Chiropractic FAQ

What is chiropractic care?

Image of Family Walking In The ParkChiropractic is a natural method of health care that focuses on treating the causes of physical problems, rather than just treating the symptoms. Chiropractic is based on a simple but powerful premise. With a healthy nervous system and a normally functioning spine, your body is better able to heal itself. That’s because your spine and nervous system are your lifeline, controlling all aspects of how your body works.

How does chiropractic work?
Chiropractic works by restoring your bodies natural ability to be healthy. When under the proper control of your nervous system, all the cells, tissues, and organs of your body are designed to resist disease and illness. The chiropractic approach to better health is to locate and remove interferences (subluxations, misaligned vertebrae) to your nervous system, and restore alignment of injured areas. With improved spinal function, there is improved nervous system function. The goal of the chiropractor is to remove interference that may be impairing normal health through specific chiropractic adjustments, allowing your body to heal itself. A healthy spine and a healthy lifestyle are your keys to optimal health!

What type of education do chiropractic doctors receive?
Chiropractors are educated as primary contact health care practitioners, with an emphasis on musculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment.  Educational requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions. Chiropractic education and medical education are similar in many respects and different in others because chiropractors do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery, and most medical doctors do not perform adjustments. After graduating with a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) Degree, each candidate passes the demanding four part National Board Examinations. Then, doctors apply to a governmental or professional licensing board and pass a still more difficult test before being granted the privilege to practice. A chiropractor’s education, however, never ends. Most doctors complete regular postgraduate instruction for license renewal and to stay current on the latest research and adjustment techniques.

What is a chiropractic adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a joint that is subluxated (fixated) “locked up,” or not moving properly. The purpose of this safe and natural procedure is to eliminate interference to the nervous system, accelerate healing of injured tissue while improving spinal function and overall health. Spinal adjustments have even been shown to improve your body’s immune system.

Image of Kid Wearing Mask and SnorkelCan children have chiropractic care?
Yes. Since significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns checked for spinal mis-alignments. Children are also 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. Health problems that emerge in adulthood could often be prevented by having your children’s spine checked by a chiropractor early. Most parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and are healthier than their peers.

Are all patients adjusted the same way?
No. The doctor evaluates each patient’s unique spinal problem and develops an individual course of care. Each chiropractic adjustment builds on the one before. The resulting recommendations are based upon years of training and experience. Each patient’s care is uniquely different from every other patient.

Is chiropractic safe?
Yes. Chiropractic is extremely safe and effective. To assure competency, all states require that DC’s (Doctor’s of Chiropractic) be board-certified, licensed, and regulated according to stringent criteria.  Statistics show that patient risk is substantially lower in chiropractic as opposed to medical care, where the use of prescription drugs and surgery pose a greater risk. In fact, statistically speaking, chiropractic is one of the safest health options available to patients.

What causes the sound during an adjustment?
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 ”pop” or  “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.

Can I adjust myself?
No. Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force, applied in a specific direction to a specific joint, it is virtually impossible to adjust oneself correctly and accurately. It is possible to turn or bend or twist in certain ways to create a “popping” sound that sometimes accompanies a chiropractic adjustment. Unfortunately, this type of joint manipulation is usually counterproductive, often making an already unstable spine even more unstable, and can sometimes be dangerous.

Can a person who had back surgery see a chiropractor?
Yes. It’s an unfortunate fact that up to half of those who had spinal surgery discover a return of their original symptoms months or years later. They then face the prospect of additional surgery. This too common occurrence is know as “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.” Chiropractic may help prevent repeated back surgeries. In fact, if chiropractic care is initially, utilized back surgery can often be avoided in the first place.

Does chiropractic work for all types of health problems?
No, however chiropractic care is successful with a very wide variety of health problems not necessarily considered “back” problems because of improved nerve system function. With a normal nerve supply the body’s natural healing capacity can improve a variety of health problems.

Is it OK to see a chiropractor if I’m pregnant?
Absolutely. Pregnant mothers find that chiropractic adjustments improve their pregnancy and make delivery easier for themselves and their baby.  Women’s bodies go through tremendous stresses during pregnancy, chiropractic adjustments help reduce aches and pains that are so frequent with pregnant mothers. Adjusting methods are always adapted to a patients size, weight, age, and condition of health.

Will I need to have X-rays taken?
Your chiropractor will determine if x-rays are necessary based on your specific case and past health history. Chiropractors may take x-rays to reveal the internal structure and alignment of the spine. We are also concerned about underlying disease processes and disorders of the spine such as spinal deterioration, arthritis of the spine, abnormal development, bone spurs, disc disorders, tumors and spinal curvature. X-rays also provide a blueprint for correcting the spine back to optimal health and alignment.

Is a good work-out the same as getting adjusted?
No. Exercise is an important part of good health, yet without normal spinal function a physical workout merely puts additional wear and tear on improperly functioning spinal joints.

Who should visit a chiropractor?
Anybody who has a spine! Anyone who is experiencing any kind of complaint may benefit from chiropractic care. This includes low back pain, neck pain, hip pain, sciatica, headaches, arthritis, sports injuries, shoulder pain, knee pain, foot/ankle pain, sprain/strains, carpal tunnel syndrome, joint pain, allergies, asthma, ADD, colic, ear infection, fatigue, fibromyalgia, and digestive problems, just to name a few.

Why should I go to a chiropractor?
Having a healthy spine makes good common sense. If you’re sick, you should strengthen your natural healing ability. If you’re feeling fine, you should remember that vertebral subluxations often do not show symptoms for years, but are preventing the body from functioning at 100%. You and your family should receive periodic spinal examinations to make sure you are living free of hidden problems so you’re functioning at your fullest.

Does chiropractic treatment require a referral from an MD?
No, a patient does not need referral by an MD before visiting a doctor of chiropractic. Chiropractors are first contact physicians, and are so defined in federal and state regulations.  Following a consultation and examination, the doctor of chiropractic will arrive at a diagnosis, provide and provide treatment, or refer the patient to the appropriate health care provider.

Do insurance plans cover chiropractic?
The majority of all insured American workers have coverage for chiropractic services in their health care plans.  For example, the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management offers chiropractic coverage for federal employees in both the Mail Handlers and BCBS benefit plans.  In addition, there is a chiropractic benefit in Federal Workers’ Compensation, and chiropractic care is available to members of the armed forces at more than 40 military bases, and is available at nearly 30 veterans’ medical facilities. If you are uncertain if your particular plan covers chiropractic, you should call your insurance carrier.

Many people abbreviate ‘Chiropractic’ or ‘Chiropractor’ to ‘chiro’. The reference is all inclusive to include chiropractic care and chiropractic products.

Dr. Jim Wood, DC

Chiropractic FAQ for Dakota Ridge Chiropractic, Littleton, CO

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