What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a natural method of health care with the proven ability to relieve
back pain, increase vitality, and promote well-being. For over a century, doctors
of chiropractic have successfully helped millions of individuals recover from spine-related
health problems. As a result, chiropractic has earned its place as the largest drugless
and non-surgical health care profession in the United States.
How does chiropractic work?
The human body possesses a natural ability to restore itself. This ability depends
on a healthy nervous system. Life's events such as automobile accidents, sports
injuries, repetitive work, and
home stress are just some of the factors that can overwhelm the body's ability
to adapt. The joints of the spine 'lock up' when these sorts of events occur, limiting
range of motion. Spinal joint restriction and/or misalignment results in irritation
and/or pressure at the spinal nerve.
Chiropractic care can correct these structural distortions, known as subluxations,
restoring the body to its optimal form and function. Local symptoms of subluxations
may include pain, tenderness, swelling, tingling, numbness, or spasm around the
joints of the spine, back, and neck. Many times these sensations extend further
into the shoulders and arms, around the rib cage, or into the hips and down the
legs. Subluxations can even lead to headaches, stomach and digestive problems, and
loss of overall health.
Impaired nerve coordination causes the whole body to suffer. Vital instructions
flow between the brain and the body by way of spinal nerves. These instructions
inform and direct the body as to when, where, and how it needs to heal itself. By
irritating nerves, subluxations interfere with the essential brain/body exchange,
thereby compromising the normal function of the body's organs and tissues. Chiropractic
care clears the path for the body to maintain its own health.
How can a chiropractor help?
Doctors of chiropractic are specially trained in the evaluation and treatment of
spinal conditions, which is why an increasing number of back pain sufferers are
turning to them for fast, effective, and reliable care. Similarly, more and more
hospitals and private practices are now working closely with doctors of chiropractic
in order to ensure the best quality of care for patients who suffer from spine-related
injuries and dysfunction.
The benefits of chiropractic care have also been shown to extend beyond reduction
of back and neck pain.
In fact, chiropractic has proven itself as useful in the
reduction of headache pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, jaw pain, sciatica, and tingling
in the arms and legs. The rewards of chiropractic care are numerous. People under
chiropractic care report better health and well-being and many families have realized
the benefits of chiropractic care for their children.
Who should see a doctor of chiropractic?
Nerve interference can affect anyone, which is why people of all ages experience
relief and improved health through chiropractic care. A qualified doctor of chiropractic
will best determine the appropriateness of care for you or your family.
No method of health care has proven itself to be more effective than chiropractic
in helping those who suffer from back and neck pain. Doctors of chiropractic are
the most highly qualified professionals in evaluating and caring for these, as well
as many other health problems.
Is chiropractic safe?
YES. Its non-surgical, drug-free approach to health places chiropractic among the
safest of all health care practices. Remember, chiropractic takes nothing out of
the body and puts nothing in. As a result, chiropractors enjoy one of the lowest
malpractice rates of all health care professionals.
How are doctors of chiropractic educated?
Like all primary health care providers, doctors of chiropractic undergo extensive
education and training before becoming licensed professionals. Students begin by
fulfilling undergraduate degree requirements, with a strong emphasis on the core
sciences such as chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and physics.
The professional program leading to the Doctor of Chiropractic degree is very demanding.
Chiropractic students continue their study of the sciences, including pathology
and biochemistry, at a highly detailed level.
Their education continues into the advanced clinical sciences including orthopedics,
neurology, examination procedures, differential diagnosis, and X-ray interpretation.
During this entire process, aspiring doctors of chiropractic gain knowledge of the
philosophy and practice of health care and chiropractic.
Doctors of chiropractic refine their technical adjusting skills in technique classes.
During clinical internships student doctors perfect these skills.
Finally, all doctors of chiropractic must pass the rigorous national board exams
and state exams before entering the field.
What can I expect on my first visit?
Your initial visit will begin with a consultation. Your doctor will take a case
history and ask about your present condition.
Next, the doctor will perform an examination to evaluate the nature of your problem.
This examination generally includes a series of basic physical tests, as well as
a specialized chiropractic evaluation of spinal movement and posture.
If necessary, your doctor may recommend X-rays or diagnostic tests to obtain further
information about the mechanics of your spine and the details of your condition.
After completing the analysis, your doctor will explain your problem and map out
an appropriate plan of action with you. If necessary, you may be referred to another
health care specialist for further evaluation or treatment. Doctors of chiropractic
work with a variety of health care professionals in the best interest of their patients.
Your doctor will discuss your care plan with
you, taking into consideration your
health habits, stress, and activity levels.
Over the course of your care, your doctor will monitor your individual response
and may also recommend changes to your lifestyle, work environment, dietary, and
How does chiropractic correct my spinal problems?
Following consultation and examination, a program of care will be designed and customized
to your specific needs. This program is centered around the chiropractic adjustment,
a method of treatment unique to chiropractic, which corrects spinal subluxations
and dysfunction. The primary goal of an adjustment is to improve spinal alignment
and motion, thereby relieving nerve irritation, pressure, and pain.
You may feel immediate improvement after an adjustment, although most people experience
gradual, progressive relief of symptoms. Since adjustments restore motion to previously
locked joints, ligaments and tendons begin to stretch back to their normal length.
This lengthening may cause slight muscle soreness similar to that brought on by
rigorous exercise. If you experience these sensations, be assured that within
days you’ll likely be enjoying the benefits of improved spinal motion with less
pain that results from a healthier spine. For the best results, follow the plan
that your doctor of chiropractic recommends for you.
How much chiropractic care will I need?
The number of visits you make to your chiropractor depends on the nature of your
condition and your personal goals. Many people use chiropractic as part of a preventive
health care routine, scheduling chiropractic appointments on a regular basis to
keep their bodies functioning at their best. Others seek care and treatment for
specific conditions with the primary goal of treatment being pain relief. It is
important for you to discuss your objectives with your chiropractor in order to
develop a treatment plan that works best for you.
Keep in mind, healing rates vary from person to person. Children tend to respond
more quickly to treatment, whereas adults and seniors may respond more slowly. A
good rule of thumb is that the longer the spine has not been working properly, the
more extensive the care plan may be to achieve desired results.
Is chiropractic care expensive? Will my insurance cover it?
Chiropractic has demonstrated itself to be one of the most cost-effective forms
of care in all of the health care market. As with any product or service, fees vary
by provider and location.
Many health care plans provide coverage for chiropractic care. Check with your benefits
manager to find out what coverage you may have with your health plan. Also, talk
with your prospective doctor of chiropractic to learn about your payment options.
Many patients pay directly for care, as they discover chiropractic to be extremely
cost-effective and affordable.