On the Job
Chiropractors treat patients with health problems related to back, neck, and other joint damage.
"Oh, my aching back!" Better call the chiropractor. What about, "Oh, my aching head?" Do you call the chiropractor for this too? In fact, many people do.While chiropractors commonly help people manage back pain, they also help people with a variety of ailments, including headaches and even the common cold. Chiropractors believe that improper function of the spine causes pain and other health problems. Their approach to health care is "holistic." This means they stress the patient's overall health. They use only natural, drugless, non-surgical treatments.
Chiropractors follow a routine to diagnose illness. For example, they talk to the patient and take a medical history. They observe the patient's posture and spine. They examine the patient's body and test nerve function, bone structure, and joint movement. They sometimes use lab tests to confirm diagnoses, or x-rays to locate joint injuries.
Chiropractors use many kinds of treatment. When health problems are related to the skeletal system, they manually adjust the spine and other joints. They also use therapies such as massage, heat, or stretching. Such therapies relax the muscles and stimulate tissues so that healing can occur. Chiropractors counsel patients about "holistic" health ideas, such as nutrition, exercise, and stress management. They may also apply supports, such as straps or braces, to body parts. Each time they see a patient, chiropractors write case notes in the patient's chart. In addition, they may consult with and refer patients to other health practitioners.
Many chiropractors have their own practice. Others work in group practices with one or more chiropractors. In solo practices, chiropractors have many administrative duties. They hire employees and keep records. In addition, they must build a base of patients through advertising or other marketing techniques. In larger practices, some of these duties are given to office managers.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Gather information to diagnose patients' illnesses or problems. Take a medical history.
- Write case notes in patients' charts and maintain accurate records and medical histories.
- Conduct physical, nerve, and bone exams, including analyzing posture and spine.
- Manipulate spine and other joints to adjust problems caused by illness or injury.
- Use lab tests and diagnostic instruments, such as x-rays.
- Use other therapies, such as water, exercise, massage, electric, or heat.
- Counsel patients about "holistic" health ideas, such as nutrition, exercise, and stress management.
- Consult with and refer patients to other health practitioners.
- Perform administrative duties, such as hiring employees, keeping records, and building a patient base.
- Apply supports such as straps or braces.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Assist and care for others.
- Work with the public.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Make decisions and solve problems.
- Document and record information.
- Update and use job-related knowledge.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Process information.
- Identify objects, actions, and events.
- Schedule work and activities.
- Explain the meaning of information to others.
- Perform administrative tasks.
- Perform activities that use the whole body.
- Evaluate information against standards.
- Develop goals and strategies.
- Monitor and control resources.
- Analyze data or information.
- Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Use computers.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Have a high level of social contact. They spend most of their work day with patients.
- Communicate daily by telephone, letters, memos, and in person. They also use e-mail, but less often.
- Are responsible for the health and safety of patients.
- Sometimes must persuade patients to follow treatment recommendations, such as using heat or ice on injuries.
- Often work as part of a larger medical team.
- Are somewhat responsible for the work done by other practitioners and assistants who work in the same office.
- Always work indoors.
- Work very near patients. They must come into close physical contact to properly examine patients and administer adjustments.
- Are sometimes exposed to patients' diseases or infections.
- Must be sure that all details are done and their work is accurate. Errors in diagnosis or treatment could seriously endanger patients' health.
- Regularly make decisions that strongly impact the reputation of their medical office as well as their patients' health.
- Rarely consult another before deciding a course of action or setting their daily tasks and goals.
- Often repeat the same routine activities, such as interviewing and examining patients.
- Must meet by strict weekly deadlines. This can make the work atmosphere moderately competitive.
- Usually work a 40-hour week, although longer hours are not uncommon.
- May work evenings or weekends to better serve patients.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Use hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools, or controls.
- Stand for long periods of time while examining patients.
- Bend or twist the body.
- Repeat the same movements.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold the hand steady while moving the arm.
- Use stomach and lower back muscles to support the body for long periods without getting tired.
- Use fingers or hands to grasp, move, or assemble small objects.
- Move two or more limbs together (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while remaining in place.
- Bend, stretch, twist, or reach out.
- Use muscles to lift, push, pull, or carry heavy objects.
- Be physically active for long periods without getting tired or out of breath.
- Use muscles for extended periods without getting tired.
- See details of objects that are more than a few feet away.
- Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
- See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
- Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
- Coordinate movement of several parts of the body, such as arms and legs, while the body is moving.
- Keep or regain the body's balance or stay upright when in an unstable position.
- Determine the distance between objects.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.