According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, chiropractors held about 45,200 jobs in 2014, most of which were in either group or solo practices, with a few working in hospital settings.
Furthermore, approximately one in three chiropractors worked for themselves in 2014.1 The future looks even brighter for chiropractors, with an expected 17 percent rise in jobs between 2014 and 2024.2
While some DCs may thrive in a one-office group or solo practice, that is not necessarily the case for all chiropractors. Many DCs are now seeking out more challenging opportunities that allow them to practice at more than one office, serve as a fill-in for another DC on vacation, or simply just pick up stakes and either bring needed chiropractic care to underserved areas or travel as part of a sports team’s medical support.3-5
There’s no question that these opportunities may seem to offer you an alternative to a practice in a fixed location. However, there are certain precautions that come with not working in a set location, including keeping track of your most valuable assets while on the road – your chiropractic instruments.
Tag, you’re it!
Most of us remember having tags with our names sewn into our gym or summer-camp clothing so that it would be easy to find our shorts or t-shirts. The same principle applies to your chiropractic instruments, particularly if you are working in a busy environment with multiple other DCs around, such as volunteering during disaster relief or providing adjustments to participants in a sporting event.
Without some way to clearly mark your instruments, it is all too easy for another DC to mistake them for theirs. Marking both your instruments and their carrying case with the same color of bright vinyl tape will not only make them easier to identify, but will make sure all your tools get back into your case.
On the case
A sturdy carrying case may be the best investment you can make to protect your instruments if you will be traveling with them. A hard-shelled case (similar to those for laptop computers) with foam lining will help protect your instruments against liquid spills and the shock of being dropped (particularly by airline baggage handlers if you fly with your adjusting instruments).
A case that provides for a shoulder strap will help free up your hands, which is also particularly useful in airports. Obviously, a case that is lightweight will prevent you from needing a shoulder, wrist, or hand adjustment from lugging around excess weight.
Exposure to the elements
If you will primarily be working outdoors, such as for disaster relief or some sporting events, your instruments may be affected by prolonged exposure to the elements. For example, a humid environment may expose your instruments to microorganisms or salt deposits. A very dry, windy, sandy environment could deposit fine bits of sand or grit into the various gears and levers of your instruments, thereby reducing their effectiveness.
Storing your instruments inside individual airtight plastic bags when not in use will go a long way toward preventing their damage due to exposure to harsh elements. Only take one instrument at a time out of the bag when you are using it, then place it back in the bag and reseal everything when you are done.
While some DCs may prefer the stability of one fixed office setting, you may be looking for more unique ways to help patients by taking your services to them. Remember that your chiropractic instruments are part of your toolkit that you take with you. Taking good care of your tools while traveling will keep them in working condition for as long as possible.
- Chiropractors: Work environment. In: Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed 7/17/2016.
- Chiropractors: Job outlook. In: Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed 7/17/2016.
- Traveling Chiropractors International. Accessed 7/17/2016.
- Weis C. Chiropractors without borders! Canadian Chiropractor. Accessed 7/17/2016.
- Professional Football Chiropractic Society. Accessed 7/17/2016.