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Fri, Jan. 24

What exactly are chiropractors and what do they do?

Dr. Jerome Longoria performs chiropractic adjustments on a patient Friday, Jan. 10. (Jesse Bertel/Courier)

Dr. Jerome Longoria performs chiropractic adjustments on a patient Friday, Jan. 10. (Jesse Bertel/Courier)

Millions of people around the world visit chiropractic offices every year for things such as low back pain, headaches and sports injuries, to name a few. So what exactly does a chiropractor do? What are his or her qualifications? Are chiropractors “real” doctors? What are some benefits of receiving chiropractic care?

What exactly does a chiropractor do? This question is a bit more complicated than it may seem, and to be honest one of the topics that chiropractors fight among ourselves more than anything else. Primarily, a chiropractor is concerned with the health of the spine. We adjust the spine to theoretically remove nervous system interference and improve biomechanical function of the vertebral spine. The chiropractic adjustment can come in any number of ‘flavors,’ such as gonstead, diversified, activator, upper cervical, Thompson drop, etc. With so much variety amongst chiropractors, both in technique and in philosophy, it is very important to find a chiropractor that best fits YOUR needs. Improvement of your health should be the primary goal between you and your chiropractor.

Chiropractors go through a rigorous academic schedule before receiving their degree. Approximately 4,620 educational hours are required of chiropractic students. By comparison, Osteopaths are subjected to 4,660 educational hours and MDs 4,800 hours. Many chiropractors go on to specialize in areas such as neurology, radiology, functional medicine, orthopedics and sports medicine, each of which require post-graduate education and training. Chiropractors are highly educated and can be very specialized, so yes we are ‘real’ doctors.

There are many benefits of chiropractic care, and we are beginning to see the research to support those benefits. Articles found in journals such as the American College of Physicians, Journal for Manipulative Therapy, the British Medical Journal and the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics all have published research to support care that chiropractors provide. Not only are chiropractors effective, we are significantly better at reducing medical costs. Patients who receive care from a Doctor of Chiropractic can save 20% to 40% of their medical costs, and could experience shorter episodes of pain episodes.

The Department of Veterans Affairs, the Joint Commission, the Centers for Disease Control and the American College of Physicians recognize chiropractic as a first line of defense for non-pharmacological pain management. In an age when prescription drugs are responsible for nearly 50,000 annual deaths, chiropractic can help end the opioid crisis while helping patients achieve the pain relief they need. A study in the journal Pain Medicine found that patients utilizing chiropractic care are 64% less likely to receive an opioid prescription.

Chiropractic is an effective and efficient alternative to pharmacological treatments and deserve its place within the panoply of health care choices.

Dr. Jerome Longoria DC, CSCS is a Prescott-area Chiropractor. He is a graduate from Palmer College has a bachelor’s in Physiology from the University of Arizona. Longoria spent six years in the U.S. Navy as a Corpsman, and has three combat deployments to Iraq.

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