Chiropractors help clients to recover from disorders of the back or musculoskeletal system through the use of manipulation and supportive techniques, specialist equipment and physical exercise. They correct spinal problems and injuries by applying manual force or making adjustments with their hands or specialist equipment. Chiropractors often also take patients' general health, lifestyle and well-being into consideration to provide more holistic treatments. Typical tasks include:
- undertaking patient consultations at home and within practices and clinics
- gaining information from patients about previous medical history
- making physical examinations
- taking a patient's pulse, heart rate or blood pressure
- organising for patients to have X-rays
- diagnosing and treating disorders and ailments
- assessing and planning treatment requirements
- providing education and advice about lifestyle, exercise and movement
- liaising with and making referrals to doctors or healthcare practitioners
- keeping accurate confidential patient records
- attending conferences
- keeping up to date with developments in the profession
The majority of chiropractors are self-employed or work for private practices (such as specialist chiropractic clinics and complementary health clinics). Contract work may be available with some GP practices and NHS trusts. There are good prospects for qualified chiropractors to gain work, as it is a small profession with high demand.
To qualify within the UK it is necessary to gain accreditation with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) by completing an approved four to five year chiropractic degree course. Information about recognised courses can be obtained from the GCC website. Most graduates with a science background can take a chiropractic degree. Chiropractic degree courses are expensive and graduates are almost always self-funding. Previous relevant experience gained caring for or working with people via voluntary work, placements or through paid employment is not essential, but can be helpful.
You will usually need three A levels or equivalent to undertake a chiropractic degree, typically including two sciences, and five GCSEs or equivalent including maths, English and a science.
All candidates must be of good health and fitness, with excellent interpersonal and communication skills.