Chiropractic Physicians as Orthopedic Specialists

Posted On: February 7, 2012

Chiropractic Physicians as Orthopedic Specialists

I am Dr. David A. Johnson and I am licensed as both a chiropractic physician and a physical therapist in Illinois. I have been board certified as a chiropractic orthopedist for years and was actually elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Chiropractic Orthopedists. I have attended and taught multiple post-graduate courses in the areas of orthopedics and sports medicine.

I would like to speak to the importance of specialization in the field of chiropractic. Chiropractors, when they graduate, typically are well trained in what a chiropractor has to know to take care of his/her patients as a generalist. Though they have taken classes in radiology, physical diagnosis, nutrition and orthopedics they are not prepared to take care of all of the things that could walk through the door from an orthopedic stand point. The good news is that as a result of their training many of them understand that they don�t know everything and typically will refer out to specialists when they are in over their heads.

When I started practice over twenty years ago, medicine was not as chiropractic friendly. There were actually medical doctors who would refuse to take referrals from a chiropractic physician and others who would berate the patient for going to a chiropractor. I had to actually search out and find medical doctors who were open minded and would work with me on patients.

As a result, I felt compelled to learn to be independent from the medical profession and went to a lot of courses to further develop my skills. Sports medicine and orthopedics were a natural choice for me as a result of having played football, basketball, running track and wrestling in high school. I also wrestled another two years at Gustavus Adolphus College before I went to chiropractic school.

The certification of chiropractic sports physician was just getting started and I was pretty much on the ground floor of this movement. Then I found the orthopedics course at the National College of Chiropractic and I fell in love. The director of that program was Dr. Dennis Skogsberg a chiropractic physician who had practiced with a medical doctor, taking all of his x-rays and overseeing all of the orthopedic conditions in the practice. He basically taught me most of what I know in orthopedics. I learned how to cast fractures, which cases can be managed conservatively and which need to be referred out. I became a specialist and expanded the level of services I could deliver to my patients.

I have seen a lot over the years; there are very few orthopedic conditions that I haven�t treated and I have helped thousands of patients as a result of my training. It is my personal belief that all chiropractic physicians should specialize because it allows them to deliver more services to their patients and be better doctors.

With regard to the medical profession not being friendly to the chiropractic profession, I have seen a great changes over the years. I work with medical doctors and their patients on a daily basis. My practices get a lot of referrals from medical doctors and we in turn refer back to them when it is appropriate. It is very rarely that I hear disparaging remarks from someone in medicine. I would like to believe that my specialization and the resultant higher standards of care we have delivered at North Shore Spinal and Sports Rehabilitation might have helped with the high level of cooperation we see from the medical doctors on the North Shore. Whatever the reason, better training and more cooperation amongst the professions benefits the most important people of all, our patients.

To schedule an appointment, please call our Lake Forest, Lake Bluff office at 847.295.0920, or our Highland Park office at 847.432.4077. You may also use our online Request an Appointment form.

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