Chiropractors evaluate and treat their patients. When seeing a patient for the first time, a chiropractor will take his or her medical history, perform a physical exam, and order any necessary tests, such as X-rays or an MRI. He or she will then develop a treatment plan, which most often will include physical adjustments or manipulations of the musculoskeletal system, but may also include massage, exercises, or other forms of physical therapy. Sometimes they run tests for vitamin and mineral deficiencies and will recommend supplements to correct any identified imbalances.
Initially, the physical manipulation treatments may need to be done quite frequently (perhaps a few times per week). As the body starts to heal, it will need fewer adjustments. Part of the chiropractor's job is to assess the patient's progress and adjust his or her treatment schedule accordingly.
Some chiropractors are more open to using or recommending other forms of medicine or therapies than others. There are basically two schools of thought in modern chiropractic care -"straight" chiropractic and "mixer." "Straight" chiropractors believe that all illness or disease in the body stems from subluxations in the spine. "Mixer" chiropractors, who are the majority of chiropractors practicing today, see that as just one part of the overall picture. Obviously, these are the chiropractors that are more likely to recommend other forms of treatment either as a supplement to or even instead of chiropractic care. Some chiropractors even work directly with massage therapists or sports medicine specialists.