Do All Chiropractors Provide the Same Type of Care?

No. While all certified Doctors of Chiropractic have undergone the same basic training, how and what they practice is as varied as the number of individual chiropractors. Different chiropractic colleges have different philosophies or approaches, and so naturally their students do as well.

One basic distinction you may find is whether the individual chiropractor or chiropractic office is more “”straight,”” meaning adhering to the basic description and philosophy of Chiropractic developed by its founder D.D. Palmer in the 1890s. Such an approach tends to focus on spinal adjustments as the primary mode of treatment. Far more common these days is a more “”mixed”” approach, meaning that the practitioners are open to advances in conventional medical techniques. The latter practitioners are more open to working hand-in-hand with medical doctors or practitioners of other healing techniques, and may expand their practice to include recommendations on exercise, proper diet, and other therapies that promote holistic health.

Another distinction is that many Doctors of Chiropractic have gone on to advanced studies, and have taken courses to become certified in chiropractic specialties. Doctors who have received post-doctoral certification as a CCEP (Certified Chiropractic Extremity Practitioner), for example, specialize in the treatment of displacements of the arms, legs, shoulders, feet, ankles, or the soft tissue surrounding these extremities. A Certified Chiropractic Wellness Practitioner (CCWP) may focus more on the overall health of his or her patients, and on helping them to adopt healthy lifestyle changes. Similar post-doctoral certifications exist for Certified Chiropractic Rehabilitation Doctors (CCSD), Chiropractic Certification in Spinal Trauma (CCST), and Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner (CCSP). The latter tend to focus on sports-related injuries and on performance enhancement therapies for athletes. So there is a wide variation in the training that individual chiropractors may have received.

In addition, although many of the basic techniques of spinal manipulation are the same, there are many specialized treatment methodologies that individual chiropractors may offer. For example, the Active Release Treatment (ART) developed and patented by P. Micheal Leahy, or the Cox Flexion Distraction Technique developed by Dr. James M. Cox, or the Sacro-Occipital Technique (SOT) developed by osteopath and chiropractor Major Bertrand DeJarnette. All of these specialized approaches may be of benefit when dealing with specific disorders, and not every chiropractor is trained in all of them. Many clinics either specialize in one or one set of these treatment methodologies, or provide a balance of them by hiring several chiropractors, each of whom specializes in one or more of them.

In general it is best, when looking for a chiropractor to help you either regain your health after an injury or maintain a high a level of good health, to research the individual chiropractor or their clinics by reading their websites or asking for referrals from other health practitioners you trust. Every chiropractor can help you to achieve the more balanced state of natural health you seek, but some may have specialized training or approaches that can help you to achieve it more quickly.

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