General Chiropractic Questions
- What is chiropractic? Chiropractic is a healthcare profession that focuses on connecting the nervous system, the spine, soft tissue, and joints. Chiropractic adjustments restore joint function and support the nervous system to help patients maintain optimal health while avoiding unnecessary drugs or surgery. It is estimated that about 50 million Americans see a chiropractor each year.
- What is holistic chiropractic? In general, chiropractors can be considered holistic because they treat patients without using pain killers and other potentially addictive and harmful drugs. However, holistic can also refer to a gentler form of chiropractic adjustments and treatment options. A holistic chiropractor looks at the human body as a whole and considers a broader range of possible causes and treatments when thinking about their patient’s problems.
- Are chiropractors medical doctors? Chiropractors are not medical doctors. However, they complete about eight years of higher education in the medical field before they are licensed to treat disorders of the bones, nerves, muscles, and ligaments and graduate as doctors of chiropractic.
- Is chiropractic treatment safe? Chiropractic care is one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available when administered by a licensed doctor of chiropractic. Chiropractors are trained to evaluate patients who may have unique risk factors and will refer those people to the appropriate care provider.
- Is chiropractic treatment effective? Yes, research studies have reported high levels of satisfaction with this non-invasive, drug-free pain treatment option. For example, in this 2015 study, researchers found that a group of 544 people in chiropractic care reported a high level of satisfaction, 92 percent had improvements in pain, and 80 percent reported improvements in their ability to function.
- Can chiropractors prescribe medication? Chiropractors cannot prescribe medication. One of the goals and benefits of chiropractic care is that patients can often avoid pain killers and other drugs.
- What physical conditions and ailments can chiropractors treat?
- Neck pain and spasms,
- Back (lower back) pain and spasms,
- Hip pain and spasms,
- Shoulder pain and spasms,
- Herniated discs,
- Sports injuries,
- Tennis elbow/golfer’s elbow,
- Car accident injuries,
- Slip and fall injuries,
- Carpal tunnel, and
- Posture correction to name but a few.
- Is chiropractic care addictive? No, chiropractic care is not addictive, unlike some pain medications.
- How many adjustments will I need? How long will I need chiropractic care? Treatment time is dependent upon the particular issue and the body’s response to treatment. Due to the nature of chiropractic care being hands-on instead of a prescribed pill, you will likely require a certain number of visits. The doctor should be able to give you an idea of how long after an initial evaluation is performed.
- What is a chiropractic adjustment? A chiropractic adjustment, also referred to as spinal manipulation, is a procedure where a doctor of chiropractic applies a manual thrusting force with varying degrees of intensity to a spinal joint to relieve pain, improve spinal motion and improve overall physical function.
- How is a chiropractic adjustment performed? Chiropractors use their hands or small instruments to perform manual adjustments and other chiropractic treatments including the Graston Technique®.
- Do adjustments hurt? For most, chiropractic adjustments do not cause pain. New patients unfamiliar with what an adjustment is may involuntarily stiffen or resist the adjustment and feel a small amount of discomfort. This tension tends to ease with successive appointments, and the patient will relax during treatment.
- What is a subluxation? Subluxations are spinal vertebrae that are out of position in comparison to the other vertebrae.
- What should you not do after seeing a chiropractor? After an adjustment, you should not sit for long periods.
- What should you do after a chiropractic adjustment? In the short term, after an adjustment, it is recommended that you drink plenty of water, go for a brisk but not too strenuous walk, or get some light to moderate exercise. You should also rest, pay attention to your posture, and most importantly, follow your doctor’s individualized recommendations.
- Can I see a chiropractor if I am pregnant? Yes. Special tables and accessories are designed specifically to treat pregnant women. You should notify your chiropractor as soon as you learn you are pregnant.
- Can patients with arthritis receive chiropractic care? That depends on the type of arthritis and the type of chiropractic treatment. For some forms of arthritis, like osteoarthritis, that can cause pain in the spine, chiropractic care is typically a safe and effective treatment. However, for arthritic conditions caused by an inflammatory disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, a gentler form of chiropractic treatment may be considered a safe and effective option, but not always.
- Can a person with previous back surgery see a chiropractor? Yes, unless there are extenuating circumstances, and after receiving clearance from your surgeon and primary care physician, chiropractic treatment is an excellent post-surgery treatment option.
- Can chiropractic care prevent the need for surgery? Yes, it is possible. For many conditions, the non-invasive, drug-free services that chiropractors offer can help patients avoid surgery. Chiropractors are trained to identify when chiropractic treatment is not the correct option. If the chiropractic treatment is not found to be effective in a reasonable amount of time, given your specific circumstances, your chiropractor will refer you to the appropriate care provider.
- Why is there a popping sound when a joint is adjusted? Small pockets of air or bubbles cause the crack or popping sounds in the fluid surrounding your joints.
- Are all patients adjusted the same way? No, every spine is unique. Every care plan is individual. Every human has 26 moving bones in the spine that can each move in seven different directions — chiropractors are trained to evaluate patients for factors such as age, condition, and health goals. In addition, there are other chiropractic techniques to address specific patient needs.
- Can I learn to adjust myself? No, not even chiropractors adjust themselves. When you see a person cracking their neck or back, that is not a proper adjustment, and it can do more harm than good. People who crack their neck often report that they feel better after doing so, only because the popping releases endorphins. These endorphin-induced good feelings are short-lived, and no correction has been made to the cause of why the person was feeling the pain in the first place. Chiropractors are trained to identify the affected vertebrae and adjust them back into place, resulting in long-term pain relief.
- Is cracking my neck or back harmful? It can be. If specifically forced, you can cause yourself more harm than good. Generally, if the crack comes easily, it is not necessarily harmful, but it is not correcting the cause of the issue. It is just providing a temporary, short-lived endorphin release.
- What happens if chiropractic care doesn’t help? Occasionally, patients do not improve with chiropractic care or are not good candidates for chiropractic care in the first place based on preexisting conditions. When this happens, we refer them to other practitioners.
Insurance and Payment Questions
- Is chiropractic care expensive? No, it is not expensive. Insurance plans typically cover chiropractic treatments, so there is usually a co-pay. Chiropractic care is more affordable than surgical procedures. You may also find chiropractic care more affordable than the numerous medications and injections required by other treatment options.
- Do insurance plans cover chiropractic treatment? Yes, most insurance plans cover chiropractic treatments.
- Do I need a referral from my primary care physician? That varies by insurance plan, so it’s best to check with your insurance carrier if your plan has any referral requirements.
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