Chiropractic is a health profession that focuses on musculoskeletal & nervous system disorders, and the effects of these disorders on the health of the patient. Chiropractic treatment is most often used to treat musculoskeletal disorders, such as pain in the back, neck, joints of the arms orlegs, and headaches.
Doctors of Chiropractic - often referred to as chiropractors and chiropractic physicians - practice a drug-free, practical approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, and to provide counseling on exercise, nutrition, diet and lifestyle.
The most common treatment by chiropractors is known as "spinal manipulation", also called "chiropractor adjustment". The purpose of manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become restricted in their movements as a result of tissue damage. This damage may be caused by a single traumatic event, such as the improper lifting of a heavy object, or by repetitive stress, such as sitting in a cramped position for long periods of time, resulting in poor posture. In either case, inflammation, pain and diminished mobility may result. Manipulation, or adjustment, of the affected area reduces pain and stiffness and allows the patient to regain mobility and the tissues to heal.
Chiropractic adjustment rarely causes discomfort. However, patients occasionally experience mild soreness after treatment (like after a good workout) that usually disappears within 12-48 hours.
Chiropractors can assess patients through clinical examination, laboratory testing, imaging and other diagnostic procedures to determine whether chiropractic treatment is appropriate. Chiropractors will refer patients to the appropriate doctor if chiropractic is not suitable for the patient's condition or if the condition warrants treatment in addition to chiropractic care.
Frequently Asked Questions
What conditions do chiropractors treat?
Chiropractic is a health profession that focuses on diseases of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic is most often used to treat musculoskeletal disorders, such as back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.
Do I need a referral to see a Chiropractor?
No, the patient does not need a physician referral before visiting a chiropractor. After a consultation and examination, the doctor will arrive with a diagnosis that that will indicate the proper chiropractic treatment and/or a referral to the appropriate health care provider.
Are Chiropractic treatments safe?
Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive treatments for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal complaints.
Chiropractic has an excellent safety record. No health care is completely free of side effects, But those associated with chiropractic treatments are very low. Many patients feel immediate relief after chiropractic care, but some may experience mild pain or pain as you would after some forms of exercise. The current literature shows that the occasional minor discomfort or pain after spinal manipulation usually disappears within 24 hours.
Are Chiropractic treatments appropriate for children?
Yes, children can benefit from chiropractic care. Children are very physically active and experience a wide variety of falls and other injuries as a result of daily living as well as from participating in sports activities. These injuries may cause symptoms, which include back pain and neck stiffness, pain or discomfort. Chiropractic treatment is always tailored to the individual patient, and in the case of children, very gentle.
Does my insurance plan cover chiropractic?
Most health insurance pland cover chiropractic services. Please check your policy, or call your insurance company to determine the level of coverage of your plan.
How is a chiropractic treatment performed?
Using their highly refined skills, chiropractors use their hands to manipulate the joints of the body, especially in the back, reduce pain and restore or enhance joint function. Chiropractic manipulation is a highly controlled procedure that rarely causes discomfort. The chiropractor adapts the procedure, as required for each patient. Patients often note positive changes in their symptoms immediately after treatment.
Is chiropractic treatment ongoing?
The hands-on nature of the chiropractic treatment is essentially what requires patients to visit the chiropractor several times. In contrast, a course of treatment from medical doctors often involves a pre-established plan that is conducted at home (i.e. taking a prescription drug once a day for a month). Depending on the diagnosis, multiple visits may be necessary. Your doctor of chiropractic should tell you the recommended treatment 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 release of a gas bubble between the joints that makes a popping sound – it’s exactly the same as when you “crack” your knuckles. The noise is caused by the change of pressure within the joint that results in gas bubbles being released. There is no pain involved.