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Frequently Asked Questions
What Conditions do Chiropractors Treat?
Chiropractic focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Our team treats neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.
Does Chiropractic Require a Referral from a Medical Doctor?
No, a patient does not need a referral by an M.D. before visiting our office. Chiropractors are first contact physicians according to federal and state regulations. This simply means that you can come straight to us if you are suffering from an injury. Following a consultation and examination, the doctor of chiropractic, commonly referred to as a D.C., will arrive at a diagnosis through chiropractic care, or refer the patient to another health care provider if necessary. In rare cases, your health insurance may require a referral, and our medical team can assist in getting that referral for you.
Is Chiropractic Treatment Safe?
Yes! Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal complaints. Although chiropractic has an excellent safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects. The risks associated with chiropractic, however, are very small. Many patients feel immediate relief following chiropractic treatment, but some may experience mild soreness or aching, just as they do after some forms of exercise. However, current literature shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours, so soreness or aching is nothing to worry too much about.
Neck pain and some types of headaches are treated through precise cervical manipulation. Cervical manipulation, often called a neck adjustment, works to improve joint mobility in the neck, restoring range of motion and reducing muscle spasm, which helps relieve pressure and tension.
While it sounds scary, neck manipulation is a remarkably safe procedure. While some reports have associated upper high-velocity neck manipulation with a certain kind of stroke, or vertebral artery dissection, there is not yet a clear understanding of the connection, and it is scarce. It only happens 1 in 5.85 million manipulations— based on the clinical reports and scientific studies to date. If you are visiting your doctor of chiropractic with upper-neck pain or headache, make sure to be very specific about your symptoms. This clarity will help your doctor of chiropractic offer the safest and most effective treatment, even if it involves referral to another health care provider.
In a study published in Spine Journal in 2008, the authors concluded there was “no evidence of excessive risk of Vertebrobasilar Artery (VBA) stroke associated with chiropractic care compared to primary care (a visit to your family doctor).”
Patients should understand that the risks associated with some of the most common treatments for musculoskeletal pain, prescription and over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) may carry risks greater than those of chiropractic manipulation. According to a study from the American Journal of Gastroenterology, approximately one-third of all hospitalizations and deaths related to gastrointestinal bleeding can be attributed to the use of aspirin or NSAID painkillers like ibuprofen.
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 and their needs. While adjusting children, we make sure to account for any heightened unfamiliarity they may be experiencing while undergoing treatment. It is a highly skilled treatment, and in the case of children, very gentle.
Do Insurance Plans Cover Chiropractic Care?
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.
What Type of Education and Training do Chiropractors Have?
Chiropractors are educated as primary contact health care practitioners, with an emphasis on musculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment. Educational requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions. The typical applicant at a chiropractic college has already acquired nearly four years of pre-medical undergraduate college education, including courses in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, psychology, and related lab work. Once accepted into an accredited chiropractic college, the requirements become even more demanding — four to five academic years of professional study are the standard. Because of the hands-on nature of chiropractic, and the intricate adjusting techniques, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical training. In total, the chiropractic curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory, and clinical experience. The course of study is approved by an accrediting agency that is fully recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
How is a Chiropractic Adjustment Performed?
Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation is a manual procedure that utilizes the highly refined skills developed during the intensive years of chiropractic education. The chiropractor typically uses their hands to manipulate the joints of the body, particularly the spine, to reduce pain, and restore or enhance joint function.
Chiropractic manipulation is a highly controlled procedure that rarely causes discomfort. However, the chiropractor will adapt the procedure to meet the specific needs of each patient. Patients often note positive changes in their symptoms immediately following treatment. We also offer instrument-assisted adjusting (Activator) for patients that are not comfortable with manual adjusting or where manual adjusting is contraindicated.
Is Chiropractic Treatment Ongoing?
The hands-on nature of the chiropractic treatment is what requires patients to visit the chiropractor several times. To be treated by a chiropractor, a patient needs to be in his or her office. In contrast, a course of treatment from medical doctors often involves a pre-established plan that is conducted at home (i.e. taking a course of antibiotics once a day for a couple of weeks). A chiropractor may provide acute, chronic, and/or preventive care, thus making a certain number of visits sometimes necessary. The doctors will have a better idea of the length of your treatment after they see your response on the initial few visits.
Why is There a Popping Sound When a Joint is Adjusted?
Adjustment of a joint may result in the release of a gas bubble between the joints that makes a popping sound – it’s 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.
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