Frequently Asked Questions
What is an adjustment?
Chiropractic care is known (but not exclusively) for its use of the adjustment, sometimes called manipulation. An adjustment is a precise procedure in which the trained Doctor of Chiropractic exerts a specific corrective pressure at specific places on your spine or other joint. When a thorough examination reveals joints that are not in proper function, adjustments are applied to correct joint alignment/mobility, relieve associated muscle and nerve tension, improve balance, and assist healing.
How does chiropractic help athletes improve and maintain their best performance? What about sports injuries?
Chiropractors help athletes balance body and joint motion for optimal sports performance. Chiropractic adjustments promote full range joint motion, stretch overly tight muscles, work underused muscles, and reduce stress from overused tissues. An athlete who can move fully, with balance, and in control can perform his best.
What causes the “noise” of the adjustment?
Not all adjusting techniques that chiropractors use produce the popping noise that we associate with “cracking out knuckles.” Some chiropractic adjusting techniques make no sound at all. But many chiropractors do use techniques that create, in many instances, the popping sound of a spinal “release.” So what causes the noise? Contrary to some beliefs, it is not bones cracking or popping, it is simply carbon dioxide and nitrogen gasses that rush in to fill a partial vacuum created when the joint surfaces are slightly separated. It is this displacement of joint fluid that causes the noise.
I was in a car accident. Should I see a Chiropractor?
If you are involved in an auto accident it is important to be evaluated to determine if there is a soft tissue injury. Chiropractors focus on proper function of posture and the spine, nerves, muscles and ligaments, so the first thing evaluated is evidence of serious trauma such as fractures, etc.
Because the symptoms from a soft tissue injury may not show up until 3-7 days after the trauma, a thorough chiropractic examination is very important. Pain changes how a body moves, therefore after the initial pain improves, the body may adapt to moving differently.
Pain medication and muscle relaxers can mask the pain, but unless normal motion is restored, body motion will be unbalanced. Left untreated, the body adapts to the unbalanced pattern of motion, creating a chronic problem.
Does “cracking” your knuckles cause arthritis and “big” joints?
No, that is just an old wives tale! There was actually a study done on that subject and there was no correlation between cracking your knuckles and arthritis or “big” joints. The only finding the study realized was that cracking your knuckles annoyed the person next to you!
Does an adjustment hurt?
Usually an adjustment does not hurt. Some might feel a momentary minor discomfort during the adjustment, but this is usually followed by a feeling of relaxation. Others feel a slight soreness for a day after their first adjustment, and describe it as if they have “worked out too hard.” This can occur because the chiropractor has re-aligned a spinal segment that was out of alignment for quite some time. Adjustments or manipulations are extremely safe.
How long will it take until I feel better after an adjustment?
Every “body” that comes into a chiropractic office is different. Some people experience relief after one adjustment, while it may take several adjustments for others to find relief. The Doctor of Chiropractic will take a past and present illness history, perform a comprehensive neurologic, orthopedic, and chiropractic examination, and may order x-rays or laboratory tests. The doctor then establishes a diagnosis and determines what type of treatment is needed. The doctor also performs re-evaluations to determine progress and further treatment if needed.
Why do you have to go back to a chiropractor more than once?
I liken the process of adjustments to working out at a gym. In order for you to increase and maintain strength of the muscles, you have to adapt a routine. This means working out several times a week. If you were to work out at the gym only one day a week, it would take you much longer to notice results than if you went three times or more a week.
It is the same with a chiropractic adjustment. The doctor has to “re-train” the muscles and vertebrae to stay in alignment, and this needs repetitive adjustments. However, once improvement is noted, the frequency of visits decreases until you are only getting adjusted every few weeks or months.
Can I go to a chiropractor only once?
Of course. Once is better than never. But chiropractic is much more than a glorified aspirin. One adjustment may relieve the pain, but most likely has not corrected the problem. It’s best to ask your chiropractor what your spinal care needs are.
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 subluxations so you’re functioning at your fullest.
Is chiropractic care addictive?
Only if you’re addicted to being as healthy as you can be. There is no physiologic addiction to chiropractic adjustments like there is to say, cigarettes. It is possible to get used to feeling healthier, less stressed, and more energetic as a result of chiropractic adjustments; and you may become more “in tune” with your body and know when you need to be adjusted.
Do chiropractors have medical degrees?
No. Chiropractors earn degrees from chiropractic colleges. The degree earned is Doctor of Chiropractic – the “D.C.” seen after chiropractors’ names. The education is similar to that of a medical doctor in some respects, different in others. Chiropractors actually have more training when it comes to anatomy and physiology of the body.
Once I am adjusted by a Doctor of Chiropractic, do I have to keep seeing a chiropractor forever?
NO! We care for problems in one of 3 phases of care. Patients always choose the level of care they desire.
1. AcuteCare Goal - Relieve Pain. Most patients show improvement within the first 2 to 5 visits. Initial treatment usually works best when a person is seen frequently for a short period of time.
2. RehabCare Goal - Correct Bio-Mechanical Problems. Chiropractors restore pain-free motion and improve strength with continued joint mobilization, muscle therapy and posture exercises. Learning new body motion patterns helps change how you move so you can feel good and be well.
3. WellnessCare Goal - Prevention & Performance. Regular therapy and intelligent LifeHabits help people keep moving, stay active and maximize their HealthSpan.
Who should see a doctor of chiropractic?
Nerve interference can affect anyone, this 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 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, 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.
How will chiropractic care help arthritis?
Osteoarthritis/DJD is a mechanical irritation of the joint, usually due to unbalanced motion. The joint responds to the unbalanced and stressed motion with formation of bone spurs on the edges of the bone. Maintaining proper motion through a joint can reduce this mechanical damage.
Osteoarthritis is different than rheumatoid arthritis, which is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that attacks the synovium of the joint.