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Doctors of Chiropractic who receive a minimum of seven years of higher education – are specifically trained to diagnose, evaluate and provide non-pharmacological care and rehabilitation to individuals with joint and spine-related pain.

What Are The Chiropractic Educational Requirements?

Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: Have you ever wondered how many years your treating chiropractic doctor went to school for or how their education compares to that of other health care professionals? Knowing your doctor’s educational background and additional certifications is often essential to helping you choose the health care provider that is right for you. While the word “doctor” automatically implies an extensive academic curriculum, each health care specialist has a unique and individualized educational program to complete prior to practicing in the real world.

As with many professionals, the specific requirements outlined often vary from state to state. Typically, chiropractors are required to have completed undergraduate pre-medical studies and obtained a bachelor’s degree prior to admission to a post graduate chiropractic college. Each chiropractic college has undergone a meticulous evaluation process to become certified by the Department of Education as an accredited educational institution.

The amount of time that your chiropractic doctor spends at a specific chiropractic academic institution is impressive. In fact, your chiropractor has spent a minimum of 4,200 hours at a chiropractic college prior to receiving his diploma. This time is spent in the classroom, laboratory, and clinic learning about the various aspects of the chiropractic profession and health care in general.

In the classroom, your doctor focuses his studies on the subjects of anatomy, physiology, diagnosis, pathology, biochemistry, neuromuscular and orthopedic evaluation, pediatric and geriatric care, microbiology, nutrition, immunology, radiology, philosophy, and clinical research. While this may seem like a lot, all of this information is assimilated and tested prior to advancement to clinical work. Once the student has completed his academic work, he will typically spend a minimum of 1,000 hours at a campus clinic under the guidance of a clinic doctor. During this time he will learn hands on how to diagnosis and treat patients in real clinical situations.

During your chiropractors education they will be tested through a number of different evaluations. Not only is your doctor subject to evaluation by their chiropractic college, they must also pass a series of national board examinations. Chiropractors practicing in the United States are required to have passed a series of four national board exams which evaluate them on their understanding of the basic sciences, clinical sciences, physiological therapeutics, diagnostic imaging, case management, and clinical competency. In addition to these requirements, following graduation and completion of national board examinations, each chiropractor must become certified by their state licensing agency.

The completion of these standards is not the end of the educational journey for chiropractic doctors. Depending on the state, each chiropractor is required to complete additional approved course work at designated times following their licensure.

After reading the above information, I feel it is safe to say that your chiropractic doctor knows far more about your health than just treating your back. To help understand this it is useful to compare a chiropractor’s education to other members of the health care community. Since many people are familiar with a medical doctor, we will compare their educational background with that of a chiropractic doctor. For starters, the typical chiropractic student will have completed a total of approximately 2,419 hours of academic work prior to the initiation of clinical studies. In comparison, the majority of medical students will have completed somewhere around 2,047 hours of study. Further, while each health care discipline has its strengths, chiropractic students undergo more hours of study in the fields of anatomy, embryology, physiology, biochemistry, diagnosis, x-ray, and orthopedics. In contrast, medical practitioners have had more classroom hours studying the subjects of pathology, psychology, and obstetrics.

When analyzing these numbers it is important to understand that while differences exist, each of your doctors has undertaken and completed a similar core education. In addition, it is important to remember that each of your doctors (even in the same health care discipline) possess various strengths to compensate for other health care professionals’ weaknesses and utilize a different approach to healing the body. In the end, finding the doctor that understands your needs and has the tools to provide you with the most appropriate care is what is important.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

When Back Pain Isn’t Caused By Your Back

Houston Chiropractor Comments: It seems odd when you say it, but sometimes back pain isn’t caused by your back. As a chiropractor, we are trained to determine the cause of someone’s back pain. This allows us to determine if the complaint is minor and can be handled out of the office with stretches and exercises, if it is a chiropractic problem that requires spinal adjustments and therapy or does the problem require medical attention. After being a chiropractor for 28 years I have seen many cases where the back pain wasn’t coming from the spine, but somewhere else.

One of the worst things that can be happening is that the patient is having an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Occasionally in individuals older than 60 with high blood pressure or genetic diseases, the aorta can stretch out and pain from this can refer to the back. The danger is that this vessel can rupture and may possibly need to be fixed surgically.

A more common cause is a gynecological problem such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts or a pelvic infection. It is important to get a thorough history of the patient’s cycles and activities to help rule this in or out.

Kidney infections are famous for referring pain to one side of the back near where the ribs meet the lower back. This is called costovertebral tenderness and is elicited by percussing at the lowest ribs along the side the spine. Severe pain in this region can be an indicator of a kidney infection.

Gall bladder attacks can also cause back pain. These attacks are typically a “crampy” type of pain occurring after a fatty meal that gets better and then worse.

Intestinal complaints such as ulcers and diverticulitis can also refer pain to the spine when the intestine becomes inflamed or irritated. A proper history and examination will help to determine if this is the cause.

Finally a pulled muscle from the ribs or abdomen can refer pain to the spine.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!