Chiropractic treatments are a safe, effective tool that are useful for men and women of all ages.
The following questions and answers should help explain some of the basics of diagnosis and treatments, as well as expectations for time, cost, and more.
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What conditions do chiropractors treat?
Doctors of Chiropractic care for patients of all ages, with a variety of health conditions. Chiropractors are especially well known for their expertise in caring for patients with back pain, neck pain and headaches…particularly with their highly skilled adjustments. They also care for patients with a wide range of injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, involving the muscles, ligaments and joints.
These painful conditions involve or impact the nervous system, which can cause referred pain and dysfunction distant to the region of injury. The benefits of chiropractic care extend to general health issues, as well, since our nervous system controls and regulates all cells, tissues and organs of our body. Chiropractors also counsel patients on diet, nutrition, exercise, healthy habits, and occupational and lifestyle modification.
Is chiropractic treatment safe?
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, stiffness or aching, just as they do after some forms of exercise. Current research shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours.
Doctors of chiropractic work with the nervous system through precise adjustments of the back and neck. Adjustments, work to improve joint mobility, restoring range of motion and reducing muscle spasms, which help relieve pressure and tension.
Doctors of chiropractic are well trained professionals who provide patients with safe, effective care for a variety of common conditions. Their extensive education has prepared them to identify patients who have special risk factors and to get those patients the most appropriate care, even if that requires referral to a medical specialist.
Does chiropractic treatment require a referral from an MD?
A referral is usually not needed to see a doctor of chiropractic; however, your health plan may have specific referral requirements. You may want to contact your employer’s human resources department—or the insurance plan directly—to find out if there are any referral requirements. Most plans allow you to just call and schedule an appointment with a doctor of chiropractic.
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. It is a highly skilled treatment, and in the case of children, very gentle.
Do insurance plans cover chiropractic?
Yes. Chiropractic care is included in most health insurance plans, including major medical plans, workers’ compensation, Medicare, some Medicaid plans, and Blue Cross Blue Shield plans for federal employees, among others. Chiropractic care is also available to active-duty members of the armed forces at more than 60 military bases and is available to veterans at more than 60 major veterans medical facilities.
What type of education and training do chiropractors have?
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 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 a 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 adjusting techniques, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical technique training to master these important adjustive 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 and is fully recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
How is a chiropractic adjustment performed?
Chiropractic adjustment is a manual or instrument procedure that utilizes the highly refined skills developed during the doctor of chiropractic’s intensive years of chiropractic education. The chiropractic physician typically uses his or her hands–or an instrument–to adjust the joints of the body, particularly the spine, in order to restore or enhance joint and nervous system function.
This often helps resolve joint inflammation and reduces the patient’s pain. Chiropractic adjusting is a highly controlled procedure that rarely causes discomfort. The chiropractor adapts the procedure to meet the specific needs of each patient. Patients often note positive changes in their symptoms immediately following treatment.
Is chiropractic treatment ongoing?
A chiropractor may provide acute, chronic, and/or preventive care thus making a certain number of visits sometimes necessary. Your doctor of chiropractic should tell you the extent of treatment recommended and how long you can expect it to last.
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, which makes a popping sound. The same thing occurs when you “crack” your knuckles. The noise is caused by the change of pressure within the joint, which results in gas bubbles being released. There is usually minimal, if any, discomfort involved.