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Job Description

The many job duties performed by a chiropractor involve the assessment of a patient's

medical history and possible health concerns through physical evaluation. With this analysis,

chiropractors will evaluate a client's spine, posture, as well as muscle reflexes. Some of the

examinations of the spinal column are performed with the aid of an X-ray picture. This helps a

chiropractic doctor determine whether there are any abnormalities that need to be addressed

during a spinal readjustment. Occasionally, an X-ray can be utilized to detect health problems

that may make it unsafe for a person to get an adjustment. Nina Bahadur mentions in Self, an

online journal that in 2016, Katie May, a 34-year-old model went in to have a chiropractic

adjustment after experiencing neck pain. The doctor who gave Katie an adjustment didn't

perform a physical examination or do an X-ray before giving the model an adjustment in her

neck. The model had fallen one week prior to her chiropractic visit, causing her to believe that

she may have pinched a nerve which was causing her neck pain. The cause was more likely an

aneurysm resulting from the tear in Katie's Carotid artery which she had received after her fall

the week before. Mayo Clinic states that "A brain aneurysm is a bulge or ballooning in the

brain. A brain aneurysm can leak or rupture, causing bleeding in to the brain also referred to as

a Hemorrhagic Stroke." Had the doctor, who adjusted Katie's neck, done an X-ray and physical

examination, he may have noticed the aneurysm and tear in her Carotid artery and advised her

to seek emergency care. Rather, the adjustment caused the aneurysm in Katie's brain to

rupture. Katie suffered a Hemorrhagic stroke and died shortly after. Many claims state that the
chiropractor "broke" Katie's neck and or created the tear in Katie's Carotid artery during the

adjustment. This story and those claims have created a stigma regarding the safety or

legitimacy of chiropractic practices. Though these cases are rare, chiropractors must be

thorough about performing examinations and investigating a patient's claims about new or

worsening pain before providing an adjustment.

Chiropractors adjustments according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, "provide

neuromusculoskeletal therapy, which often involves adjusting a patient's spinal column and

other joints." Neuroscientist and Chiropractic Doctor, Heidi Havvik defines in her novel, The

Reality Check (pp.9-10) "vertebral subluxation" as " a dysfunctional area in the spine that

negatively affects health and well-being, due to its influence on the nervous system. These

dysfunctional areas felt 'out of place' and 'stuck'." This "described a subluxation; which actually

means 'partial dislocation." Dr. Heidi Havvik explains in her book; The Reality Check (pp.29)

that subluxations can cause miscommunications of information between the spine and the

brain due to a spinal segment that "is moving more than 'normal', not moving much at all, or

just moving differently to 'normal'." By receiving chiropractic adjustments, a person can

improve communication between their brain and body. Dr. Heidi Havvik goes on to explain in

her novel; The Reality Check (pp.55-56) that "studies have suggested that adjustments can

trigger changes in the body." Such as: "improved visual acuity and visual field size, decreased

reaction times, altered brain processing, changes in the way that our brain integrates sensory

and motor information, and altered spinal cord reflex excitability, changes to messages that get

sent form the nervous system, increased muscle strength, and reduced muscle fatigue." Many

studies have been conducted to provide results that indicate chiropractic adjustments improve
overall brain to nervous system communication, resulting in improved brain function.

Chiropractors take on the responsibility of focusing toward the overall wellbeing and health of a

patient. Bureau of Labor Statistics States that chiropractic doctors should "advise patients on

health and lifestyle choices such as exercise, nutrition, and sleep habits." Many chiropractic

doctors specialize in other fields related to chiropractics such as; physical therapy, neurology,

and nutrition. These specialty fields can create broader knowledge for chiropractors and help

them hone in on more specific issues that a client may be facing. Many chiropractors create

private practices and maintain businesses by building a good reputation with clients and

implementing "care plans" to ensure repeated client visits over a certain period of time.

Chiropractors keep records of client's previous history with the clinic and record areas of

affliction while noting and updating information as symptoms change.

General Career Path

There are no entry level positions you can access to become a doctor of chiropractic

medicine. It is required for a student to satisfy all undergraduate credit hours as well as post

graduate credits, which typically takes around eight years to complete. A person may work right

after becoming licensed, under another chiropractor with experience, in order to gain

knowledge in the field before beginning their own business. There are many chiropractic

doctors who own their own practice and hire other chiropractors, with less experience, in to

their clinic to gain experience, before the new chiropractor creates his own business.
General Education Experience

Chiropractic medicine certification requires ninety credit hours of undergraduate

education and many other programs require a bachelor's degree in order to apply. After

completing undergraduate education, the postgraduate requires four years to attain licensure.

A person who completes this degree is referred to as a D.C., or a doctor of chiropractic

medicine. While doing course work, it is generally required for a student to take many science

based classes such as physics, chemistry, and biology. According to the Bureau of Labor

Statistics the D.C. program "includes class work in anatomy, physiology, and biology." In order

to become a certified chiropractic doctor, a person must satisfy all of the required course work

and credit hours as well as 'hands-on' hours and complete "all four parts of the National Board

of Chiropractic Examiners Exam." There are also background checks specific to each state that a

student of chiropractic medicine must pass before being able to practice in a certain state.

Average Salary

The average annual salary for this profession varies from state to state and individual to

individual. Chiropractors with specialized knowledge in nutrition or neurology, have the

opportunity to make more money in their career versus those who just went to school for

chiropractics. Areas around the United States where a chiropractor can establish his business,

greatly affected the amount of money or annual salary a chiropractic doctor made. In wealthier

metropolitan areas, that are top paying for this occupation, can earn a chiropractor on the

upward of; $170,000 annually or on the lower end of this scale, roughly; $130,000 per year. In

non metropolitan areas that pay highest for this occupation, a chiropractor can earn at the
highest; $147,000 annually, or on the lower end of this scale; $95,000 per year. States that had

the highest levels of employment for this occupation, had annual salaries ranging from $65,000

to $90,000 per year. The states with the highest rates of employment for this field are

California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois and generated an hourly wage between $31.13

and $43.54. The top paying states for this occupation generated between $107,000 and

$135,00 per year. The states with the highest average annual income include; Rhode Island,

New Jersey, Delaware, Alaska, and Tennessee. These top paying states received an hourly wage

between $51.59 and $64.55. In Utah, the average annual mean for this occupation generated

$61,960 per year and made an average hourly wage of $29.79. Overall, with the variations in

salary determined by area, the mean annual wage is $81,210 with an average mean hourly

wage of $39.04. All data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook

Chiropractics as a career field, has been growing in popularity. More people in our

information age are able to readily access and gain insight about studies that were not available

many years ago. These studies and research have been able to shine a light on chiropractics and

has been able to usher in a new population to utilize its services. Knowledge to the public about

chiropractic's general health benefits have begun to permeate communities around the nation

and has spread overseas as well. The demand for chiropractic positions have been elevating to

a steady level to meet new clientele expectations. Chiropractics have become the answer to

many people's problems regarding pain. Chiropractics is a holistic approach to helping people

combat pain without the use of opioid medications.

Profession Biography

Dr. Heidi Havvik, chiropractor and neuroscientist, was born in New Zealand and raised in

Norway. She lived in Norway with her parents and two brothers. Her close friend and teacher,

Professor Murphy, worked with and supported Heidi with her "intelligent insights." (About the

Author, The Reality Check) Heidi attended and "graduated from the New Zealand College of

Chiropractic, in Auckland, in 1999, and was awarded her PhD degree by the University of

Auckland in 2008." (About the Author, The Reality Check) Heidi has become a major contributor

to the research of chiropractics and runs a center for chiropractic research at the "College of

Chiropractic Research." Her Contributions have added and innovated aspects about the

chiropractic field. Her research has been studied by many professionals and her claims have

been substantiated repeatedly. Dr. Havvik has received many awards for her amazing work and

research for the chiropractic field. The book, "The Reality Check", is a compilation written by Dr.

Havvik, regarding the science behind chiropractics. "The Reality Check" creates an

understanding for specialists and non-specialists alike. Through her work, Heidi has been able

to propel the chiropractic occupation toward a brighter future. She has been able to give the

public an understanding about the inner workings of the chiropractic adjustment.


Helping others in pain without the mediation of opioid pain medication.

Gaining an understanding for skeletal and muscular disorders.

Decent pay wage.

Making clientele happy.

Treating skeletal dysfunction through non-invasive methods.


Many people view chiropractics as an illegitimate pseudoscience.

Pay wages can be unpredictable.

Having to establish your own business or work for a boss.

Not recognized by the modern medicine field.

Personal Fit

Overall, I think this would be a good fit for me. I have had an interest of pursuing

chiropractics since I was in elementary school, after receiving my first adjustment. I

have a strong interest in neurology and the nervous system, and chiropractors have

influence over the nervous system through physical manipulation. One of the worries I

have about physical adjustments are not being able to have enough force or control

over some of the larger clients that visit clinics. There are techniques that can make it

easier for small chiropractors to deliver a powerful adjustment. I believe that this would

be a very enjoyable profession with many benefits. I think that this career path would

provide me with a good sense of satisfaction. I enjoy helping people in physical distress

and seeing those, with chronic pain, experience relief, to live a normal life. I have

witnessed, first hand, what severe and chronic pain can do to a person's life. I don't

think it's right for anyone to have to live with such debilitation. I want to make a

difference in other's lives by improving their physical discomfort.


Bahadur, N. (2016, Oct. 21) 34-year-old model Katie May died from a stroke, here's what you
should know. SELF. Web.
Havvik, H. (2014) The Reality Check, The Vertebral Subluxation. Print (pp.9)
Havvik, H. (2014) The Reality Check, The Vertebral Subluxation. Print (pp.10)
Havvik, H. (2014) The Reality Check, The Spine's Role in Brain Adaptation. Print (pp.29)
Havvik, H. (2014) The Reality Check, A Closer Look at the Research of Chiropractic Care. Print
Havvik, H. (2014) The Reality Check, A Closer Look at the Research of Chiropractic Care. Print
Havvik, H. (2014) The Reality Check, About the author. Print (pp.1)
Mayo Clinic (2017, Oct. 31) Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Brain
Aneurysm. Web.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017, Oct. 24) Summary. Web.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017, Oct. 24) Summary. Web
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017, Oct. 24) Summary. Web.