Chiropractic Scope in Illinois

Person getting a massage

The Illinois Medical Practice Act (MPA) is one of many licensure acts within the State of Illinois. There are over 20 professional acts within the healthcare field alone (including massage therapists, dentists, physicians). The MPA is the primary law that governs the physicians in our state by defining our scope, requirements for licensure, and guidelines for discipline.  Illinois is unique in that chiropractic physicians are covered under the very same act that licenses medical doctors and doctors of osteopathic. This gives us an extra advantage when arguing for equality at the statehouse because in Illinois under the MPA DCs are statutorily defined as physicians: 

“Physician” means a person licensed under the Medical Practice Act to practice medicine in all of its branches or a chiropractic physician.


The MPA further defines chiropractic physicians (this is often referred to as our scope of practice): 

“Chiropractic physician” means a person licensed to treat human ailments without the use of drugs and without operative surgery. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit a chiropractic physician from providing advice regarding the use of non-prescription products or from administering atmospheric oxygen. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize a chiropractic physician to prescribe drugs.

The chiropractic category, as is clearly evident from the definitions section, limits D.C.’s only from the use of prescription drugs or operative surgery. The Act in no way defines or restricts the types of ailments or conditions which may or may not be treated by chiropractic physicians. Furthermore, it clarifies that chiropractic physicians are not prohibited from advising the use of non-prescription products (such as over-the-counter drugs) or atmospheric oxygen (oxygen concentrators, hyperbaric chambers).  Many times we are asked what our association’s stance is on the chiropractic scope of practice in Illinois. The ICS is proud of our inclusion within the Medical Practice Act along with other primary care physicians, as well as the overall breadth of the scope. The current definition for chiropractic physician was written by the ICS and passed into law in 2011. It is the stance of the Illinois Chiropractic Society that chiropractic physicians should have the freedom to practice as narrowly or broadly as their education, personal philosophy, and Illinois state law allows. The Illinois Chiropractic Society’s philosophy is “Natural First!” This phrase represents the concept that conservative care should be considered first when the option exists. Doctors of Chiropractic are very well trained to deliver this skill set and to interact with providers of other specialties and disciplines. “Natural First” also serves as a common ground for members with different philosophies and perspectives. While respectful of healthy differences, the common factors unifying the majority of chiropractic physicians are simply reflected in the cohesive “Natural First” banner. The ICS is open-armed, inclusive, welcoming, and fosters the collective family atmosphere found in each of the chiropractic practices it represents.

Links focusing on various aspects of the MPA:

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ICS Staff

The Illinois Chiropractic Society staff works collaboratively on many topics to bring the most comprehensive and relevant information to our members. We have over 60 years of chiropractic experience and understand the heartbeat of the profession. We all look forward to providing relevant information to our members for years to come.

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