Chiropractors diagnose and treat patients, usually with manipulation, with health problems associated with the neuro-musculo-skeletal system. It is believed that interference with this system impairs the normal functions of the body and lowers its resistance to disease.

Chiropractors help clients to recover from disorders of the back or musculoskeletal system through the use of manipulation/supportive techniques, specialist equipment and physical exercise. They correct spinal problems/injuries by applying manual force and/or making adjustments with their hands or specialist equipment. Chiropractors often also take patients' general health, lifestyle, diet, exercise, hereditary factors and well-being into consideration when diagnosing and treating dysfunctions and imbalances of the nervous, skeletal and muscular systems, to provide more holistic treatments.

They examine the patient physically, sometimes using X-rays. Spinal analysis and neurological tests are essential components in the treatment of patients. 

Chiropractors treat patients primarily by manual manipulation or adjustment of parts of the body, especially the spinal column. Some use adjunctive therapies such as acupuncture and ultrasound and often they prescribe diets, supports, exercise and rest.

Typical tasks include undertaking patient consultations at home and within practices / clinics, gaining information from patients about previous medical history, making physical examinations, taking patients pulse, heart rate, blood pressure etc., organising for patients to have X-rays, diagnosing and treating disorders / ailments, assessing and planning treatment requirements, providing education and advice about lifestyle, exercise and movement, liaising with and making referrals to doctors/health care practitioners, keeping accurate confidential patient records, attending conferences and keeping up-to-date with developments in the profession.

This approach to healing is holistic, so chiropractors do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery. They will, if necessary, refer a patient to another medical practitioner.  All chiropractors need to be in good health, and fit, with excellent interpersonal and verbal / written communication skills.

Personal Requirements

  • keen observer in order to detect physical abnormalities
  • hand dexterity to perform manipulations
  • sympathetic to patients who are in pain
  • able to work independently
  • responsible
  • like to work with details
  • healthy and relatively strong

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Compulsory Subjects: MathematicsPhysical Science 
Recommended subjects: Life Sciences 

What to Study

Diploma: UJ, DUT

It takes 5 years to qualify as a chiropractor:

  • 3 years of traditional medical subjects with emphasis on diagnostic skills
  • 2 years of training to learn the clinical skills needed to manipulate or adjust the spine and other articulations.
During the fifth year of study, students have contact with patients and are required to complete specified training programmes, including a certain number of hours in a clinic.

Registration with the The Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA) is a legal requirement for this occupation. Consult the AHPCSA website for the most up-to-date information relating to accredited qualifications and registration requirements. .


  • universities of technology - research and lecturing
  • self-employment, in private practice

Further Information

Chiropractic Association of SA
Crossway Office Park 2
240 Lenchen Ave (cnr Jean)
Centurion, 0157
Tel: 086 188 7772

The Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA)
Castelli Suite
Il Villaggio
5 de Havilland Crescent South
Persequor Tecknopark
Tel: (012) 349-2331

Getting Started

  • ask a chiropractor if you can observe the work
  • speak to a chiropractor about this type of career

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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