A day in the life of a chiropractic practitioner

Jamie Frew
Jamie Frew
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Who is a chiropractor and what do they treat?

A chiropractor is a healthcare practitioner who is trained in treating disorders, illnesses, and damage to the musculoskeletal system. This includes muscles, joints, tendons, bones, ligaments, and nerves. Chiropractors use their knowledge and skills to help resolve issues for their patients, and to avoid unnecessary surgeries or operations. Fundamentally, chiropractic focuses on the body’s ability to heal itself, meaning that they don’t prescribe medication. Instead, they employ a wide variety of treatments, including relaxation, stimulation, and more broadly, exercise and dietary management. 

Often, although not always, chiropractors will work at healthcare practices that specifically relate to their field. Establishing a successful chiropractic business is an exciting venture that leads to professional connections, a healthy work environment, and most importantly, good clinical outcomes for patients. Within these practices, staff employ the use of a variety of features to ensure operations run smoothly, including smart chiropractic software, effective communication, and strong patient-practitioner relationships.

Hours of a chiropractor

Are you interested in becoming a chiropractor but want to know more about the realistic requirements before you commit? We understand and are here to help. One of the biggest barriers preventing individuals from pursuing a career in the healthcare field is related to work requirements. After all, we all know the importance of having a good work-life balance. So how many hours do chiropractors work? Unsurprisingly, the daily hours worked by chiropractors changes from clinic to clinic. Whilst some chiropractic businesses operate on a 9-5 schedule, many work extended hours to accommodate working patients. Typically, the busiest times are morning and night; as the majority of patients are workers. As such, even though chiropractors don’t have emergency appointments, they must have the ability to be flexible. This means checking work emails and messages, making phone calls, and occasionally managing billing and payments outside of office hours. 

A typical daily schedule of a chiropractor

Now we’ve covered how many hours a chiropractor works in a day, let’s take a look at what a typical schedule might look like. Before we dive into this, we want to quickly preface that this is a generalized guide, and your individual experience may differ. 

  • 6:30 - 7:00 AM - It’s wake-up time! Getting into a consistent routine is incredibly important for healthcare workers, and you will find that sticking to these often sets your day up to be productive. Chiropractors will use these early hours to do some exercise, have breakfast and spend a bit of time with family. 
  • 8:00 AM - Prepare for work: Even before you arrive at the clinic, there will be certain tasks to complete. Chiropractors should spend this hour checking their emails and replying to patients, before having a look at their schedule for the day. It is also necessary to allocate a certain amount of time to the commute to work. 
  • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM - The workday morning: After arriving at the practice, chiropractors will double-check their schedule for morning appointments and prepare for these. Typically, a chiropractor will see anywhere between 10-20 patients in a day, and each of these sessions requires specific treatments. In addition to routine appointments, chiropractors may have to treat new patients, check up on existing patients and complete their note-taking and documentation. 
  • 12:00 - 1:00 PM - Lunchtime: Having a break from work during the middle of the day is essential to productivity. The specific time slot for a chiropractor’s lunch break will differ depending on their appointments, but it is important to prioritize this.
  • 1:00 - 5:00 PM - The afternoon workday: Afternoons at a clinic will pass similarly to mornings, with patient appointments and various tasks. In addition to routine sessions, chiropractors should be continuously checking in with their colleagues, and assisting anywhere that help is required. 
  • 5:00 - 6:00 PM- Completing tasks: Many chiropractic clinics are open after hours to accommodate patients who work full time. However, if there aren’t many appointments booked during this time slot, chiropractors usually finish off their tasks for the day. This may include returning phone calls, writing chiropractic SOAP notes, and preparing for the next day. 
  • 6:00 - 7:00 PM - Home time: After a busy day, it’s time to go home. This is a period of time in which chiropractors typically complete personal tasks; going to the supermarket, making dinner, picking the kids up from wherever they might be, and going to the gym. 
  • 7:00 - 9:00 PM - Night-time routine: Having some wind-down time after dinner is essential to feeling fresh for the next day. Chiropractors will usually spend this time with their family, or complete some quick tasks (replying to emails, checking their upcoming schedule). Remember that whilst finishing the work that needs to be done is important, a work-life balance is necessary so you don’t burn out!
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Attending to new and existing patients

One of the biggest demands of working as a chiropractor is related to attending to both new and existing patients. Patient relationships are the backbone of business, and fostering a healthy and trusting environment will encourage loyalty and new clients. When a new patient first comes into your practice, you must develop a full understanding of their current symptoms and the reason why they are seeking treatment. This includes filling out an intake form, discussing insurance and payment options (see this guide to insurance for chiropractors), and conducting the first treatment session. 

Managing existing patients takes a slightly different format. Prior to an existing client coming into the clinic for an appointment, the chiropractor should review their clinical notes, make any adjustments, and plan for the session. It is also a good idea to check in with the patient and see if they have noticed any changes in their condition. Developing communication skills and fostering healthy relationships with patients can take a bit of time, but it is an essential aspect of working as a chiropractor.

Working on the business aspect of a chiropractic practice: Improving revenue

Improving the revenue in your chiropractic business is an overarching theme you should be aware of throughout your daily schedule. Whilst the strategies used to boost revenue often take time, there are definitely things you can focus on in your day-to-day life. Perhaps one of the best ways to go about this is centered around the marketing for your chiro business. The specific tactics you employ will depend on both your budget and the type of business you work at, but the importance of marketing should never be overlooked. If you work at an independent chiropractic practice, it is a fantastic idea to establish roots within your community and make yourself known to other local businesses. Amongst other strategies, this can be achieved by attending local meetings, using notice boards, and giving free health workshops to community primary schools and businesses. Figuring out the right marketing tactics for your clinic will take a bit of time, but don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit with unconventionality - you want people to remember you!

Take home message

Whilst the exact schedule involved in working as a chiropractor will undoubtedly differ for everyone, we believe this guide outlines a generalized experience. There are many different tasks associated with being a chiropractor that is additional to seeing and treating patients, and whilst these may be daunting, they shouldn’t deter you. Working as a chiropractor is an extremely rewarding job, and with the right attitude and work ethic, you can be a member of a community striving to improve health outcomes. Hopefully, our guide has shown you what exactly working as a chiropractor will entail, and you can begin planning the next steps of your professional life!

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