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Chiropractors use a variety of physical techniques and therapies to treat and rehabilitate patients who are suffering from disorders and/or injuries of the back or musculoskeletal system.

Previous relevant experience gained caring for or working with people can be helpful.

What does a chiropractor do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

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:

  • use your hands to manipulate the spine and treat problems with bones, muscles and joints
  • 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

Typical employers

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.

Qualifications and training required

To qualify within the UK it is necessary to gain accreditation with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) by completing an approved four-year chiropractic degree course. Information about recognised courses can be obtained from the GCC website. You are likely to need five GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above, along with three A levels. A levels in one or two science subjects may be a requirement.

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.

Key skills for chiropractors

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Physical health and fitness
  • Organisational skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Patience
  • Understanding and empathy

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