Can Chiropractors Prescribe Medicine?

Discussing Can Chiropractors Prescribe Medicine

Are you wondering if chiropractors can prescribe medicine? If so, you’re not alone.

Many people question whether or not chiropractors have the legal authority to prescribe medicine and other therapies.

In this article, we will dive into the world of drug-prescribing powers for chiropractic practitioners and see what kinds of treatments they are allowed to order, along with information about which physicians typically specialize in these types of orders.

Role of Chiropractors

Chiropractors, also known as doctors of chiropractic or chiropractic physicians, are healthcare professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders. They focus on the relationship between the body’s structure – mainly the curved spine – and its functioning. Chiropractors believe that proper alignment of the musculoskeletal system allows the body to heal itself without medication or surgery.

Chiropractic treatment usually involves manual adjustment or manipulation of the spine, joints, and soft tissues. This is done to improve mobility, alleviate trapezius pain, and promote natural healing. The goal of chiropractic care is to address not just immediate symptoms but also to prevent future health issues.

The Difference between a Chiropractor and a Medical Doctor

a Chiropractor and a Medical Doctor

Many different types of healthcare professionals offer services to help people improve their overall health and well-being. Two of the most common types are chiropractors and medical doctors. While both provide important services, there are distinct differences between these two professions.

Education and Training

One of the main differences between a chiropractor and a medical doctor is their education and training. When it comes to chiropractor education, they receive a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree after completing four years of undergraduate studies, followed by four years at an accredited chiropractic college. They also must pass rigorous national board exams in order to become a licensed chiropractor.

On the other hand, medical doctors attend four years of undergraduate studies followed by four years at a medical school, where they earn either a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. They then must complete a residency program in their chosen field and pass national board exams to become licensed.

Approach to Treatment

Another key difference between chiropractors and medical doctors is their approach to treatment. Chiropractors focus on the musculoskeletal system, particularly the spine, and believe that posture correction is crucial for overall health. They use manual manipulation techniques to adjust misalignments, known as subluxations, in order to alleviate pain and improve overall function.

On the other hand, medical doctors take a more holistic approach to healthcare. They are trained in a wide range of treatments and may utilize medications, surgery, or alternative therapies depending on the individual patient’s needs.

Conditions Treated

While both chiropractors and medical doctors can treat a wide range of conditions, they often have different areas of expertise. Chiropractors primarily focus on issues related to the spine and nervous system, such as back pain, shoulder impingement, headaches, and sciatica.

Medical doctors, on the other hand, are trained to diagnose and treat a wide variety of medical conditions. This may include chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease, infections, injuries, mental health disorders, and more.

Can Chiropractors Prescribe Medicine?

Chiropractic care is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, particularly those related to the spine. However, one common question that arises is whether chiropractors are able to prescribe medicine.

The short answer is no – chiropractors can not prescribe medicine. In fact, this aspect sets them apart from medical doctors (MDs) who are licensed to prescribe medications as part of their practice.

In some states, chiropractors do have limited prescriptive authority for certain medications, such as over-the-counter drugs or vitamins. However, they must first obtain additional training and certification in order to do so. This allows them to provide a more well-rounded approach to treatment, especially for patients with chronic pain.

Why can’t chiropractors prescribe medication?

This comes down to their training and education. While both MDs and doctors of chiropractic (DCs) are required to complete a four-year undergraduate degree, the areas of study differ greatly. MDs focus on traditional medical subjects such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and diagnosis and treatment of various diseases. On the other hand, DCs receive extensive training in spinal manipulation techniques, specifically chiropractic gonstead technique, but their education does not include pharmacology or prescribing medication.

Despite this limitation, chiropractors play an important role in healthcare and can work alongside physicians to provide comprehensive care for their patients. They often collaborate with other healthcare professionals to develop a holistic treatment plan that may include physical therapy, nutritional counseling, and lifestyle modifications.

What Types of Medicines Can Chiropractors Prescribe?

chiropractors can not prescribe medicine

Chiropractors don’t have an unrestricted license to prescribe medication; they can only prescribe certain medications, and those prescriptions are subject to state law.

So, if you’re interested in finding out what types of medications chiropractors can prescribe, we’ve got you covered.

1. Muscle Relaxants

Muscle relaxants are one category of medication that chiropractors can prescribe. They can be useful in treating various conditions such as sciatica, lateral pelvic tilt, and other musculoskeletal disorders.

Chiropractors use them as short-term pain management tools for specific conditions to help facilitate healing and reduce discomfort, while other treatments address the root cause of the discomfort.

Some muscle relaxants that chiropractors can prescribe include Valium, Soma, and Flexeril.

2. Analgesics (Pain Killers)

Analgesics are another class of medication that chiropractors can prescribe. They, too, can be used to ease short-term pain and can complement chiropractic adjustments.

Some commonly used painkillers include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin. Certain chiropractors may even be able to provide stronger painkillers such as codeine for short periods.

3. Anti-inflammatories

Anti-inflammatories are a third category of medication that chiropractors can prescribe. Anti-inflammatory drugs help to mitigate inflammation in the body, which in turn helps to reduce pain.

There are a number of anti-inflammatories over-the-counter medications that can be effective if you take them as directed.

However, more powerful anti-inflammatory drugs like Naproxen or Celebrex can be prescribed by a chiropractor who has the appropriate certification to do so.

4. Vitamins and Supplements

Certain vitamins and nutritional supplements are also available as prescriptions from chiropractors.

For example, Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids can aid in reducing inflammation in the body and improving joint function. These supplements are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, which is why they are helpful in reducing muscle stiffness and pain.

5. Creams and Gels

Another class of prescriptions that chiropractors can offer is topical creams or gels. These creams and gels can help alleviate hip flexor pain, joint pain, and stiffness when applied to the affected area.

A chiropractor will consider your condition, medical history, and current medication regimen before prescribing one of these categories.

The most common include heat rubs, capsaicin creams, and anti-inflammatory gels.

Benefits of Chiropractors Prescribing Medicine

While chiropractors are not trained as medical doctors and do not have the same scope of practice, there are ongoing debates and discussions about whether they should be allowed to prescribe medication in certain situations.

Here are some potential benefits of chiropractors prescribing medicine:

  1. Comprehensive Treatment: Chiropractors with prescription privileges offer holistic treatment plans, combining chiropractic care, physical therapy, and medication for enhanced pain relief and healing.
  2. Holistic Approach: Chiropractors consider patients’ overall well-being, including lifestyle and nutrition, tailoring treatment plans that may include medications alongside non-medical techniques.
  3. Faster Pain Relief: Incorporating medication provides more rapid pain relief, complementing chiropractic adjustments for immediate relief.
  4. Non-invasive: Both chiropractic care and prescribed medications are non-invasive, avoiding the need for surgery and reducing potential risks.
  5. Cost-effective: Chiropractors prescribing medication save patients time and lower overall treatment costs by eliminating separate pharmacy visits.
  6. Better Coordination: Chiropractors with prescription authority can collaborate with other healthcare providers for a more cohesive treatment plan.
  7. Improved Patient Satisfaction: Patients appreciate comprehensive care from chiropractors with prescribing privileges, resulting in higher satisfaction levels.


1. Can a chiropractor give you a prescription?

No, chiropractors are not licensed to prescribe medication. Chiropractic care primarily focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, typically through manual adjustments, spinal manipulations, and other non-invasive techniques.

2. Can a chiropractor give muscle relaxers?

Chiropractors do not have the authority to prescribe medication, including muscle relaxers. Chiropractic care typically emphasizes non-pharmacological approaches to manage musculoskeletal issues, such as adjustments, physical therapy, and lifestyle recommendations.

3. Can chiropractors prescribe antibiotics?

No, chiropractors do not have the legal authority to prescribe antibiotics or any other prescription medications. Chiropractors focus on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions through manual techniques and spinal adjustments.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, when it comes to the question of whether or not Chiropractors can prescribe medicine, the answer varies. While they may be able to do so in certain states, their primary focus is on providing manual treatments and educating patients on how to improve their health through diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes. As such, they typically do not handle medications or perform any tests that would require intense medical training or any major surgeries.

All in all, chiropractic care is an effective form of treatment that has been used for decades and will continue to grow and evolve. From improving the functionality of your body’s nerves to reducing inflammation in joints and muscle pains, a visit to a chiropractor can provide you with much-needed relief from whatever symptoms of discomfort you may be experiencing.

If you’re looking for more information about the amazing natural healing abilities of chiropractic care or chiropractor costs, be sure to read our other blogs on this topic!

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