Myth # 2: Chiropractors aren’t doctors, they have very little education compared to medical doctors.

This is a continuation of my post on the top 4 myths about chiropractic. Before I address the educational qualification of chiropractors, how about a refresher on what makes someone a doctor. In British Columbia, Chiropractic is regulated by our College under the Chiropractic Act.  The Act provides us this designation due to our right to diagnose. This means that we are able to determine a specific cause for a group of signs and symptoms with respect to spine and spine-related disorders. We have enough education and training to be able to come to a diagnosis, and more importantly, to determine when a condition is outside our scope of practice.

As stated by Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (where I attended), “The chiropractic curriculum encompasses a diverse range of knowledge including anatomy, pathology, biomechanics, chiropractic principles, diagnosis, and adjustive techniques.” The 4-year program focuses on diagnosis and treatment of musculo-skeletal injuries, and includes 4232 hours of instruction in subjects such as Neurodiagnosis in Chiropractic Practice, Differential Diagnosis, Systems Pathology, Clinical Biomechanics and Radiographic Interpretation. The requirements for admission into an accredited chiropractic program include minimum 3 years undergraduate study (as with medicine) but most students have  completed an undergraduate degree. That works out to 8 years of post-secondary education.

Interestingly enough, a 2001 article in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery analyzed the curriculum of Canadian medical schools and discovered that on average only 2.26% of class time was devoted to musculo-skeletal injuries. This is surprising considering that in BC, one third of all visits to MDs are for spine and spine related conditions. The article concluded that “There is a marked discrepancy between the musculoskeletal knowledge and skill requirements of a primary care physician and the time devoted to musculoskeletal education in Canadian medical schools.”

So it begs the question – if you have a problem with your back, what kind of doctor do you want to see? In my opinion, the information above speaks for itself.