“Chiropractors, are they Doctors?”

A common question that we get in the clinic, especially from patients new to chiropractic is “Chiropractors, are they doctors?”

As chiropractors we may refer to ourselves as doctors or use the title ‘Doctor/Dr’, although we are different to medical doctors, such as GP’s.

What is a ‘Doctor?’

So are chiropractors doctors?

The answer to this really depends on what you mean by the word ‘Doctor’. When most people think of a Doctor they would generally think of their family Doctor/GP, surgeons and other specialists. Chiropractors definately aren’t this type of Doctor.

Although the word Doctor does have many definitions. It is also an academic title for those who have undergone postgraduate PhD studies, similar to calling someone a professor.

‘Can Chiropractors use the title of ‘Dr?’

‘Doctor’ is not a protected title (1). This means that chiropractors as well as osteopaths, pharmacists, optometrists, dentists, vets, podiatrists, chinese medicine practitioners and other specific registered health professionals are allowed to use the title ‘Dr’ as a courtesy title

Think of ‘Dr’ as a title. Although it is most commonly used by Medical Doctors, it can also be used by other health-care professionals who have undertaken specific studies in an area.

However, if a Chiropractor, Pharmacist or Optometrist advertises themselves using the title ‘Dr’, it is important that they make their profession clear and don’t try to portray themselves as a medical doctor or GP (2).

For example: ‘Dr John Smith (Chiropractor)’, or ‘Dr John Doe (Osteopath)’ are acceptable.

However if a pharmacist called themselves ‘Dr John Citizen’ on their website or signs without clarifying that they are pharmacist and not a medical doctor, this could be confusing to the public.

What is the Difference between Chiropractors and Medical Doctors?

Medical Doctors

  • Trained generally and specifically in diagnosing and treating diseases of all bodily systems
  • Generally don’t perform ‘hands on’ treatments or manual therapies
  • Can prescribe various medications and perform surgeries
  • Many different specialties, such as neurology, gastroenterology & oncology


  •  Trained to diagnose & treat conditions of the musculoskeletal system, including back pain, neck pain, headaches, sporting injuries and a variety of other issues.
  • Use ‘hands on’ treatments and manual therapies to treat pain & dysfunctions
  • Don’t prescribe medications or perform any surgical procedures
  • No ‘specialists’ or ‘specialties’ within the field

As trained primary health professionals Chiropractors are trained to recognize situations where referral to another practitioner such as the family doctor might be required as the most appropriate action.

This means we can be seen as a ‘first point of contact’ by patients, without them requiring a referral.

Our team is here to help!

We hope you found this blog informative and it helped to clear up some confusion regarding ‘Chiropractors are they Doctors?’ Our experienced team is here to help with all things Chiropractic related (no we don’t prescibe medications or perform surgeries, to our patients relief).

To get in touch with us to book an appointment for more information you can Book Online or call our clinic on (08) 6184 8835 today!

If we’re too far from you, you can always attend our sister clinics in Morley and South Perth.



1) Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009. (2019, July 1). Retrieved from Queensland Government Legislation website: https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/inforce/current/act-2009-045

2) Further information on advertising and the National Law. (2017, June 1). Retrieved from Australian Health Practitioner Registry Agent website: https://www.ahpra.gov.au/Publications/Advertising-resources/Further-information.aspx