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How Do Chiropractors Differ From Medical Doctors?

If you’re interested in health and wellness, a good place to begin is by talking about it with a doctor of chiropractic.

You may ask, “What can a doctor of chiropractic offer that is different from a medical doctor?” The answer lies in the way the two professions approach wellness. To achieve “wellness” in traditional terms, a medical doctor will simply screen you for diseases, explains Dr. Bautch. “You might be examined or have lab tests.”

A doctor of chiropractic (DC), on the other hand, will screen you for diseases, but he or she also will talk to you about your lifestyle and behaviors that may put you at risk for injury or infirmity. It’s important to note that chiropractic’s approach is drug-free; instead of writing a prescription, a DC offers spinal adjustments, rehabilitative exercises, nutritional counseling and lifestyle modifications to move patients toward optimum function and wellness.

Typically, when a new patient visits a Chiropractor, one of the first things the doctor will assess is functional capacity. The DC will focus on decreasing pain and returning the patient to normal daily activities, including exercise. In the intermediate stage, a chiropractor will continue therapeutic care, but also begin to address factors that may have led to the patient’s pain by recommending lifestyle modifications. An example of intermediate care might include managing the patient’s obesity with counseling on diet and exercise. In the final stage of wellness care, a DC will help the patient take responsibility for his or her own health through patient education, enabling the person to independently maintain and even advance the level of wellness achieved.

Adjust your attitude

“The first thing I work on with a patient who is interested in living well is life skills in terms of thinking and dealing with life’s ups and downs,” says Dr. Scott Bautch, a doctor of chiropractic from Wausau, Wis. “Research shows that coping skills and the ways that people deal with stress can be huge factors in whether or not someone is well.” 

You can boost your attitude in a variety of ways: enjoying nature, looking for humor in life’s mishaps, listening to relaxing music and creating a support system of people who you can turn to in times of trouble or stress. 

Start moving

Next, Dr. Bautch works with patients to increase their daily movements. “Americans today take significantly fewer steps than previous generations, and they spend a great deal more time in sedentary positions,” he says. “Adding more motion to your life can be a huge step toward living well.”

Simply taking a 30 minute walk each day is a great way to recoup the steps that are missing from your day. Experts generally agree that to be considered “active,” adults should take about 10,000 steps each day. Wearing a pedometer (or a FitBit!) is an easy way to track your progress.

Food for fuel

Once the first two components of wellness are addressed, Dr. Bautch will address a patient’s diet. It’s surprising for some to learn that making even a few simple changes, such as eating more raw or organically grown foods, drinking more water and consuming 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day, can positively impact your health and help prevent a variety of adverse health issues in the future.

To find out more about Good Life Chiropractic's Wellness Program, please call us at (704) 847-8308 or email We look forward to serving you and your family.