The ABCs of Chiropractic Specialties

When it comes to deciphering the letters following a doctor’s name, it can feel as though you’re trying to read a bowl of alphabet soup. At the same time, though, those abbreviations can tell you a lot about the doctor’s education and experience. While every Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) is trained to perform a range of standard manipulation and mobilization techniques, many have also chosen to become experts in treating particular types of conditions, working with specific patient populations or practicing in certain kinds of settings. Like medical doctors, DCs increasingly choose to specialize in order to provide a higher standard of care to their patients.

According to Robert E. Dubro, DC, DACBOH, DABCO, president of the American Board of Chiropractic Specialties, “After graduating from chiropractic college, you have the basic skill set to treat patients presenting with average, everyday complaints and injuries. In general, you do not yet have the expertise to treat highly chronic illnesses and injuries or specific, complex occupational, sports or traumatic injuries. Specialty training is an important path to that kind of expertise.”

Below, we’ve provided a short explanation of the American Chiropractic Association-accredited professional specializations you’re likely to encounter as you learn more about chiropractic care and investigate which options may be best for you and your family.

  • Chiropractic Diagnostic Imaging (DACBR) Specialist – Has additional training in interpreting diagnostic imaging results, such as x-rays, CT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds.
  • Chiropractic Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation (DACRB) Specialist – Has extensive postgraduate training in physiologic therapeutics and rehabilitation to better treat injuries that may have resulted from an accident or a sports injury.
  • Chiropractic Acupuncture (DABCA) Specialist – Treats a wide variety of health conditions that include all body systems and tissues and focuses special attention on the relationship between the spine, nervous system, and the meridian system.
  • Chiropractic Nutrition (DACBN/CBCN) Specialist – Is specially trained to use advanced nutritional strategies to prevent and treat disease and to educate patients.
  • Chiropractic Diagnosis and Management of Internal Disorders (DABCI) Specialist – Is trained as a holistic primary care physician specializing in modern medical diagnosis, functional medicine, and natural therapeutics.
  • Chiropractic Orthopedist (DACO/DABCO) Specialist – Has special knowledge of both the normal function and diseases of the bones, joints, capsules, discs, muscles, ligaments, tendons, their complete neurological components, referred organ systems and contiguous tissues, and is able to diagnose and treat the conditions related to them.
  • Chiropractic Clinical Neurologist (DACAN/DACNB) Specialist – Is specially trained in the clinical evaluation and treatment of conditions involving the central and peripheral nervous systems.
  • Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP/DACBSP) Specialist – Is trained in chiropractic sports medicine and exercise science in order to treat sports injuries, enhance athletic performance and promote physical fitness.
  • Chiropractic Pediatrician (DICCP) Specialist – Has received special training in pediatrics to meet the chiropractic healthcare needs of children.
  • Chiropractic Occupational Health (DACBOH) Specialist – A DC trained in health care diagnosis and treatment choices for workplace neuromusculoskeletal injuries who is able to provide a broad range of work-related injury and illness prevention services for employee populations.

In addition to these professional specializations, chiropractic physicians may also receive other types of certifications related to their use of certain techniques or technologies in the care of their patients.

If you’re wondering what type of chiropractic care might be right for you, we encourage you to call or visit our office today. We’re always happy to answer any questions and to explain our approach!  We’re here to help!

Pain between shoulder blades

Q:  I have had pain between my shoulders for the last month. It started after working in the garden for 3 straight days. The pain goes up into my neck and it hurts down into my arm. Now, it hurts whenever I have to use my arm a lot, as in vacuuming, cleaning house, and blow drying my hair. Sometimes, I feel a tingling sensation down the arm as well. What is it? And can you help me?

A:  Well, first I would have to examine you but it sounds like you have locked up your shoulder. It’s called a “scapulo-thoracic” restriction, but I refer to it as a “locked up” shoulder because it is easier to understand. Basically, the muscles around your shoulder and neck have become so tight that they have restricted or locked up the movement of your shoulder blade.  (Your shoulder blade assists in the upward movement of your arm.) When your shoulder does not move properly, the muscle on top of the shoulder blade has to do most of the work of lifting up your arm. Then, that muscle tightens up and fatigues and you can begin to feel pain as well as numbness/tingling down into your arm as well as into your neck. You can lock up your shoulder from doing a number of things: sleeping on it too long or in an awkward position, vacuuming, doing yard work, lifting weights, even using a computer mouse too much.  I cannot tell you the number of patients I see with this condition.  For treatment,  I perform trigger point therapy on the overly tight muscles to release them. Then, I adjust any vertebral fixations that are affecting the midback, neck, and arm. And lastly, I mobilize the shoulder blade so that it can begin to move properly using a high speed instrument. You cannot believe how much better you will feel with this kind of treatment. It works wonders!  Call 479-587-0227  for an appointment and go to  for more information.

What Qualifications Should a Massage Therapist Have?

When you have work done on your body, you want to have the best. A qualified massage therapist has the ability to significantly reduce pain and stress and increase your sense of wellbeing. But not everyone is expert at massage. There are many factors involved that should be considered when choosing a massage therapist, some of which we examine here.

First of all, you want to find a massage therapist who has been adequately trained in their field. Massage therapy is regulated in most states, and each state usually requires either a license or certificate in order for someone to practice. Most massage therapists have completed a course of postsecondary education that requires at least 500 hours of study and experience before becoming licensed or certified. There are currently over 350 accredited massage therapy programs in the US.

However, not everyone with a license or certificate makes a good massage therapist. The other factors you should take into consideration include the following:

Proper Attitude — This might also be called “bed-side manner.” A therapist who is condescending, impatient, impolite, arrogant or rushed will not make their client feel very good about the experience. The proper attitude will include a strong sense of empathy with the client.

Excellent Communication Skills — A massage therapist needs to be able to listen actively and to respond properly. They will check with you periodically to be sure they are not causing you undue pain, or if their touch is too hard or soft for your taste. A good therapist will adjust their treatment to suit your particular needs.

Broad Massage Knowledge — An expert massage therapist should be familiar with most, if not all, of the massage techniques available, even if they themselves specialize in only a few. Each technique has its own strengths and drawbacks. Not every technique is appropriate in every situation.

Advanced Knowledge of Human Anatomy and Physiology — Knowing how muscles connect and where each muscle extends helps the therapist figure out what is causing the pain a client might feel, if it is entirely muscular. A massage therapist who also understands chiropractic science will have a greater appreciation for how the body works and how to alleviate problems of discomfort and pain no matter what their source. In fact, many massage therapists work with chiropractors for the greatest possible health benefit.

Love of Their Work—A massage therapist should love what they do. If not, then the client will suffer. At best, the client may not get the results he or she is looking for. At worst, the massage could create more pain than the client had when they came in. When someone loves what they do, it comes across as an extra measure of confidence. That love will compel the therapist to learn all they can to provide the best possible experience for each client. That love will also translate into extra tender loving care for each client, making them feel pampered.

Massage therapy—sometimes referred to as “therapeutic massage”—provides a wide range of health benefits. If you’re interested in learning more about what massage therapy can do for you, we encourage you to call or visit our office!