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Chiropractic


What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is one of the largest primary-contact health care professions in Canada with over 6,000 practicing chiropractors. Chiropractic is a regulated health profession recognized by statute in all Canadian provinces and American states. Each year, millions of Canadians seek chiropractic care for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries. Chiropractors assess disorders related to the spine, nervous system, and joints of the extremities and provide diagnosis, treatment and management of those disorders. In many cases, such as acute low-back pain, chiropractic therapy may be the primary method of treatment.

How Are Chiropractors Educated?
In Canada, chiropractors are educated through two programs offered at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) in Toronto, and at l'Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR). Both programs are fully accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education of Canada (CCEC) which has adopted standards similar to those of the Council on Chiropractic Education in the United States which is, in turn, recognized by the United States Department of Education.


Chiropractic students undergo a rigorous course of study similar to that of other health care professionals. Entrance requirements are also similar. Students are required to complete a minimum of three years of university before they are eligible for admission to the CMCC accredited program which requires four years of full-time study, including a year-long internship in the College's clinics.


In addition to the academic program, chiropractic education requires hands-on clinical experience under the direct supervision of highly qualified chiropractic faculty. This experience includes clinical assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and referral protocols. The faculty at both CMCC and UQTR have diverse backgrounds and offer students a wide range of expertise. Faculty come from such disciplines as biological sciences, pathology, medicine and psychology, as well as chiropractic therapy. Both the CMCC and the UQTR programs include courses in anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, neurology, embryology, radiology (biophysics and protection to clinical x-ray interpretation and diagnosis), immunology, microbiology, pathology, nutrition, and clinical sciences specifically relating to diagnosis.

Information About CMCC
The Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College has been a leader in chiropractic research for more than five decades. The College has dedicated itself to the development of an ongoing, productive research program. Faculty have been successful in obtaining research grants from funding agencies and have published extensively in peer-reviewed and refereed chiropractic journals, as well as in multi-disciplinary journals such as the British Medical Journal, Spine, Annals of Internal Medicine, Pain, The Lancet, and The New England Journal of Medicine.


Over the years, CMCC has developed relationships with faculty in other academic institutions in North America. Research collaborations have taken place with faculty from the University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, McMaster University, University of Western Ontario, University of Alberta, Institute for Work and Health, St. Michael's Hospital, Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre, University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan, The Texas Back Institute, and St. Joseph's Hospital, Hamilton.

How Is Chiropractic Regulated & Standardized?
Chiropractic treatment is regulated by provincial statute in all provinces. For example, in Ontario, chiropractic has been governed by statute since 1925. Currently, it is regulated by the Chiropractic Act (1991) which is administered by the College of Chiropractors of Ontario created in accordance with the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA)(1991).



Chiropractors along with medical doctors, dentists, psychologists, and optometrists have the legislated right and obligation to communicate a diagnosis and to use the title doctor. The College of Chiropractors of Ontario, like the colleges in each of the other provinces, is established by legislation in the same manner, and with the same structure and similar regulations, as the regulatory bodies for other health professions. It is responsible for protecting the public, standards of practice, disciplinary issues, quality assurance and maintenance of competency.

Is Chiropractic Treatment Safe?
Before beginning practice, a chiropractor is required to pass rigorous national Board Examinations. Then he or she must pass another set of examinations applying to the Licensing Board for the right to practice. Chiropractors complete many hours of post-graduate instruction for an annual license renewal. Throughout his or her career a chiropractor will attend seminars, scientific symposia and read professional journals to keep up with ongoing research. This professional development keeps the chiropractor well-equipped with the skills needed to provide patients with safe and effective chiropractic care.


Just as the medical profession in general must be completely certain that the care they provide is safe, so too must the chiropractic profession. The safety and effectiveness of chiropractic treatment has been studied very carefully.


Complications from chiropractic treatments are rare. Your chiropractor will discuss all potential side effects and any risks along with the benefits of the care you receive. If your chiropractor diagnoses a problem that would be better treated by another health care professional, he or she will make an appropriate referral.


This information was adapted from a document created by the profession as an educational tool for media and other health care professionals.