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Frequently Asked Questions about Chiropractic Care

Frequently Asked Questions About Chiropractic

Chiropractic care is a popular form of alternative medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal and nervous system disorders, particularly those related to the spine. Chiropractors use various techniques, including spinal manipulation, to help patients alleviate pain and improve their overall well-being.

What is a Chiropractor?

What education and training do chiropractors receive?

If you've asked questions about seeing a chiropractor, you'll want to know that a chiropractor, also known as a doctor of chiropractic, is a healthcare professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of neuromusculoskeletal disorders. Chiropractors are trained to provide patient care, advice, and rehabilitation exercises to help manage numerous conditions related to the spine and nervous system. It's something that they relay when patients ask questions about chiropractic care.

How can a chiropractor help with spinal issues?

Chiropractors use spinal manipulation, also known as chiropractic adjustment, to realign the spine and improve the body's physical function. A fact important to those asking questions about chiropractic manipulation being a highly effective treatment. This technique can help alleviate pain, enhance mobility, and promote overall wellness for many patients suffering from spinal issues.

Do I need a referral to see a chiropractor?

In most cases, patients do not need a referral from a medical doctor to visit a chiropractor. Chiropractors are trained to evaluate and diagnose conditions independently and can provide appropriate treatment based on their assessment of the patient's needs.

Chiropractic Care

What are the benefits of chiropractic care?

As part of the answers to questions about chiropractic care, you should know that it offers a non-invasive and drug-free approach to manage various musculoskeletal and nervous system conditions. Some of the benefits include pain relief, improved mobility, enhanced nervous system function, and overall wellness promotion.

Can I receive chiropractic care during pregnancy?

Many chiropractors are trained to provide specialized care for pregnant women, so if you're expecting and have questions about chiropractic care, don't worry—they're well equipped. Chiropractic adjustments and supportive therapies may help alleviate discomfort associated with pregnancy and promote optimal pelvic alignment for expecting mothers, something those who benefit from chiropractic care can attest to.

How can chiropractic care benefit patients with back pain?

Chiropractic care focuses on addressing the underlying causes of back pain through spinal manipulation and therapeutic exercises. It aims to improve the spine's function, relieve pain, and enhance the patient's overall quality of life.

Chiropractic Treatment

What is a chiropractic adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment involves the application of controlled force to a specific joint in the spine or extremities. In relation to frequently asked questions about seeing a chiropractor, they use techniques aiming to restore proper joint function, alleviate pain, and facilitate the body's natural healing process.

Why do some adjustments produce a popping sound?

During a chiropractic adjustment, the release of gas bubbles from the joint fluid may produce a popping or cracking sound. This phenomenon, known as cavitation, is a normal occurrence and is not typically a cause for concern.

How do chiropractors determine the right treatment for each patient?

Chiropractors use a comprehensive approach to assess patients, taking into consideration their medical history, physical examination findings, and diagnostic imaging results. Chiropractors treat patients by developing personalized treatment plans based on specific needs, which is significant if you have questions about chiropractic care.

Common FAQs about Chiropractic

What are some common questions new patients have about chiropractic care?

New patients often inquire about the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic care, the types of conditions that can be treated, and what to expect during a chiropractic appointment.

How can I find the right chiropractor for my needs?

When seeking a chiropractor, it is essential to research and ask for recommendations from friends, family, or healthcare providers. Look for a chiropractor who has experience in treating your specific condition and is committed to providing individualized care.

Are chiropractors considered as primary care physicians?

Chiropractors are not considered primary care physicians in the traditional sense. They serve as primary healthcare providers for spinal and musculoskeletal conditions and can work collaboratively with medical doctors, a point particularly required for questions about seeing a chiropractor for similar conditions.

Relief and Care

How can chiropractic care benefit the nervous system?

Chiropractic care aims to optimize the function of the nervous system by addressing spinal misalignments and promoting proper nerve flow. This can lead to improvements in overall health, including enhanced communication between the brain and the body.

What conditions can a chiropractor may help alleviate?

Chiropractors may help alleviate a wide range of conditions, including back pain, neck pain, headaches, joint disorders, and musculoskeletal injuries. Their treatments are tailored to each patient's specific needs and may include spinal manipulation, soft tissue therapy, and lifestyle recommendations.

What makes chiropractic care one of the safest treatment options?

Chiropractic care has an excellent safety record, particularly when compared to other conventional medical interventions. To address questions about the safety of chiropractic, chiropractors are trained to assess the risks associated with chiropractic manipulation and can confidently say that chiropractic has an excellent safety record when providing appropriate care with the patient's well-being in mind.

What is chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a healthcare profession concerned with the neuro-musculoskeletal system and how disorders of the spine, muscles, and nerves affect overall health. Chiropractors treat and help prevent problems of the spine as well as restore joint function and support optimal nervous system function. Chiropractic care uses natural treatments that do not involve medication or surgery to achieve optimal health and function.

Are chiropractic treatments safe?

Yes. Chiropractic care offers one of the safest types of treatment for many disorders of the neuro-musculoskeletal system (that is, the way the spine, nerves, and muscles work together for the proper functioning of the body). Chiropractic care involves drug-free, non-invasive therapies, thus avoiding many of the potential problems associated with surgery or medication use. Although there are some risks with any type of treatment, the risks associated with chiropractic care are extremely small. The risk of serious complications from chiropractic treatment is estimated to be less than one in 1 million treatments—less than the chance of being killed by a lightning strike—and these adverse effects are generally related to a pre-existing condition. Always give your chiropractor your complete health history, as this information affects the type of treatment you receive.

What is a chiropractic adjustment?

The most common chiropractic treatment is spinal manipulation therapy (SMT), also called chiropractic adjustment. The goal of spinal manipulation is to restore the body to its proper function and mobility. In a chiropractic adjustment, the chiropractor applies a carefully controlled force in a precise direction to a specific joint of the spine that is not moving properly. This helps the joint regain proper motion, enabling the vertebrae to return to a normal position. Chiropractors specialize in a variety of spinal manipulation techniques. Adjustments may be made by the chiropractor's hand or with the aid of a specialized instrument, and they may consist of very quick, accurate thrusts or slow, constant pressure. Spinal manipulation therapy has been shown to improve spinal and nervous system function as well as overall health.

Do chiropractic adjustments hurt?

Chiropractic adjustments do not typically cause discomfort. Patients may feel some pressure during adjustments to certain joints, but this should not be painful. Most patients will feel less pain and more movement, and state that they can “stand up straighter” after a chiropractic adjustment. Some patients experience minor aches, soreness, or stiffness in muscles or joints after treatment. These will most likely disappear within a few hours or days. If the area of treatment was injured in the past, this could affect how an adjustment feels, and you may be more likely to be sore. However, the soreness often decreases with further treatments.

Why is there a popping sound during an adjustment?

Sometimes, but not always, there is a popping or cracking sound during an adjustment. This is nothing to worry about. It's just the release of pockets of air that have become trapped in the joints. When the spine is stretched or pushed during an adjustment, it's not unusual for gases to escape from the joints with an audible “pop”—the same effect when you crack your knuckles.

Is it bad to “crack” your own back?

It's not wise to “crack”, or adjust, your own spine, and it's definitely not okay to have a friend or other nonprofessional do it for you. Chiropractors are licensed professionals who are carefully trained to perform spinal adjustments safely. They apply pressure to specific joints in a very precise way. Without training, you cannot adjust yourself accurately or safely. You could cause your spine to become less stable, and you risk injury to joints, ligaments, discs, muscles, and nerves. So leave spinal manipulation to the experts!

What type of education and training do chiropractors receive?

In the U.S., Chiropractors are educated in nationally accredited four-year graduate school programs that require a minimum of 4,200 classroom, laboratory, and clinical practice hours. Chiropractors receive extensive training in anatomy, physiology, neurology, microbiology, endocrinology, the biomechanics of the body (how joints and muscles move the skeletal system), diagnostic imaging, nutrition, exercise, and rehabilitation. They must pass four national board examinations and complete state licensing requirements. The classroom hours required to become a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) are comparable to those needed to become a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO).

Do chiropractors take x-rays?

Chiropractors may use imaging such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs to aid in diagnosis. It is important to see the internal structure and condition of the spine because certain disorders such as arthritis, bone spurs, disc problems, and abnormal development or curvature of the spine (as in scoliosis) can only be properly seen with imaging.

Do chiropractors prescribe medication?

Chiropractors are not licensed to prescribe medication in most U.S. states. The philosophy of chiropractic is to promote wellness through natural techniques that do not require pharmaceuticals. The profession positions itself as a “drug-free, non-surgical science.” Chiropractic aims to avoid the side effects of medications and believes that the human body has the innate ability to heal itself in most instances. The goal of chiropractic care is to target the underlying cause of a problem rather than just medicating the symptoms. Of course, if medication or surgery is necessary in a particular instance, such as for severe pain, chiropractors will work in conjunction with other healthcare providers to develop the necessary plan of action for the well-being of their patients.

Is it okay to see a chiropractor if I'm pregnant?

Yes, chiropractic care during pregnancy can benefit both you and your baby. Loosening ligaments and changes to a pregnant woman's posture can put pressure on the pelvis and back, which can result in pain in the lower back, hips, and knees. Changes in posture may also lead to a painful inflammation of the sciatic nerve and water retention in the ankles. Regular chiropractic treatment during pregnancy can alleviate the added stress on your spine that comes with pregnancy and weight gain. It can relieve pain in the back, hips, and joints, and maintain pelvic balance for an easier pregnancy. Chiropractors are trained to treat pregnant women, and they use special techniques and tables that avoid placing pressure on the abdomen; they can also recommend exercises and stretches that are safe and beneficial during pregnancy.

More about Chiropractic Care

Dr. James Fraser

Doctor of Chiropractic