It’s a regulated primary healthcare profession. It requires a four-year Master’s Degree to qualify. There’s a practice in almost every town. Most people know someone who swears by theirs. But do you know exactly what a Chiropractor does, and whether this might be a career path for you…?

To find out more, we went direct to local experts, Willow Chiropractors, who have teams working in clinics across Bristol and North Somerset. Here’s what they told us …

What is chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a type of healthcare designed to help improve spinal health and function. In doing so, it impacts joint mobility, back pain and neck pain.

So, what do chiropractors do?

Chiropractors educate and help with the care of the human frame on the basis that, with improved function, the body can heal and be under less stress.

They diagnose, treat, and manage problems with the musculoskeletal system (bones, joints, and muscles).

Chiropractors have a specialist interest in neck and back pain, but there are two key aspects to the profession.

Firstly, chiropractors use a range of techniques to reduce pain, improve function and increase mobility, including ultrasound, acupuncture and natural adjustment of the spine through hands-on, specific spinal manipulation to free joints that are not moving properly.

Secondly, chiropractors take into account a patient’s entire physical, emotional and social wellbeing. As well as manual chiropractic treatment, they are able to offer advice on self-help, exercises, posture and lifestyle changes.

Most work in private practice, but chiropractic treatment is available on the NHS in some parts of the country, and GP’s can refer patients for private care as well.

Who is best suited to becoming a chiropractor?

There are a variety of skills and qualities which could well make this an ideal career path for you …

Seek natural treatments – do you want to help people to improve their health through natural (non-chemical) methods?

Practical – do you want to get hands-on in dealing with dysfunction?

Great communicator – do you think you’ll enjoy working one on one with people? You’ll need to be able to adapt to the many different patients that you will see including sports people, the elderly and being able to communicate with children as well as their parents/carer.

Motivational – do you want to help people to achieve their goals?

Empathetic – can you relate to a patient’s challenges and provide compassionate support as they recover their health?

Decision maker – as chiropractors also diagnose and create care plans, you will need to be a great planner and be confident to make decisions.

Entrepreneurial – chiropractors often also become self-employed (after an initial phase working as an associate in an established practice) and so an entrepreneurial spirit can also be useful.

Professional – Like other health professions chiropractic is regulated and Chiropractors must register with the General Chiropractic Council and adhere to a strict code of conduct to maintain the quality and safety of patient care.

How can I train to become a Chiropractor?

The chiropractic qualification is a 4-year Master’s Degree in Chiropractic – MChiro (Hons). It typically involves three years intensive academic and practical studies plus full-time clinic work in year four. During the degree, you can expect to study human biology, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, biomechanics and pathology just as any other medical student.

In terms of location, there are currently four places to study for a chiropractic degree in the UK – although, sadly, none in Bristol or Bath. They are –

  • Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) in Bournemouth
  • Welsh Institute of Chiropractic (WIOC) at the University of South Wales near Pontypridd CF37
  • McTimoney College of Chiropractic in Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14
  • London South Bank University, Southwark, London SE1 (from Sept-18)

And at the time of writing, there are also plans underway for The Scotland College of Chiropractic.

Career prospects

According to the British Chiropractic Association*…

Graduate employment – 95% graduates employed within 6 months

Future roles – The British Chiropractic Association* (BCA) has pledged to increase the number of chiropractors within the UK from 3,100 to 5,000 by 2025, enabling an increased partnership with other professions allied to medicine such as physiotherapy and sports and exercise rehabilitation.

Salaries – The salary of a new graduate is 50% higher than the average.

And finally …

Chiropractic is different because it focuses on the spine, its function, and how it affects the whole person.

Whilst it can often start with an initial injury or symptom that presents itself, Chiropractors move on to educate patients about the power of small habits done consistently with adjustments over time to promote good health.

They very often see individuals and their families over many years as they help them to stay well, rather than having to firefight problems.

Thank you to Willow Chiropractors. @WillowBristol (Twitter) @WillowChiropractic (Facebook)

Interested? Why not read more on the British Chiropractor’s Association website as well? It’s Your Future – Let’s Get It Started!

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