How to practice chiropractic without a license

Neck Manipulation

Want to practice chiropractic, but aren’t licensed as a chiropractor?

Believe it or not, it can be pretty easy to do. Here are three ways you can start mastering the spine even though you barely know the difference between a major and a minor subluxation.

Tell your patients that they are forbidden to get chiropractic care.

Okay, so you have to have a little bit of education in order to pull this one off. It helps to be an MD, DO, or some other physician specialist.

In order to practice chiropractic without a license, all you have to do is to forbid your patients from consulting with a chiropractor, for whatever the reason.

Let me give you an example of how this works. Recently I was speaking with a colleague of mine who uses precise, measured, controlled adjustments of the upper neck, guided by 3D renderings of x-rays.

(This guy doesn’t mess around. In addition to his x-rays, he also uses infrared thermography, palpation of the spine, and postural checks to determine if his patients are in need of a specific upper cervical adjustment. And he does this on every visit, and finds that these procedures cut down on the need to introduce more force than necessary into the spine.)

My friend, let’s call him Dr. JB, told me about a patient of his who was recovering from some serious issues. This patient has a bulging disc in his neck resulting in some debilitating nerve pressure. He already has had a neck surgery and all the pre and post-surgical treatments that go along with it.

This patient was looking for an alternative, a second opinion, and found it Dr. JB, who told him that the mechanics of his neck needed to be improved, as did his self-healing ability.

With his neck being evaluated and adjusted by a specific chiropractor, this man’s health is now finally improving. He is on his way to restoration.

Good news, right? Not so if you’re his neurologist.

You see, when this gentleman reported to his neurologist of his new plan under specific chiropractic care—the neurologist responded by telling him that he should never see a chiropractor.

Is this called proper coordination of care?

No. This is called practicing chiropractic without a license. You see, had the neurologist said—“I am concerned about you getting a forceful adjustment in your neck, one that places your neck in extension and rotation”—he would be voicing his concern for his patient, but would still be practicing medicine.

And his patient could have easily told him, “Oh, well, Dr. JB doesn’t do anything like that…”

In order to determine if his patient could ultimately be helped by the various ways a chiropractor can adjust the spine—many of which do not involve much force, depth, or rotation–he would need to be a chiropractor first.

Instead, all this physician has done is confuse a patient who is wondering why he’s forbidden to do something that is actually helping him get well. Not very doctorly in my opinion.

Start manipulating after a weekend seminar, and tell your friends and clients you are doing adjustments.

There are hundreds of joints in the body, and most of them will move and pop with enough force placed into them. Such movement are called manipulations, and there a lot of folks, licensed and otherwise, who do manipulations.

In my own personal sphere of practitioners who I know, there is a Doctor of Chinese Medicine, an Osteopath, a black belt in Aikido, a physical therapist, a manual therapist, and a massage therapist, who all do some sort of manipulations of the joints of the body and the spine.

I don’t believe any of them, though, would call their manipulations specific chiropractic adjustments. For some of them it’s for an obvious reason, like the marital artist, who actually learned joint manipulation to disarm potential attackers—obviously not a tool for healing.

But for the others, their manipulations are manipulations and not adjustments because they are not moving vertebrae or joints to restore mental impulses, thereby freeing the body’s innate healing potential—the chiropractor’s true purpose in adjusting. Or put another way, they manipulate to treat a body tissue, not to improve the coordination of the body’s innate intelligence.

Manipulation may be a therapy, treatment, or healing modality for them, but the intention is different. And it’s the intention that makes all the difference for the where, why, and how a chiropractor gives an adjustment—and not just a manipulation.

Recently a massage therapist friend of mine did some excellent work manipulating the soft-tissue around my hip joints—helping me to stay loose and limber for my work as a chiropractor. But it wasn’t an adjustment. And he wouldn’t say that it was.

So, a weekend seminar that teaches any therapists or doctor how to manipulate the neck might be helpful for their patient’s pain relief. (Because I am a chiropractor I get junk mail for these weekend seminars all the time, so I know what they teach.)

But that therapist or doctor would be mistaken if he or she told you that they are now giving chiropractic adjustments. (Consider this: I spent 3 years learning to consistently take upper cervical x-rays, and return to get post-graduate hours to tune-up my technique on occasion.)

Saying you do adjustments when you are manipulating is practicing chiropractic without a license.

And if this seems confusing, the distinction is important. There are plenty of people who have been manipulated by capable osteopaths, manual therapists, and other licensed providers, who have found it beneficial. But there are also plenty of people who have been manipulated by capable osteopaths, manual therapists, and other licensed providers, who have not gotten well until a specific chiropractic adjustment was delivered by a chiropractor like my friend Dr. JB mentioned above.

To those patients, an adjustment is not the same thing as a manipulation. They know the difference.

Part two, coming soon.

Looking for a second opinion from a specific, upper cervical chiropractor? Feel free contact me via the author box below.

Written by Dr. Ward

Father. Foodie. And dedicated upper cervical chiropractor. Find me practicing gentle upper cervical care in Oakland County, Michigan. Have a question or comment? I'm at your service. Reach me at my Auburn Hills chiropractic practice: (248) 598-4002. Or on Google +, Facebook, or Twitter.

2 Responses to How to practice chiropractic without a license
  1. Richard Minogue
    October 31, 2013 | 3:44 pm

    It is sad that the medical community does not recognize the contribution a NUCCA Chiropractor can make to a person’s recovery from a spinal injury/ misalignment. I fell while skiing, and I hit the ground with force on my hands. This must have shifted one of the vertebrae, and I had significant pain and dumbness down both arms and into my hands. I spent months going to both an orthopedic and neurologist.All I ever got was medication– I cried in pain, but all they gave was pills. I asked if I should go to a Chiropractor, but it was always no. Four months of pain, and had I actually listened to my own instinct, a Chiropractor could have aligned my upper spine. If ever I get hurt like this again, I will go to a Chiropractor–NUCCA Specialist first. I will not waste months on pain and pills.

  2. Kyle Durieux
    October 31, 2013 | 6:55 pm

    What a straightforward and understandable approach to chiropractic licencing. As an Upper Cervical Chiropractor I constantly have to refer my clients to the medical doctor to seek out “the medical doctors” permission to reduce medical doses of pharmaceuticals. So why are other health professionals, without chiropractic licences, telling my clients to stop getting chiropractic? How interesting it is to have this new perspective. I can’t wait for part II!