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Chiropractic FAQ's

 

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.

HOW DOES CHIROPRACTIC WORK?

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.

WHAT TYPE OF EDUCATION DO CHIROPRACTORS RECEIVE?
Doctors of chiropractic are educated as primary-contact health care providers, with an emphasis on diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to the musculoskeletal system (the muscles, ligaments and joints of the spine and extremities) and the nerves that supply them. Educational requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions.  The typical applicant for 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. Doctors of chiropractic are educated in orthopedics, neurology, physiology, human anatomy, clinical diagnosis including laboratory procedures, diagnostic imaging, exercise, nutrition rehabilitation and more. Because chiropractic care includes highly skilled manipulation/adjusting techniques, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical technique training to master these important manipulative procedures.

In total, the chiropractic college 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.

WHAT IS A CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENT?

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.

DO CHILDREN NEED CHIROPRACTIC CARE?
Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of back pain, neck pain, joint pain of the arms or legs, headaches, and other neuromusculoskeletal complaints. Although chiropractic has an excellent safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects.

ARE ALL PATIENTS ADJUSTED THE SAME WAY?
The doctor evaluates each patient’s unique spinal problem and develops an individual course of care. The resulting recommendations are based upon years of training and experience. Some patients who complain of headaches may actually have a lower back problem that is causing a compensation reaction at the base of the skull. Other patients may be experiencing numbness and tingling in their fingers, when the actual problem is in the neck. Every patient presents a uniquely different spinal pattern. Patients notice that their chiropractic care is delivered with confidence and precision. Each visit builds on the one before. And while visits may seem similar, each patient’s care is uniquely different from every other patient.

IS CHIROPRACTIC SAFE?
Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of back pain, neck pain, joint pain of the arms or legs, headaches, and other neuromusculoskeletal complaints.  The risks associated with chiropractic care very small. Many patients feel immediate relief following chiropractic treatment, but some may sometimes experience mild soreness or aching, just as they do after some forms of exercise. Current literature shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours.

WHAT CAUSES THE SOUND DURING AN ADJUSTMENT?
Actually, adjustments do not always produce a sound. Often, however, adjustments do create the sound of a spinal "release," or "popping" sound. The sound is caused by gas rushing in to fill the partial vacuum created when the joints are slightly separated. This sound is painless and totally harmless.

CAN I ADJUST MYSELF?
No. Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force, applied in a specific direction to a specific joint, it is virtually impossible to adjust oneself correctly and accurately. It is possible to turn or bend or twist in certain ways to create a "popping" sound that sometimes accompanies a chiropractic adjustment. Unfortunately, this type of joint manipulation is usually counterproductive, often making an already unstable spine even more unstable, and can sometimes be dangerous. Adjusting the spine is not for amateurs!

IS CHIROPRACTIC CARE ADDICTIVE?
I understand how some people would come to think that chiropractic care could be addictive, after all, almost all medications that people get from their medical doctors for pain is addictive. I suppose that if you are in pain, are concerned about the addictive nature of the medications that you have taken in the past, and are going to the chiropractic for the first time that you may think that chiropractic care for pain may be addictive as well. I can assure you that chiropractic care is not addictive but feeling good can be as powerful as an addiction. There are certain people that are more “in tune” with their bodies than others. Restrictions in joint motion and flexibility typically occur slowly over time and are not normally perceptible. Once these people start care they experience full, free range of motion of their joints without neck pain, back pain or headaches - and they like it. After formal care ends, a percentage of these people notice when their joints begin to lose their range of motion. Since they felt better under chiropractic treatment, they like to continue their care simply to feel better. This is about as addictive as chiropractic care can be. It is really no different from those who exercise and/or diet and feel better and therefore continue with their plan.

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.

DOES CHIROPRACTIC WORK FOR ALL TYPES OF HEALTH PROBLEMS?
No, it doesn't. Chiropractic is not a cure-all for all diseases. However, Chiropractic care is more than just a solution for back pain and neck pain. It is successful with a wide variety of health issues because a side benefit of an adjustment is improved nervous system function. If your nervous system is functioning optimally, so will the rest of your body, including your immune system. The interesting part of Chiropractic is the "side benefits" of the Chiropractic adjustment. Many patients who present with neck and back pain often report back that not only did their back pain go away, but they were able to breathe better, or they began using their inhalers less often, or their high blood pressure decreased, or their headaches went away, or they were using less ibuprofen.

Is it okay to see a chiropractor if I am pregnant?
Not only is it safe to visit a chiropractor during your pregnancy, it’s also highly beneficial. Getting regularly adjusted while pregnant is a great way to relieve the added stress on your spine that comes along with the weight gain. It can also prevent sciatica, the inflammation of the sciatic nerve that runs from your lower back down through your legs and to your feet. It’s also important to maintain pelvic balance, which is oftentimes thrown off as your belly grows and your posture changes. Besides making you feel better during pregnancy, getting regular chiropractic adjustments can also help control nausea, prevent a potential C-section, and has even been linked to reducing the amount of time some women spend in labor.

What is the difference between a Chiropractor and an Osteopath? 
Chiropractors base their care on the detection correction, and prevention of vertebral subluxations (spinal misalignments). We use specific spinal adjustments to correct the spine, to improve nerve system functions and reduce nerve interference. Osteopaths use drugs, surgery, and other traditional medical therapies and only occasionally use manipulative procedures.

Why do chiropractors take x-rays?
In order to properly diagnose a patient's condition, x-rays are commonly taken. These x-rays are used to check vertebral alignment, disc degeneration, arthritis, proper curvature, scoliosis, and other serious pathology. Many chiropractors use x-rays to document a patient's progress as well.

Is a good work-out the same as getting adjusted?
No. Exercise is an important part of good health, yet without normal spinal function a physical workout merely puts additional wear and tear on improperly functioning spinal joints.

 

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