If you haven’t received chiropractic care before, or you haven’t seen or heard much about the practice, you almost certainly have a variety of questions about what it involves or how it can help you.
Although you will undoubtedly have chance to raise these with your chiropractor at your appointments, it can sometimes help to have answers before you even get as far as that first consultation. With this in mind, below we have answered some of the most common questions we are asked about chiropractic care.
What is a chiropractor and what does chiropractic care involve?
A chiropractor is a healthcare professional that can diagnose disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous system and treat them in a holistic way that complements traditional medical interventions rather than works against them. While a large part of treatment involves manipulation of the body and spine, chiropractors can also advise patients about other, non-medical therapies that may also support their health and wellbeing. This includes advice on nutrition, exercise and treatments such as massage, yoga, visualization and stress management. This is because the core belief of chiropractors is that the body has the power to heal itself if it is in proper balance.
Are chiropractors properly trained and certified?
Chiropractic doctors are highly trained who complete specialized training culminating in a series of four board examinations and completion of state requirements. In order to obtain these qualifications, doctors of chiropractic care must complete a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom study, lab work and internships – this is the equivalent to the number of hours that must be completed by an allopathic doctor (MD) or an osteopath.
Do I need a medical referral to be seen?
No. Since chiropractors are considered to be primary health care practitioners, you can book an appointment directly yourself without the need to go through your family physician.
What happens during a chiropractic appointment?
Exactly what will happen during your appointment will depend on whether it is your first appointment or a follow-up treatment. Your first appointment will be treated as a consultation, with your chiropractor asking questions about what problems you are experiencing and looking at your previous medical history. You may also be given some adjustments during this appointment. If any further tests such as x-rays are required, these will also be requested. Further appointments will be a continuation of your current treatment plan, which will be regularly assessed to ensure it continues to be effective.
What are chiropractic adjustments?
Adjustments are gentle and effective movements of your spine that your chiropractor carries out using his/her hands. They are designed to apply controlled pressure in a precise direction to a joint that isn’t moving as it should. Sometimes these are slow, gradual movements while other times they are fast. This all depends on what is needed to bring the spine back into proper alignment.
Do chiropractic adjustments hurt?
One of the biggest concerns we hear from many patients is whether their chiropractic adjustments will hurt. Rest assured that in most cases, an adjustment is not painful. Patients may hear a popping noise, but this is completely normal and occurs when gases or fluids that may be trapped in joints are released. Contrary to popular belief, these aren’t bones moving or breaking! While your appointment shouldn’t be painful, it is important to understand that in some cases, mild soreness during and after the adjustment is to be expected. These symptoms are a standard part of the healing process and usually abate within a day or two.
How many adjustments will I need to feel better?
Every patient is different and therefore your chiropractor will create you an individualized treatment plan based on your specific needs. Some patients may require intensive treatment with several appointments each week for a number of weeks before dropping down to maintenance visits. Others may only need a short course of adjustments to resolve their issues.
Your chiropractor will be able to advise you how long your treatment plan is likely to be during your initial consultation. Bear in mind though that this can change depending on how well your body responds to treatment.
What conditions can be helped with chiropractic care?
One of the biggest misconceptions about chiropractic care is that it is only useful for patients suffering from back pain. While it can almost certainly help in these circumstances, chiropractic care has actually shown to be beneficial in helping to relive pain or symptoms related to a variety of conditions including:
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
- Fertility issues
- Recurrent ear infections
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Multiple sclerosis
- Intervertebral disc syndrome
- Temporomandibular joint disorders
- Respiratory problems including infections
- Menstrual disorders
It can also be used during pregnancy to help give the baby room to grow, relieve back pain, prevent breech presentation and to bring your spine back into alignment after delivery.
Is chiropractic care covered by my insurance?
In many cases, some degree of chiropractic care is covered by medical insurance plans. However, you would need to carefully check the details of your own individual policy to check that you have appropriate insurance cover. Contact us to learn more.