What Do Chiropractors Do?

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Who are Chiropractors?

Chiropractors are members of a regulated health profession, regulated by the College of Chiropractors of Ontario (CCO) under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991. In order for anyone to practise as a chiropractor or use the title of “chiropractor” in Ontario, an individual must meet the registration requirements of CCO. These requirements include graduation from an accredited chiropractic college, successful completion of clinical competency and legislation and ethics examinations, and completion of an application for registration with CCO.

Doctors of chiropractic (DC) complete a minimum of 7 years of post-secondary education before becoming registered with CCO. As well, as part of being a member of a self-regulated health profession, chiropractors are required to participate in life-long learning, which includes continuing education and professional development, self-assessment and peer and practice assessment.

Chiropractors are authorized to use the “Doctor” title in providing patient care and communicate a diagnosis within the chiropractic scope of practice.

What Do Chiropractors Do?

The scope of practice of chiropractic in Ontario is defined in the Chiropractic Act, 1991, as follows:

The practice of chiropractic is the assessment of conditions related to the spine, nervous system and joints and the diagnosis, prevention and treatment, primarily by adjustment, of,

(a) dysfunctions or disorders arising from the structures or functions of the spine and the effects of those dysfunctions or disorders on the nervous system; and

(b) dysfunctions or disorders arising from the structures or functions of the joints.

Chiropractors practise within the scope of practice to examine, diagnose and provide care to patients with a variety of health concerns related to the spine and joints and the effect on the nervous system, such as low back, shoulder and knee pain, sports injuries, and overall wellness care. Chiropractors focus on patient-centred care, use manual therapies, and often work in collaboration with other regulated health professionals.

What Can You Expect From Your Chiropractor?

Patients can expect from their chiropractors:

  • An initial consultation to review your complaint, case history, ask questions and review relevant paperwork and available reports;
  • An explanation of the fee structure and business practices of the chiropractor;
  • An explanation and consent to a physical examination and appropriate diagnostic tests;
  • A chiropractic examination, which may include orthopedic, neurological, muscle function, joint function and radiographic testing;
  • A report of findings, which will include a diagnosis or clinical impression with a complete explanation by the chiropractor of what has been found;
  • A referral to another regulated health professional, if the chiropractor feels a health condition of the patient is outside the chiropractic scope of practice;
  • Recommendations for care, which may include a course of chiropractic adjustment or manipulation and/or adjunctive therapies, such as muscle therapy, electrotherapy, lifestyle advice and recommendation of assistive devices;
  • Informed consent to care;
  • A course of care with appropriate re-examinations; and
  • Adherence to CCO regulations, standards of practice, policies and guidelines and maintenance of appropriate privacy and confidentiality throughout the doctor/patient relationship.

Information provided by the College of Chiropractors of Ontario



Dr. D. Muller, BSc, DC, Webster Certified, ICPA Member