Chiropractic FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Chiropractic

We receive many questions about chiropractic. The following information is provided to help answer some of the most commonly asked Chiropractic questions. Please keep in mind that this information is for informational purposes only.  Do not attempt self-diagnosis or self-treatment based on this information alone.

If you are interested in following up on the information presented below (or elsewhere in our website) schedule a Consultation to determine if chiropractic is an option for you or your condition.

What is chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.

Doctors of Chiropractic – often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians – practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.

The most common therapeutic procedure performed by doctors of chiropractic is known as “spinal manipulation,” also called “chiropractic adjustment.” The purpose of manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile – or restricted in their movement – as a result of a tissue injury. Tissue injury can be caused by a single traumatic event, such as improper lifting of a heavy object, or through repetitive stresses, such as sitting in an awkward position with poor spinal posture for an extended period of time. In either case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain, and diminished function for the sufferer. Manipulation, or adjustment of the affected joint and tissues, restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, and allowing tissues to heal.

Chiropractic adjustment rarely causes discomfort. However, patients may sometimes experience mild soreness or aching following treatment (as with some forms of exercise) that usually resolves within 12 to 48 hours.

In many cases, such as lower back pain, chiropractic care may be the primary method of treatment. When other medical conditions exist, chiropractic care may complement or support medical treatment by relieving the musculoskeletal aspects associated with the condition.

Doctors of chiropractic may assess patients through clinical examination, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging and other diagnostic interventions to determine when chiropractic treatment is appropriate or when it is not appropriate. Chiropractors will readily refer patients to the appropriate health care provider when chiropractic care is not suitable for the patient’s condition, or the condition warrants co-management in conjunction with other members of the health care team.

What is a chiropractic adjustment?

The chiropractic adjustment is a gentle, quick thrust to a particular joint, typically in the spine, intended to restore normal position and movement. Adjustments are important for releasing adhesions in the joint and reducing stress on the nervous system. Because of the fact that the nervous system is that master controller of all muscles and organs in the body, removing stress on the nervous sytem through chiropractic adjustments will frequently lead to improved health in the entire body. How many adjustments will I need? The total number of djustments you need depends on fibe main factors: 1) your age, 2) your overall health, 3) the severity of your condition, 4) how long you have hand your condition and 5) what your ultimate goals are. If you are young, in good health, and have a mild condition that occurred very recently, you will need far fewer adjustments than if you are older, in poor general health, and have been struggling with a problem for many years. The total number of adjustments you will need also depends on whether you are just interested in reducing the pain you are currently experiencing, or are interest in creating optimal long-term health.

How many adjustments will I need?

The total number of adjustments you need depends on five main factors: 1) your age, 2) your overall health, 3) the severity of your condition, 4) how long you have hand your condition and 5) what your ultimate goals are.

If you are young, in good health, and have a mild condition that occurred very recently, you will need far fewer adjustments than if you are older, in poor general health, and have been struggling with a problem for many years. The total number of adjustments you will need also depends on whether you are just interested in reducing the pain you are currently experiencing, or are interest in creating optimal long-term health.

Will adjustments hurt?

Usually not. There have been some patients who have experienced mild soreness after being adjusted, but this is more the exception than the rule. Most people feel better very quickly after being adjusted.

Have side effects or problems been reported from using chiropractic to treat back pain?

Patients may or may not experience side effects from chiropractic treatment. Effects may include temporary discomfort in parts of the body that were treated, headache, or tiredness. These effects tend to be minor and resolve within 1 to 2 days.

Do I still need to see the chiropractor if my pain is gone?

t is very common for pain to disappear long before the total correction of your condition is attained. As in our discussion earlier in this chapter, pain is not a very good indicator of health. Often times people are completely unaware of problems that are developing in them because there is no pain associated with them. Consider heart disease, cancer, diabetes – the three top killers – don‘t have any symptoms at all until they have become very advanced. The same is true with cavities in your teeth – there is usually no pain until a cavity becomes severe. The point is that just because you are no longer experiencing pain does not mean that your problem no longer exists. It is important to continue being treated so that the underlying cause of the pain can be corrected.

Routine chiropractic care is one of the simplest ways to maintain the health of your body. Numerous research studies have shown that people who receive regular chiropractic care suffer fewer illnesses, injuries and degenerative diseases, and they report a better overall quality of life. In spite of the health benefits of chiropractic care, many people have never been to a chiropractor, most often because they don‘t really understand what chiropractic care is all about. The bottom line is that chiropractic care is a safe, effective treatment for a wide range of physical complaints, such as headaches, neck pain, low back pain, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, stomach and gastrointestinal complaints, wrist, elbow and shoulder pain, knee, hip and ankle pain, scoliosis, otitis media, and a host of other problems. While most of these disorders resolve within a few weeks or months, routine chiropractic care will help ensure optimal health for life.

Can Chiropractors prescribe medication?

Currently, chiropractors do not prescribe medications, although you may be referred to another provider for prescription medication if deemed necessary. However, in most cases, patients are better off with physical, rather than chemical, treatments for physical problems.

Is chiropractic treatment appropriate for children?

Yes, children can benefit from chiropractic care. Children are very physically active and experience many types of falls and blows from activities of daily living as well as from participating in sports. Injuries such as these may cause many symptoms including back and neck pain, stiffness, soreness or discomfort. Chiropractic care is always adapted to the individual patient. It is a highly skilled treatment, and in the case of children, very gentle.

Why is there a popping sound when a joint is adjusted?

Adjustment of a joint may result in release of a gas bubble between the joints that makes a popping sound – it’s exactly the same as when you "crack" your knuckles. The noise is caused by the change of pressure within the joint that results in gas bubbles being released. There is no pain involved.

Do insurance plans cover chiropractic?

The majority of all insured American workers have coverage for chiropractic services in their health care plans. For example, the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management offers chiropractic coverage for federal employees in both the Mail Handlers and BCBS benefit plans. In addition, there is a chiropractic benefit in Federal Workers’ Compensation, and chiropractic care is available to members of the armed forces at more than 40 military bases, and is available at nearly 30 veterans’ medical facilities.

To obtain information on chiropractic coverage by your insurance company, call our office anytime.

Does chiropractic treatment require a referral from an MD?

No, a patient does not need referral by an MD before visiting a doctor of chiropractic. Chiropractors are first contact physicians, and are so defined in federal and state regulations. Following a consultation and examination, the doctor of chiropractic will arrive at a diagnosis under chiropractic care, or refer the patient to the appropriate health care provider.

Is chiropractic care safe during pregnancy?

Yes. It is gentle and safe. In fact, because of hormones produced during pregnancy which relax the ligaments, much less force is needed when performing the adjustment.

Chiropractic care can help you and your baby achieve a healthier pregnancy and delivery. In fact, research shows that women who received chiropractic adjustments in their third trimester of pregnancy were able to carry and deliver children with more comfort. The best time to be checked for subluxations is before you would like to become pregnant. This will ensure proper pelvic and spinal alignment. If you are already pregnant, chiropractic adjustments can be given throughout your pregnancy and directly after your labor and delivery.

Is it true that once you go to the chiropractor, you have to go for the rest of your life?

No! Your health is your responsibility. As doctors, our responsibility is to teach and to educate you about health and chiropractic so that you can make the right choice for yourself. The choice to go to a chiropractor short-term or for a long time is your choice.

When making this choice,you should understand that chiropractic offers three types of care:

Acute or relief care - the objective of this type of care is simply to relieve your symptoms. Depending on the severity of your condition, this may take just a few visits or it may take several visits over weeks or even months.

Corrective or stabilization care - the objective of this type of care is to stabilize the spine and nervous system by correcting the vertebral subluxation complex. This type of care seeks to optimize the structure and function of the spine in order to minimize interference to the nervous system (i.e. spinal cord and spinal nerves). This type of care may take months or even years depending on the condition of the spine and nervous system.

Maintenance or wellness care - the objective of this type of care is to maintain the correction achieved during corrective care. Once you have regained your health, doesn't it make sense to insure it in the future?

Regardless of which type of care is right for you, we will support you in that decision.

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