Chiropractors’ role and responsibilities

Chiropractors specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of neuromusculoskeletal (NMS) disorders, and the effects that these disorders have on a person’s overall health, in order to ensure the recovery and maintenance of optimal health.

As part of their duties, chiropractors conduct a clinical interview (history-taking) in order to determine the reasons for a patient’s consultation. Following the interview, the chiropractor will conduct the necessary examinations in order to clearly understand the nature of the person’s health issue and make an NMS diagnosis.

Learn more about what happens at a first appointment

Chiropractors are responsible for determining whether chiropractic care is indicated in a particular case, whether it should be adapted or whether it is preferable that the person consult another professional (a chiropractor who uses a different approach or another type of healthcare professional).

No other healthcare professional is better placed to determine whether chiropractic care can help.

If chiropractic care can help, the chiropractor will recommend a treatment program tailored to a person’s issue and wellness objectives, and will take the time to explain the chiropractic approach so that the person is able to understand how it works and how it can help.

Before conducting an examination or proceeding with the proposed treatment, a chiropractor must obtain the patient’s free and informed written consent; however, he or she must first inform the patient about the nature of the issue to be treated, the treatment plan deemed appropriate and the potential associated benefits and risks.

In Quebec, only members of the Ordre des chiropraticiens du Québec (OCQ) are authorized to practise chiropractic and use the title of chiropractor.

Chiropractors hold a Doctor of Chiropractic degree, and, in Quebec, their practice has been governed by the Chiropractic Act since 1973. All members of the OCQ must also adhere to the regulations to which they are subject, including the Code of ethics of chiropractors, which stipulates that “chiropractors must practise their profession in accordance with the principles recognized by chiropractic science.”

Chiropractors must also adhere to the most rigorous standards and update their skills in accordance with OCQ requirements in terms of mandatory continuing education, in particular in radiology.

Did you know?

In 2005, a unanimous decision by the Quebec Court of Appeal recognized that chiropractors are authorized to make a diagnosis within the limits of the parameters provided for by law.

Chiropractors must also annually update their skills in radiology in order to maintain their radiology permit. Without this permit issued by the OCQ, chiropractors cannot prescribe or interpret X-rays, whether or not they are taken at their clinic. In Quebec, chiropractors require at least 12 hours of continuing education each year to maintain their skills in radiology.

Chiropractors are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of neuromusculoskeletal disorders that require more in-depth investigation or referral to another healthcare professional. Chiropractors work together with physicians and other healthcare professionals that their patients consult.

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Don’t forget!

The key is to discuss the situation with your chiropractor, ask questions and state your expectations. This will help establish a relationship of trust and cooperation between you and your healthcare professional so that you can make the best possible recovery.