Has anyone ever said to you that chiropractors are not “real doctors?” Over the years, I have heard this on several occasions, and it made me wonder who is a “real doctor?” After discussing this with many people, the answer has typically been that a “real doctor” and a “medical doctor” are sometimes used interchangeably. Does that make others who call themselves doctors “fake doctors?” Why does this seem to be the case, and is that a true representation of reality?
Is A Doctor By Any Other Name Still a Doctor?
We need to understand what the term doctor actually means. If you hold a degree that entitles you to use the prefix doctor, then you have graduated with the highest formal education in that particular field, passed multiple examinations, and earned the right to use the title doctor. There are doctorates in many disciplines; philosophy, education, economics, etc. All of these degrees are “real doctors,” but the term “real doctor” gets confused when it comes to healthcare.
“Medical doctors focus on disease and what makes the body sick. Chiropractic doctors focus on health and what makes the body well.”
Even in healthcare, the use of the prefix, ‘doctor’ is used to denote that you have graduated with the highest formal education possible in your field, passed numerous board examinations, and hold a license from the State in which you practice. A dentist is a doctor, a medical doctor is a doctor, and a chiropractor is a doctor. They all focus on different areas, but they are all doctors who have graduated, been thoroughly examined, and licensed by the State. We are all “real doctors.” At the same time, we are all different. Dentists focus on the teeth; chiropractors focus on the spine and nervous system. Medical doctors either focus on diseases of the body or get even more training to become specialists in a certain part of the body.
A Doctor by Default
Since medical doctors have been the most prevalent healthcare providers in our society, many default to using the term “real doctor” when speaking about them, but that is not accurate. Chiropractors are “real doctors” and pass multiple National Board Examinations and licensed to practice chiropractic in every State and many countries around the world. Chiropractors have helped millions upon millions of people regain their health and quality of life.