Specific training in spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) allows chiropractors to provide manipulation/adjustments using highly-skilled and precise movements to the vertebrae of the spine, correcting joint motion to restore proper movement and improve function. This motion can be accompanied by an audible pop. When a joint is adjusted, an air bubble may escape from the joint capsule causing the popping noise similar to cracking your knuckles.
The primary goal of chiropractic manipulation is to treat areas of pain, muscle tightness and restricted movement in the joints of the body, particularly the spine. Scientific study of spinal adjustments has clearly demonstrated that chiropractic treatment improves function and is effective for common conditions such as headache, and neck and back pain.
In many cases, such as acute lower back pain, chiropractic care may be the primary method of treatment. Where other medical conditions exist, chiropractic care may complement or support medical treatment by relieving the musculoskeletal aspects of discomfort associated with the condition. Chiropractic care may also be palliative, providing symptomatic relief to patients with chronic conditions.
Chiropractors often work in various inter-professional environments as members of a healthcare team. In fact, many chiropractors now work in hospital settings, in community healthcare centres, and as contributors to private integrated practices.
Chiropractic students undergo a rigorous course of study similar to that of other healthcare professionals. Entrance requirements are also similar. Students are required to complete a minimum of three years of university before they are eligible for admission to the CMCC accredited program which requires four years of full-time study and a year-long internship in the College's clinics.
In addition to the academic program, chiropractic education requires hands-on clinical experience under the direct supervision of highly-qualified chiropractic faculty. Faculty come from such disciplines as biological sciences, pathology, medicine and psychology, as well as chiropractic. The chiropractic programs include courses in anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, neurology, and embryology, principles of chiropractic, radiology, immunology, microbiology, pathology, nutrition, and clinical sciences specifically relating to diagnosis.
Before beginning practice, a chiropractic graduate must pass rigorous National and Provincial Board Examinations, and fulfill stringent requirements for licensure for the right to practice. Chiropractors complete many hours of post-graduate instruction for an annual license renewal. Chiropractors are expected to attend seminars, scientific symposia, and read professional journals to maintain knowledge and skills, and keep up with ongoing research. This professional development keeps the chiropractor well-equipped with the skills needed to provide patients with safe and effective chiropractic care.