusted part of a pain management treatment plan.

Chiropractors work with, rather than against, traditional medical interventions. Chiropractors, along with your whole pain management team, look at treatments that will be most effective with the least amount of artificial intervention in the form of surgeries or prescriptions. They believe in the power of the body to heal itself and work to keep everything in proper balance. For chronic pain management, this means looking first to the foundational structure of the body, the skeleton, making sure it is aligned and properly functioning before moving forward.

2. What is chiropractic care?

The American Chiropractic Association has a short video that discusses what chiropractic care is. Our in-depth article on the subject also has more information about this pain treatment option.

3. Are chiropractors doctors?

Doctors of chiropractic (DC) are highly trained medical doctors who complete specialized training culminating in a series of four board examinations and completion of state requirements.

There are approximately 77,000 DCs practicing in the U.S., with another 10,000 chiropractic students working towards degrees in 18 accredited chiropractic schools across the country. Doctors of chiropractic complete a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom study, laboratory work, and internships, the equivalent of the number of hours spent for an allopathic doctor (MD) or an osteopath (DO).

Every year, 2,500 graduating students enter the workforce as doctors of chiropractic, either joining an established practice or starting a practice of their own. Doctors of chiropractic treat an estimated 27 million adults and children annually in the U.S. and are on staff of all 32 teams in the National Football League (NFL).

However, there are d