Frequently Asked Questions
What is chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a natural method of health care that alleviates pain and improves function and mobility by using the body’s own innate ability to heal. The second largest primary health care profession in the U.S.A., chiropractic’s benefits and results are fueling its growth worldwide as an affordable, effective healthcare method that delivers significant results without the use of drugs or invasive procedures.
How does chiropractic work?
Chiropractic clears the path for the body to heal itself. It focuses on restoring proper function to the spine, joints, and nervous system, all of which work together to ensure healthy feeling, movement and function throughout the body. Any interference to this complex system can cause a range of varied symptoms. Chiropractors adjust joints to correct these interferences to help bring the body back to a state of health. Chiropractors work with your body to correct not only the symptoms, but more importantly, the structural causes of health problems.
What types of health problems does chiropractic help with?
Chiropractic care helps with problems of all sorts, including many that do not seem to fit into the “back and neck” category. When disruptions of the nervous system and musculoskeletal structure occur, they can manifest as pain, abdominal disruptions, headaches/migraines, tingling/numbness, limited range of motion, and stiffness in different sites throughout the body. These seemingly unrelated health problems respond extremely well to chiropractic care. See our services page for a full list of commonly treated conditions.
Do chiropractors treat conditions other than back pain?
Absolutely. Although chiropractic is most often associated with spine and back problems, many people who visit chiropractors don’t have back pain. The list of treatable conditions is lengthy (see our services page) but some common ones we see over and over are headache; carpal tunnel; rotator cuff syndrome; sciatica; plantar fasciitis; pain, tingling or numbness of the extremities; neck pain or stiffness; and a general decrease in function or mobility.
Is chiropractic safe?
Yes. Chiropractic is recognized as one of the safest, drug-free, and non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of neuro-musculoskeletal health complaints. One need only compare malpractice insurance premiums for chiropractic doctors versus medical doctors to discover that premiums for chiropractors is a small fraction of what it is for M.D.’s., indicating that chiropractic is a very safe practice.
How are doctors of chiropractic educated?
Like all primary health care providers, Doctors of Chiropractic must complete extensive education and training before becoming licensed doctors. After completing an undergraduate education similar to that of a pre-med focus, chiropractic students undergo a demanding 4-5 year doctorate program including a clinical internship. To be licensed, they must pass rigorous national board exams and complete annual continuing education classes.
I hear that once you start going to a chiropractor, you have to keep going forever. Is that true?
No. Patients usually see a chiropractor for one of two reasons: 1) to alleviate pain and address a specific health issue, or 2) as a preventive health care practice, entailing regular visits to maintain optimal health. Just like you would with dentist visits, the frequency and regularity of your chiropractic care depends entirely on your health goals.
Does chiropractic hurt?
Generally no, but depending on the circumstances, adjustments can feel uncomfortable. For many people, simply becoming familiar with the techniques and methods used in treatment helps immensely. Personally, I like to communicate continuously to my patients during sessions, so they know what sensations to expect. I always try to be gentle, but sometimes a little force is needed to correct problems areas.
Why do I sometimes hear a popping sound when a joint is adjusted?
A popping sound during an adjustment can occur, but it is neither painful nor harmful. I liken this to a champagne cork popping: when the cork is released, a pressure decrease is created which releases gas from the champagne. During an adjustment a pressure decrease is created which releases gas from the joint’s fluid. If you’ve ever “cracked” your knuckles, you’ve experienced this same phenomenon.
What can I expect on my first visit?
I always start with a consultation, covering your present condition and health/medical history. Knowing your health status, and any past medical procedures, illnesses or accidents is critical for us to get a complete understanding of your body and its condition. Then I do an exam to test your range of motion, strength, nerve function, etc. I will then go over the findings and discuss treatment options, and I may or may not do an adjustment that day.
What are some signs that I may need an adjustment?
The most obvious sign to come see us is if you have pain—either sudden or chronic. Pain is a sign that your body is disrupted, so we want to fix the problem and get you out of pain as quickly as possible. Other reasons for a visit include stiffness, tingling or numbness, and even fatigue. It’s also smart to seek chiropractic care after traumatic injuries like car accidents, when experiencing decreased physical performance or after sustaining sports injuries.
How many sessions does it take?
This varies according your health complaint and goals, but most patients report feeling a significant improvement in three to six visits. If you’ve had pain or a health complaint for a long time, it will probably take longer to achieve desired results. It’s also important to consider your goals: some people use chiropractic care as a preventive health practice and schedule sessions as they would dental check-ups; others just want to treat specific problems or alleviate pain and schedule on an as-needed basis. Different goals require different therapy timelines.
Are all patients adjusted the same way?
No. Each patient has a unique health history, body composition and structure, and health goals. I create a tailored treatment plan for each patient. This plan builds as we progress in treatment, reflecting individual needs and issues in the course of care. This is why a thorough initial visit and good communication are so important—they let us help you get back to full health as soon as possible.
Do you use any non-force techniques?
Yes. Some patients prefer the “activator,” which is a gentle spring-loaded instrument that helps focus small forces to a very specific site. I also use pelvic blocks or traction if patients cannot tolerate other techniques. Open communication helps us work together to find and stay within your comfort zone.
Can’t I just do yoga or exercises to solve my structural problems?
I love when patients do yoga and exercise—it means their health is important to them and they see it as a priority. Sometimes, however, certain health issues need specially-applied force or attention that a person can’t administer on their own. Additionally, if your spine or joints have a misalignment, continued exercise can increase wear and tear, cause pain or further exacerbate a misalignment. For that reason, many athletes use chiropractic care as a preventive measure to maintain and improve performance.
Do insurance plans cover chiropractic? Is chiropractic care expensive?
Many insurance plans do cover chiropractic. If you’re unsure about yours, I’d be happy to call them and get the details of cost, coverage, number of allowed visits etc.
Studies have shown that chiropractic is one of the lowest cost health treatments available. The focus of chiropractic is keeping your body healthy and functioning optimally. Doctors of Chiropractic use conservative, early-intervention methods as an alternative to surgery, drug therapy or other high-cost health treatments to keep you healthier longer.
Does chiropractic treatment require a referral from an MD?
Rarely. Chiropractors, just like primary health care M.D.’s, are portal of entry doctors, which means a patient can consult with them as a first contact, without needing a referral. A chiropractor will examine, evaluate, diagnose and treat (if necessary) the patient on the initial visit, just as an M.D. would. Oftentimes, M.D.’s will refer patients to chiropractors and vice versa, when necessary depending on the patient’s condition and diagnosis. If you want to be sure your insurance doesn’t require a referral, give us a call and I’ll be happy to call them and check for you.
Is it OK to see a chiropractor if I’m pregnant?
Yes! Please do! Think of how much the pregnant body changes over nine months. Bones, joints and tissue shift, expand, grow and contract throughout pregnancy. With so many physical changes in such a short time, joints and bones can get “stuck” and become uncomfortable. These issues, which are actually quite common, can easily be treated by a chiropractor and oftentimes pain and discomfort are immediately relieved. In some cases, chiropractic care can make pregnancy and labor more comfortable, and result in an easier delivery for mother and baby.
Do children need chiropractic care?
Yes! There are certain times in a child’s physical development when it is important for them to get chiropractic check-ups. For instance, when an infant is born, the delivery can often be traumatic to their body. A gentle adjustment can correct spinal distortions brought on during birth. The developmental milestones of crawling, sitting and walking correlate with important stages of natural spinal curve formation. During these times, chiropractic check-ups and adjustments are important to ensure free movement and of the child’s developing spine. For older children, chiropractic can help with sleep disturbances, growth spurts or accidents.