The following are common questions and answers about Chiropractic treatment. If you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact our office. We're here to provide you with the information you need.
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.
Dr. Smith 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. He 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.
Are chiropractors educated as well as medical doctors (MDs) and osteopaths (DOs)?
To receive the doctor of chiropractic degree, candidates must complete extensive undergraduate prerequisites and four years of graduate-level instruction and internship at an accredited chiropractic institution. Comprehensive knowledge of all systems of the body and diagnostic procedures enable the DC to thoroughly evaluate a patient, address disorders relating to the spine, and determine the need for referral to another health care provider.
Do I have to see my medical doctor before I see a chiropractor?
No. Doctors of Chiropractic are primary health care providers. According to the Center for Studies in Health Policy, "The DC can provide all three levels of primary care interventions and therefore is a primary care provider, as are MDs and DOs. The doctor of chiropractic is a gatekeeper to the health care system and an independent practitioner who provides primary care services. The DC's office is a direct access portal of entry to the full scope of service."
Does a chiropractor have to have a license to practice?
Doctors of Chiropractic are licensed in all 50 states. DCs have been licensed and recognized for many decades in all states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Can a person who had back surgery see a chiropractor?
Yes. It's an unfortunate fact that up to half of those who had spinal surgery discover a return of their original symptoms months or years later. They then face the prospect of additional surgery. This too common occurrence is known as "Failed Back Surgery Syndrome." Chiropractic may help prevent repeated back surgeries. In fact, if chiropractic care is initially utilized back surgery can often be avoided in the first place.
Is it OK to see a chiropractor if I'm pregnant?
Yes! Pregnant women find that chiropractic adjustments improve their pregnancy and make delivery easier for themselves and their baby. Adjusting methods are always adapted to a patient’s size, weight, age, and condition of health. Low back pain and sciatica are two types of problems commonly seen in pregnant women. Dr. Smith works closely with several OB’s in the area in coordinating care for patient’s pregnancy-induced low back pain.
Do chiropractors treat conditions other than back pain?
Chiropractors provide effective treatment for all types of soft tissue disorders and not just back and neck ailments. This includes conditions of the joints of the extremities like the ankle, knee and shoulder. On our home page you can see the list of all the different conditions Dr. Smith can treat.
What is that cracking sound?
That "cracking" sound is air, gas and fluid escaping from the joint. It is the same thing that happens when you crack your knuckles. The patient’s bones do NOT crack.
Do I have to keep coming back forever?
No! In our office, Dr. Smith treats each patient and their condition individually. Your treatment plan will be determined according to your specific condition.
Do I have to have x-rays?
Dr. Smith will determine if films are necessary during the examination and then will discuss this with you. If x-rays, MRIs, or other diagnostic testing/imaging is needed he will order those during your first appointment.
If I bring my own, fairly recent x-rays, do I have to take new ones?
If you have them, please DO bring them, as they will help Dr. Smith with his examination. If the doctor determines at the end of the examination that new films are necessary, he will advise you and discuss why he feels they are necessary.
Will my insurance cover chiropractic?
Most insurance plans cover chiropractic. We will verify your benefits before your first visit. Dr. Smith is a preferred provider for all major insurance carriers.