Chiropractic is the “practice” of the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculo-skeletal system. Most patients who seek out chiropractors do so for management of their pain or for a specific inability or disability.

The practice of chiropractic is regulated on behalf of the Department of Health of South Africa ( by the Allied Health Professions Council ( with whom all practicing chiropractors must be registered. The majority of chiropractors in South Africa are members of the Chiropractic Association of South Africa, a voluntary association that provides services to chiropractors and the public.

The first chiropractors appeared in South Africa in the 1920’s. The first iteration of the Chiropractic Association of South Africa ( was formed in 1939. In 1971 the South African parliament promulgated a bill closing the chiropractic register in South Africa preventing any further growth of the profession. After a prolonged period of negotiation an Allied Health Professions Council was created in 1982 to provide statutory regulation of chiropractic. The chiropractic register was re-opened in 1985 allowing growth and the establishment of education facilities to train chiropractors locally.

Chiropractic students in South Africa complete a 6 year Master’s degree that includes a year of internship during which students treat patients under the supervision of qualified chiropractors. Degrees in Chiropractic are offered at the Durban University of Technology ( and at the University of Johannesburg ( In addition, all registered chiropractors are required to keep their knowledge up to date by completing approximately 20 hours of continuing professional development each year.

Chiropractors in South Africa are primary health care providers, meaning a person that provides a first contact for someone with an un-diagnosed condition and who provides ongoing care for that condition. The majority of medical aids in South Africa now make provision for chiropractic treatment within their schemes. The government also provides full coverage for chiropractic treatment under the Compensation for occupational injuries and diseases act.

Visiting a chiropractor in South Africa, you will experience a professional, scientific, evidence-based practitioner that provides manual, “hands-on” therapy in the form of manipulation, massage and/or stretch and often advice on rehabilitation and appropriate activity and/or exercise. Treatment is generally non-invasive and as such chiropractors are considered to be low risk in terms of complications arising from treatment. The treatment chiropractors provide has been shown to be both effective in term of patient recovery and cost effective when compared with alternative interventions. In South Africa the distribution and number of registered, practicing chiropractor means their services are readily available to large proportion of the population.