- Chiropractic Resource Organization.     Support Chiropractic Research!

Daily Archives: March 31, 2013

For CAs: The Language of the Health-Care Professions

By |March 31, 2013|Chiropractic Care, Chiropractic Education, Education, Evidence-based Medicine|

For CAs: The Language of the Health-Care Professions

The Chiro.Org Blog

We would all like to thank Dr. Richard C. Schafer, DC, PhD, FICC for his lifetime commitment to the profession. In the future we will continue to add materials from RC’s copyrighted books for your use.

This is Chapter 4 from RC’s best-selling book:
“The Chiropractic Assistant”

These materials are provided as a service to our profession. There is no charge for individuals to copy and file these materials. However, they cannot be sold or used in any group or commercial venture without written permission from ACAPress.

Chapter 4: The Language of the Health-Care Professions

When more than one person is involved in any task, good communication is basic for success. Thus, a sound foundation in chiropractic terminology is an important functional skill to be possessed by any chiropractic assistant. It is a requisite to becoming an important asset to the office.

If a CA’s duties include taking dictation of case histories, examination findings, or narrative reports, she must know how to record scientific terms in shorthand and know how to spell them accurately. A good medical dictionary will be an important reference. Even if dictation is not required, she still must know what the doctor means when certain terms are used. He will expect his assistants to have a fundamental grasp of commonly used medical terms, abbreviations, and acronyms.

Do not enter this study lightly. On the other hand, do not let yourself be appalled by the formidable and specialized vocabulary used in health care. The learning of professional terms will not come overnight. It will extend the entire length of your career as new and unfamiliar words are confronted.


It would not be unusual if you found many words used in the first three chapters of this program strange or at least unknown. When you undertake the transposition from lay person to chiropractic assistant, you are faced with an entirely new language that must be mastered so the transition be successful. The most efficient method to accomplish this is by securing an understanding of basic word roots, prefixes, and suffixes used in the formation of technical words and gaining an understanding of the meaning of commonly used abbreviations and acronyms. Study and repetitive use is the way to mastery.

A fundamental knowledge of anatomy (structure) and physiology (function) will be of great assistance in learning terminology. A basic understanding of human anatomy and physiology is offered in the following chapter. This chapter will prepare you for the terminology of those and other clinical subjects. While professional terms may at first seem strange, you will see their purpose in this and following chapters.