As a DC, you can specialize in many different areas of health, wellness, and treatment.
For instance, one of the more common specializations is sports chiropractic, an area which involves working primarily with athletes who wish to improve performance, avoid injury, and/or heal from a game or training-related issue. This is a big one as the American Chiropractic Association indicates that more and more people are engaging in sports at the high school and college level, and a greater number of pro athletes are also searching for ways to find and gain that “competitive edge.”
However, chiropractic professionals can also choose to specialize by working with other populations, such as children, the elderly, or individuals with very specific musculoskeletal issues. Specialization could also be designated by offering particular types of treatment, like the diversified technique or Graston technique.
If your goal is to specialize in your practice, one option to consider is that of chiropractic neurologist. What does a chiropractic neurologist do and what type of training does this entail? Let’s answer both of those questions now.
What is a chiropractic neurologist?
As the name implies, a chiropractic neurologist is a chiropractor who specializes in working with patients who have some type of neurological issue. The Chiropractic Neurology Center (CNC) explains that this includes individuals with issues related to:
- Radiculopathy, or a pinched nerve in the spine
- Movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, or Tourette syndrome
- Dystonia, which is abnormal muscle tone that results in muscle spasms and abnormal posture
- Rehabilitation after a stroke or head injury
- Vertigo or chronic pain
- Nerve entrapment syndromes
Though other medical professionals who specialize in neurology also treat these same types of conditions, the major difference between them and a chiropractic professional is that the chiropractic neurologist engages in treatment without the use of drugs or surgical intervention. Or, as the CNC says, “A Chiropractic Neurologist is trained to use safe, natural, non-invasive health therapies.”
This provides a treatment avenue for patients who prefer natural methods of care over remedies that involve taking prescription medications or undergoing surgery to correct the neurological issue. If this area of health and wellness interests you, the next step is deciding whether this particular specialization is the right decision for you.
Factors to consider when deciding whether to specialize in chiropractic neurology
One of the first considerations to make is whether you are willing to go back to school. This is necessary as the CNC states that becoming a board-certified chiropractic neurologist requires three years of classwork and residency or clinically-based trainings beyond the four-year DC course requirements.
Then, once the classes and residency are completed, you must undergo a rigorous board examination to test your knowledge and application of the information you’ve learned. The exam consists of an 8-hour written exam that is conducted in two 4-hour blocks and a 90-minute practical exam.
This certification exam is only held once per year and is conducted by the American Chiropractic Neurology Board. For instance, 2018 exams will be held between November 2nd and the 4th in Houston, Texas. They also offer exams in the Netherlands and Australia. Regardless of which one you choose, this means travel expenses if you don’t live in any of these immediate areas.
Additionally, as a chiropractic neurologist, recertifying is required on an annual basis. This involves paying the recertification fee, earning a minimum of 30 continuing education credit hours, and the submission of a bibliography of at least two dozen neurology-related journal articles from peer reviewed publications.
Certainly, this type of training and annual recertification schedule and requirements can be a turn off to many, but, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to undergo these guidelines as well as the additional schooling, this can also set you apart as the CNC reveals that there are only a few hundred actively practicing chiropractic neurologists in the United States today. This places you in higher demand by the patients most likely to benefit from your services.
Another factor to consider is where you would need to work to use your neurology-based skills often enough to earn a decent living. For instance, if your practice is in a small town that is far away from a major city, you may find it difficult to find enough clients to create the amount of revenue you’d like. Therefore, you may have to work in a bigger city or be associated with some type of major neurological center to make earning this specialization worth your time and effort.
In the end, becoming a neurological chiropractor is a big undertaking that isn’t right for everyone, but it is also one that can pay off tremendously if your goal is to combine two areas of health that you really enjoy: chiropractic and neurology. In that case, it may be right for you.