If you have ever wondered about what chiropractic physicians do, why so many people go to chiropractors, and what the benefits are, the best place to start, as the old saying goes, “… is at the beginning.”
What Do Chiropractors Do?
More than 35 million U.S. residents visit chiropractic physicians’ offices each year. Chiropractors are medical specialists, licensed physicians who treat a wide range of physical conditions, including back pain, spine-related problems, neck disorders, nerve maladies, and more. Of all medical professionals, chiropractors undergo one of the most rigorous educational and practical training programs. They spend more than 4,200 combined hours in labs, classrooms, and internships before certification and licensing.
Questions About Chiropractic Medicine
Given the widespread popularity of chiropractic medicine for back pain, joint problems, and accident treatment, many people still have questions about the specifics of chiropractic medicine and what it entails. Here are some of the most common questions they ask, along with answers:
What’s the best way to find a chiropractor near me?
Of course, many people do online searches for chiropractors, but one of the best methods is asking friends and co-workers about their chiropractors. You’ll be surprised at how eager some folks are to let you know that not only are they regular clients of a chiropractor but are also willing to give you the full scoop of information about why you should see their doctor and how they came to find that particular chiropractor. Yes, online searches are good, but personal referrals are even better.
You can also call the American Chiropractic Association at (703) 276-8800 and tell them where you live and other details about your situation. They’ll be glad to help you locate a licensed chiropractic physician near you.
Is the treatment safe?
Chiropractic care is one of the safest forms of medical treatment available. One of the primary reasons is that doctors of chiropractic medicine (DCs) are highly trained at delivering safe, effective, tailor-made treatment techniques to each patient. Plus, because they never use any drugs or invasive surgery, there’s no risk of adverse drug reactions, one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Nor is there ever a worry about all the dangers that come with surgery. Chiropractic techniques are gentle, safe, and rarely even cause discomfort. However, just as you might feel stiff or slightly sore after exercising, sometimes a chiropractic technique might lead to a bit of soreness, but it usually goes away within a few hours.
What is an adjustment?
Chiropractors use their hands, and sometimes tools, to adjust your spine and bring it back into proper alignment. There are dozens of important benefits, including the alleviation of pressure on key nerves, the reduction of referred pain, and more.
How does insurance work?
Most major insurance providers cover chiropractic care but be sure to ask your insurance agent or your employer’s group plan representative about the details. It’s also a good idea to ask your chiropractor’s office person about the kinds of insurance they accept. Most DCs accept all major forms of medical and health insurance, the same way MDs and dentists do.
Can the doctor treat my child?
Of course. It’s actually a very smart move to get chiropractic care for young children and teens. Young people tend to be much more active than grown adults and often become injured while playing sports. Many adults who complain of painful “old injuries” would have done well to have chiropractic care for all those childhood injuries at the time they occurred. Immediate care can mean children’s bodies heal faster and that the injury doesn’t follow them into later life.
Do I need a referral?
In most cases, you can make an appointment directly with a chiropractor of your choice. However, remember to check with your insurance plan. Rarely, some plans will require you to get a referral, but most of the time this is not the case.
What’s the popping noise during an adjustment?
If you’ve had an adjustment from a chiropractor, you might have heard a popping sound. It’s quite similar to what you hear when you pop or crack a knuckle. It’s simply an air bubble escaping from the fluid inside the joint. Popping is harmless. It’s just one of many noises that the human body makes.
What is chiropractic school like in terms of coursework and training?
In terms of sheer hours, chiropractors are the most highly trained medical professionals in existence. Of course, MDs and dentists learn different things in their schools, and chiropractors have their own curriculum as well. But the total hours of chiropractic school, which generally lasts between four and five years after college, are greater or equal to any other form of medical education.
What is whiplash?
Whiplash is a common result of car and other kinds of accidents. It occurs when the head is thrust from side to side or front to back rapidly. The neck and upper back muscles are quite delicate and not accustomed to such quick movements. The resulting pain can be quite debilitating. Chiropractors are experts at treating whiplash, no matter the cause.
How many regular visits are in a typical treatment regimen?
It depends on why you are seeing the doctor. In some cases, because chiropractic medicine is an ongoing form of health and wellness treatment, you might go for six or more sessions over a several month period. Keep in mind that many patients prefer to see their chiropractic physician every six months, or more frequently, for spinal adjustments and check-ups. Daily life has a way of placing undue stress on the spine, and it doesn’t take a lot to cause alignment issues for some people. If you see a chiropractor for a specific issue like low back pain, you might end up going for six or eight sessions and then not visiting at all for six months or a year. It’s basically your choice.
How do I know if I should see a chiropractor?
If you are having any type of low-back pain that lasts more than a few minutes, you should see a chiropractor. Likewise, if you experience neck pain, headaches of any kind, joint pain, muscle pain, or stiffness in a muscle or joint, it’s best to get checked out by a chiropractor. The reason is that any soreness or discomfort around the head or neck can be very serious. Sometimes, the first symptoms of major back, neck, and other problems is pain, discomfort, stiffness, or soreness around the head and neck area.
What about arthritis? Can a chiropractor help?
Yes. In fact, chiropractic is one of the safest and most effective ways to deal with most types of arthritis pain. Chiropractors have several ways to treat arthritis pain, especially if the main arthritic joint causes referred pain elsewhere in the body.
Getting More Answers
It’s always helpful to learn about common things people ask their chiropractors. However, for specific information about your state of health or the best course of treatment, the smart thing to do is speak with your own DC. When you visit our office, we’ll help you with any general or personal chiropractic-related questions you have.
Getting some basic facts from a list like the one above is a good first step for educating yourself about the benefits of chiropractic medicine. Feel free to ask the doctor about anything else that’s on your mind about your physical well-being. We’ll always do our best to give you useful, helpful information based on your particular healthcare situation.