It’s a question we get a lot: ‘Are chiropractors doctors?’ If you’ve been treated by a chiro before, you may well have called them doctor – and they may well have called themselves doctor, too. So what’s the deal? Are chiropractors called doctors or not? We take a deep dive to find the answer:
Do you call a chiropractor a doctor?
Almost exactly ten years ago, the Chiropractic Board of Australia tweaked the system so that practitioners in NSW do indeed go by the title ‘Dr’. But at the very same time, a debate was raging in the professional medical community over whether chiropractors – and other ‘doctors’ like podiatrists – can legitimately use the ‘Dr’ title after all.
So is a chiropractor a Dr … really?
First, it’s important to recognise that ‘doctor’ is a broad term that is not just reserved for your GP. Indeed, chiropractors in Australia rightfully get their right to the ‘Dr’ title via their professional body – just like other health care professionals including medical doctors who also use that title.
The important thing for all health professionals is that they do not mislead their patients or the public. They do this by not engaging in any protectionist debate about who the ‘real’ doctors are, but simply by being fully transparent about what their specific role and qualifications are.
That’s why you may see a title advertised as something like “Dr Jane Doe (Chiropractor)”.
The ‘Dr’ title also comes with some crucial responsibilities, as chiropractors – like medical doctors and surgeons – are subject to certain rigorous and standard testing procedures, licensing, and ongoing monitoring by peer-reviewed boards.
For chiropractors, their professional registration body is the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) – the very same body that handles registration for other well-known health professionals like GPs, dentists and more.
What qualifications does a chiropractor have?
Chiropractors work hard for their title over the course of at least five years of education at university (Bachelor’s degree plus Master’s degree). But their deep knowledge of your bones, muscles, joints, and the health conditions related to musculoskeletal problems, is much more than just theoretical. By the time of their graduation, your ‘Dr Chiro’ will already have treated hundreds and hundreds of patients – under the guidance of already-registered chiropractors – to accumulate the hands-on skills required.
In that way, the road to becoming a chiropractor is very similar to becoming any other doctor, giving them arguably as deep a knowledge of most aspects of human medicine including:
- Cell biology
- Physical examination/diagnostic skills
- Physical therapies/rehabilitation.
And where a generic medical doctor is trained in diagnosing and treating various bodily disorders and diseases, they’re less qualified, skilled and experienced in the sorts of specialised ‘hands on’ and manual therapies mastered by a chiropractic doctor. The chiro therefore will typically have a much deeper understanding of the musculoskeletal system, including how to treat lower back pain, headaches or neck pain, sporting injuries and much more. They are distinct from medical doctors in terms of prescribing medication or carrying out surgical procedures.
LRCC’s ‘doctors’ can’t wait to see you!
So while a chiropractor is not a GP, the same is true in reverse – but they are both ‘Dr’. And the Sydney chiropractors at Longueville Road Chiropractic Centre (LRCC) are widely regarded as some of the most reliable and effective in safely treating many spine-related conditions for a drug and surgery-free way to improve your life.
Need an appointment? You can fill out the forms online, so please feel free – our ‘doctors’ can’t wait to see you!