Chiropractic: Complimentary or Alternative Health Care?

by Dr. Brian S. Seaman, DC, FRCCSS(C), FICC

Chiropractic is a natural, hands-on approach to health care which primarily focuses on the muscles, joints and nerves of your body, and in particular your spine. Thus, chiropractic can be viewed as complimentary with your other health care providers (such as your physician) and in certain cases, as providing an alternative approach to a number of conditions such as headaches, neck pain and back pain.


One question often asked, is what education does a chiropractor have? At present, a chiropractic program requires three years of an undergraduate program, plus an additional four year Doctor of Chiropractic course of study (over 4500 hours) to obtain a degree. The Doctor of Chiropractic program, is now an integrated program, which many medical schools also do. In this type of program the students cover topics such as the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of various areas of the body. In other words, the entire process requires seven years of University/College level education. During the last year, chiropractic interns, under the supervision of an experienced chiropractic clinician, examine, diagnose and treat patients.


The Doctor of Chiropractic program is presently taught at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) in Toronto, as well as the University of Quebec at Trois Riviere (a francophone program).


Once graduated from a chiropractic college, all chiropractors in Canada must pass the examinations of the Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board (CCEB). In Nova Scotia, candidates are also required to pass an examination of the Nova Scotia College of Chiropractors (NSCC) which deals with the Act and laws, which regulate the chiropractic profession in Nova Scotia. Only after successfully completing these examinations, can a chiropractor be considered for licensure in the province of Nova Scotia.


After graduation, a chiropractor can also enter a program of study which can lead to a specialty in one of five areas; Orthopedics, X-ray, Sports Injuries, Exercise Rehab or Clinical Sciences. Chiropractors who successfully complete the program are awarded a Fellowship designation. Once in practice, a chiropractor, as with any health care provider, will continually be updating himself/herself about the ever expanding body of research dealing with Chiropractic. This is also a requirement to maintain licensure in the province.


Chiropractic, as with all health care professions, is legislated and governed by a provincial act. The original Chiropractic Act was passed in 1972 but has been revised with a new Act being passed by the Legislature in June 2000.


As you can see, chiropractors in Nova Scotia, (and in fact across Canada), are well educated health care professionals who successfully complete seven years of studies and continue to keep abreast with the advances in chiropractic research.


Reprinted with permission of
The Seniors’ Advocate. P.O. Box 5005, Waverly, Nova Scotia, B2R 1S2