A Day in the Life of a Chiropractor: A Firsthand Look at a Rewarding Profession
Chiropractors help improve people’s health and well-being. More specifically, they’re helping to meet the growing demand for noninvasive healthcare options. If you’ve ever wondered what a day in the life of a chiropractor is like, we provide a firsthand look below—plus share helpful insights for those interested in the profession.
We’ll do that with the help of Martin Caron, D.C., a practicing chiropractor with 30 years of experience.
A brief background on Martin Caron, D.C.
Dr. Caron, or “Dr. Marty” as he prefers, is a former Minnesota Chiropractor of the Year. He’s also an alumnus of Northwestern Health Sciences University’s Doctor of Chiropractic program. In 1992 he founded Caron Chiropractic with his brother Matthew R. Caron, D.C. (also a graduate of NWHSU).
Today, the clinic includes five additional chiropractors and a chiropractic assistant, as well as several massage therapists.
Dr. Marty works with patients of all ages but over the years has come to specialize in the treatment of children as well as endurance athletes like runners, cyclists, and triathletes.
Okay, let’s dive into a day in the life of chiropractor Dr. Marty.
Setting the stage for a successful day
Getting physical activity in. Although it’s not always possible, especially in the depths of a Minnesota winter, Dr. Caron makes it a point to bike to work, just one among many ways he tries to stay active and healthy.
“I try to exercise and stay physically active as much as I can. I also try to eat right. By leading a healthy lifestyle myself,” says Dr. Caron, “I feel much more confident and comfortable when making recommendations to my patients on how to live healthier.”
Creating a positive attitude. Dr. Caron also makes a conscious effort each day to establish a healthy mindset, one that will help him be the best he can be for his patients. And if he feels like he doesn’t have a good attitude when he starts out his work day, “I actively try to change it,” he says.
“Sometimes that’s as simple as deciding I’m just going to be extra pleasant to people, even if at first I’m not actually feeling that,” says Dr. Caron. “That works for me nearly 100% of the time.”
Focusing on what’s important. To help him start the day out strong—and stay energized over the course of an eight-hour day—Dr. Caron focuses on what he’s actually trying to accomplish each day.
“As a chiropractor, you’re going to see a lot of patients each day and deal with all kinds of personalities. This has the potential to suck your energy,” he says. “But if you can focus on what each patient’s needs are and how you can help them, you’ll feel better yourself and be a better chiropractor.”
Attending to the patients for the day
Dr. Marty typically works three and a half clinical days a week, seeing between 25 to 30 patients during a full day. Those patients are a mix between new patients and existing patients.
Understanding the patient’s conditions. When patients first schedule an appointment, they need to fill out an intake form online. Dr. Caron will download the info into his notes and review the information before the first appointment.
He’ll then be ready to go into the appointment to conduct a personal history face to face, asking them what health problems they’ve had in the past, learning about their lifestyle, and inquiring about what brings them to the clinic.
Next, he conducts an initial examination and explains his findings. The personal history and examination usually take around 10 to 15 minutes. It’s at this time that Dr. Marty determines the need for additional special testing such as x-ray or MRI.
Laying out a treatment plan. Based on the examination, Dr. Caron formulates a suggested treatment plan.
He’ll then explain what he’ll be doing over the next four to 12 weeks, with the length of time varying depending on the specific patient’s condition. “I’ll also suggest how frequently they should come in and explain what our goals are for their improvement.”
Conducting an initial treatment. An adjustment is also part of the first visit. “It usually takes a little longer to adjust new patients because I don’t know their bodies as well as someone who I’ve seen multiple times,” he says.
The total time for a typical first patient visit is about 45 minutes.
Planning for pre-adjustment steps. Dr. Caron’s routine for existing patients is different in several ways from new patients. For example, he may have an existing patient first undergo pre-adjustment therapies involving heat or electrical stimulation with the chiropractic assistant.
Or, if he thinks massage therapy would be beneficial, he will have one of the clinic’s massage therapists work with the patient first.
Adjusting the spine. When it’s time for Dr. Caron to see an existing patient, he’ll be prepared from reviewing the patient notes.
“I’ll check in with how they’ve been feeling, and then I’ll usually get right to adjusting the spine,” he says. He typically uses the diversified technique, which involves a variety of manual and instrument-assisted manipulation. A full spinal adjustment for Dr. Caron takes around three to five minutes from the time a patient gets on the table to when they get off.
“Once you become experienced in locating the areas that need adjusting and become familiar with a patient, it really doesn’t take that long.”
Instructing on exercises. Dr. Caron may also instruct existing patients on specific exercises to do at home to help improve a condition. “But very often, I’ll have a chiropractic intern go over the exercises, presuming I’ve trained the intern on those exercises.”
In fact, interns have long played a big part in his daily practice.
Working with interns. For the last 25 years, Dr. Caron’s clinic has worked with chiropractic interns from NWHSU.
Each day, he and his intern will go over the list of patients they have, discussing what he wants them to work on with each one.
Dr. Caron helps interns administer chiropractic techniques effectively. But he also advises them on how to prepare for a successful career.
“I tell my interns to do all they can to learn about how chiropractic practices are run well before they graduate,” he says. “You can always just go and shadow a chiropractor and ask questions. I think that’s so valuable.”
Why Dr. Caron’s chiropractic career has been so satisfying
What does Dr. Caron think today as he looks back on 30 years? “I would not change a thing. I’m just really fulfilled by doing what I do,” he says. He points to reasons like these:
Being his own boss. The chiropractic profession offers a high degree of autonomy, especially compared to other healthcare professions. Establishing your own practice is a viable and highly popular option for chiropractic graduates. And Dr. Caron was no exception.
“I have to say a big part of my career satisfaction has been being my own boss. It’s one of the reasons I entered the profession in the first place. It just felt like a better fit for me and my future. And I was right.”
A career that keeps him interested. Once in a while, says Dr. Caron, a patient will ask if he gets tired of doing “the same thing” every day.
“I suppose it could look that way from the outside,” he says, “but it’s actually the opposite. Each day, patients come in with such a variety of problems. There’s always an element of ‘Okay, let’s figure this out.’ And that keeps me interested. I’m certainly never bored.”
An “ideal job” when it comes to physical movement. Some people have a perception that being a chiropractor is extremely physically demanding, says Dr. Caron. But his three decades of practice indicate otherwise.
“I actually think it’s an ideal job in respect to the physical demands,” he says. “You’re not just standing in one spot all day. You’re moving around as you examine and adjust patients. And then you’re also sitting at various points to take notes and do paperwork. At the end of the day, I rarely feel physically fatigued.”
In fact, Dr. Marty points out that many of his patients have back problems related to their desk jobs.
Your next step: Reach out for more information
If you’re exploring the possibility of a chiropractic career, this is an exciting time. You’ve just gotten a glimpse of one successful chiropractor’s day—and learned why it’s been such a satisfying career choice for him. Could it be right for you?
Take the next step. Reach out to NWHSU for personalized support on your path to being a chiropractor.