Doctors of Chiropractic (D.C.) comprise the second largest health care profession with over 50,000 practitioners in the U.S. They earn the title "doctor" along with medical doctors (M.D.), doctors of osteopathy (D.O.), and dentists (D.D.S.)
The educational process leading to the title Doctor of Chiropractic is quite similar to that of an M.D. and D.O.. In order to earn a D.C. degree, a student must complete several years of pre-chiropractic studies at colleges or universities, followed by 5 academic years of chiropractic education (totaling a minimum of 7 years of study). The chiropractic student's last year is spent in a clinical internship (similar to MD or DO "rotations") During this time the chiropractic intern, under the supervision of a licensed D.C., will consult, examine and treat patients in a clinic setting. Upon graduation and earning the Doctor of Chiropractic degree, a state licensing exam must be passed in order to practice.
Chiropractic students study many of the same textbooks as medical and osteopathic students. As a matter of fact, a chiropractic student accumulates more course hours in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics (how the body moves), neurology, and nutrition than their medical and osteopathic colleagues.
The safety of chiropractic care has been well documented in professional journals of all kinds. Serious side effects of chiropractic manipulative therapy occur approximately one out of everyone million adjustments. Compare this to the serious side-effects of medicines and surgical errors to put safety in perspective. Research reveals that some 100,000 people die each year from the effects of prescription drugs that prescribed by their doctors. This isn't meant to be "M.D. bashing", it's just the simple truth about the safety of prescription medications, as reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (April 1998). The article continues to say, "Discovering new dangers of drugs after marketing is common. Overall, 51 % of approved drugs have serious adverse effects not detected prior to approval. Merely discovering adverse effects is not by itself sufficient to protect the public. Each year prescription drugs injure 1 .5 million people so severely they require hospitalization and 100,000 die, making prescription drugs the 4th leading cause of death in the United States." So the question was about the safety of chiropractic care?
Chiropractic care is like "orthodontics" for the spine. Clinically repeated chiropractic adjustments "train" the vertebrae to maintain their proper alignment and movement. Like the time required for braces to achieve correction depends on an individual's teeth and mouth structure, the time required for proper positioning to occur depends on the condition of the patient's spine, their job, and other lifestyle activities.
Think of your spinal adjustments like maintaining your correct alignment.
It's recommended that you change your car's oil every 3,000 or so miles. For how long you ask? For as long as you own the car! While some individuals drive 3,000 miles in a week, others do so in a month or two.
The point is, however, that we change our oil on a regular basis. The same goes for caring for your spine. Whether to get adjusted weekly, monthly or quarterly depends on each patient's specific health condition. Remember, "An ounce of Prevention is worth a pound of cure!" Don't let your car's engine fall out before changing its oil!