Chiropractic is a holistic, drug-free approach to alleviating pain, promoting wellness, and improving overall lifestyle. If you’ve been searching for a simple overview of chiropractic care, and whether or not its right for you, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) we hear from our patients at ChiroCare of Florida.
Chiropractic Frequently Asked Questions
If you have a question that’s not on this list, don’t hesitate to contact our main office and schedule an appointment with one of our chiropractors today.
What is chiropractic care?
Chiropractic care is a hands-on approach to healing the body from the inside-out. A fully natural treatment, chiropractic care focuses on maintaining balance between all of the body's major systems. Care begins with the musculoskeletal system: the collection of all bones, muscles, tendons, and soft tissue of the body.
Chiropractic care is based on the diagnosis and treatment of misalignments within the structures of the musculoskeletal system, called subluxations. Chiropractors focus especially on subluxations of the spinal column, which affect the nerves, muscles, and organs. By addressing the issues of the musculoskeletal system, the neurological, respiratory, digestive, and immune system can all work harmoniously.
What is a chiropractic adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment, also known as spinal manipulation or joint manipulation, is a procedure in which a chiropractor uses their hands, or a small instrument, and a specialized table to apply controlled pressure to a specific area of the body.
Adjustments are highly targeted, and can focus on just one small vertebra, the bones that make up the spine, at a time. Regular adjustments aim to correct spinal alignment, alleviate pain, and improve the body's efficiency and function.
Is a doctor of chiropractic a real doctor?
A chiropractor is not a medical doctor (MD), however, they are licensed practitioners. Chiropractors complete one year of training and obtain a four-year Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree, which is considered a professional or doctorate degree. This means that chiropractors are considered subject matter experts, but are not classified as medical professionals. Chiropractors do not have medical licensing to practice the full scope of the medical field, which includes prescribing medications or performing surgery.
However, chiropractors are trained to identify the root source of pain and adjust the body so that its systems can work together to heal any damage or trauma. They are experts on the spine, as the well as the central nervous system and muscle systems.
Who should see a chiropractor?
A common misconception about chiropractic care is that only people suffering back or neck pain need it, when in fact everyone can benefit from chiropractic care.
Of course, those suffering from back and neck discomfort, joint pain, headaches, or any type of chronic pain can benefit. But chiropractic care is a holistic and non-pharmaceutical method of working towards wellness, benefiting those who are suffering digestive issues, have problems sleeping, are attempting to lose weight, and so on.
Does insurance cover chiropractic care?
Yes. Most health insurance plans including Medicare, workers' compensation, some Medicaid plans, and Blue Cross Blue Shield for federal employees will cover chiropractic care. Check your healthcare policy for specific coverage details.
Do I need a referral to see a chiropractor?
Typically a referral is not needed to see a chiropractor. However, depending on your health insurance plan, you may have specific referral requirements. While most plans allow you to just call and schedule an appointment, you may want to contact your insurance provider to determine if you have any referral requirements.
What should I expect from my first visit?
Your first chiropractic visit focuses on identifying the source of your pain or ailment. Therefore, your appointment will begin with a series of questionnaires, after which your chiropractor will perform a physical examination. After this is completed, the chiropractor will examine any areas of the body which you have specified are causing any pain or discomfort.
This process typically calls for an x-ray of the spine, which will give your chiropractor insight to the unique structure of your anatomy. At this point, a chiropractor will perform your first spinal adjustment. This normally takes place on a table specifically designed for chiropractic treatments.
Then, at your second visit, your chiropractor will run you through his or her report of findings. This is when you and your chiropractor will work together to draft an effective treatment plan for your needs.
How will I feel after the chiropractor?
Not everyone will react to a chiropractic adjustment the same way. For most, the effects of an adjustment are felt immediately. Misalignments, referred to as subluxations, will often restrict normal nerve flow to the affected area. Therefore, after an adjustment, many people report feeling a surge of energy, more limber, and relaxed.
However, as a chiropractic adjustment can repair an area of the body which has experienced normal nerve energy interference for weeks, months, or even years, there can be minor discomfort as the body adjusts to corrected alignment. Some soreness can be expected, although it is normally very mild and temporary.
What is the popping noise when you get adjusted?
Chiropractic adjustments create a similar popping sound to when you crack your knuckles. This is because the reaction is the same. Adjustments cause your joints to release tiny pockets of air which have collected within the synovial fluid, the liquid that lubricates each joint.
Are adjustments safe?
Yes, chiropractic adjustments are safe when performed by a licensed chiropractor. However, as with all medical procedures, there are individuals who should be wary before receiving an adjustment. Individuals with pre-existing conditions, such as arterial disease or cancer of the bones, may want to consult with their primary doctor before receiving an adjustment.
What do you see a chiropractor for?
Chiropractors treat a variety of pain, including, but not limited to, chronic pain, nerve pain, muscle pain, and joint pain. Chiropractors offer treatment for a variety of pain-inducing conditions, including:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Tennis Elbow
- Spinal stenosis
- Frozen shoulder
- Car accident injury
- Herniated disc pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Headaches and migraines
Likewise, a chiropractor can help the various systems of the body work more harmoniously together. This means a reduction in non-pain related conditions, such as:
- Low energy
- Slow recovery
- Ear infections
- Stress and anxiety
- High blood pressure
- Limited joint mobility
- Poor blood circulation
- Weak immune system
Can pregnant women see a chiropractor?
Yes! Chiropractic is a safe and healthy way to treat pain and discomfort during pregnancy. From conception to delivery, your chiropractor can help make the experience as painless as possible.
During pregnancy, a woman's pelvis loosens and shifts. If the pelvis becomes misaligned while loosened, it can reduce the amount of room available for the developing baby, a condition known as intrauterine constraint. Likewise, a misaligned pelvis affect a mother's ability to have a natural, non-invasive birth.
If the baby settles into a position in which its feet or buttocks are facing the birth canal, also know as breeching, many times the delivery will result in a cesarean delivery (C-Section). Chiropractic can help to balance the pelvis, to safely avoid breeching as well as intrauterine constraint. Benefits of prenatal chiropractic include:
- Relieving back pain
- Reduced headaches
- Better time sleeping
- Alleviating neck and joint pain
- Preventing a potential C-Section
- Controlling symptoms of nausea
- Reducing the time of labor and delivery
Can a person who had back surgery see a chiropractor?
Yes. A patient who has already suffered through invasive spinal surgeries such as laminectomy or foraminotomy is wise to seek chiropractic care. Lack of pain relief after spinal surgery is unfortunately very common, and is known as failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS).
In many back pain patients, FBSS can be frustrating, time consuming, and costly. Chiropractic is a non-invasive treatment alternative that can help to effectively alleviate the pain that surgery failed to correct.
Is chiropractic care ongoing?
To a certain degree, all chiropractic care is ongoing. Meaning, if you've visited the chiropractor to address specific pain or damage, it can take several visits to repair the damage. These visits, as well as what treatment will be used, are all outlined in the treatment plan that you create with your chiropractor.
Once an injury has been treated, it is not necessary to continue to receive chiropractic care. However, most patients do continue to attend chiropractic visits even once their injury has healed. That's because chiropractic is a safe and effective method of not only relieving pain, but of routine health maintenance for a strong body.
Can I adjust myself?
Absolutely not. Chiropractic adjustments should only be performed by a licensed chiropractor. Adjustments apply a specific force in a specific direction to a specific joint. Therefore, it is essentially impossible to adjust oneself safely or accurately.
While you may be able to bend or twist your body in certain ways to replicate the popping sound signature of chiropractic adjustments, this type of manipulation is generally counterproductive. Home remedies such as self-adjustments, hanging upside down, or having someone walk on your back often cause an already unstable spine to become even more unstable - resulting in more pain.
What does a chiropractor actually do?
A chiropractor diagnoses, treats, and helps prevent injury. When you visit a chiropractor for the first time, he or she will review your medical history and administer a physical exam to assess the current condition of your spine, joints, nerve function, muscles, and more. If you’re visiting the chiropractor for a specific pain or ailment, the chiropractor will often request diagnostic imaging to fully determine the source of your discomfort.
Then, a chiropractor carefully tailors a treatment plan to your unique needs. A treatment plan typically includes chiropractic adjustments paired with soothing therapies such as ultrasound, massage, cryotherapy, and more. A chiropractor will also provide diet and nutrition advice, beneficial stretches, and helpful exercises to help strengthen the body and prevent further injury.
What are the benefits of going to a chiropractor?
Chiropractic care has dozens of benefits, but one of the reasons patients love it is because it addresses the body as a whole, not as a collection of symptoms. Where medical doctors prescribe a medication to mask current symptoms, chiropractic digs deeper to unearth the source of pain, inflammation, and injury. The reason chiropractic has adopted this way of thinking is because all systems of the body are inherently connected – the nervous system to the respiratory and digestive system, the digestive and respiratory system to the muscles supporting them, and so on.
In addition to relieving pain, inflammation, stiffness, and more, the benefits of chiropractic include naturally improving problems such as:
- Stress and anxiety
- Bowel regularity
- Ear infections
- Asthma and allergies
- Blood pressure
- Organ function
- Poor immunity
Does chiropractic hurt?
No, chiropractic care does not hurt. In some instances, you may feel slight discomfort as a chiropractor manually manipulates a joint or positions your body to perform an adjustment. However, this discomfort is momentary, and will subside once the manipulation is complete.
Is it normal to feel worse after chiropractor?
Again, not everyone will react to a chiropractic adjustment the same way. Some soreness can be expected as the body adjusts to corrected alignment, though it is normally very mild and temporary. Less than 20 percent of patients may experience toxic relief, a side effect that's actually a lot more beneficial than it may sound.
During toxic relief, a build up of energy, fluids, and toxins that accumulated around the site of a subluxation has been cleared by your chiropractor. Your body enters detox mode in response, ridding itself of the built-up toxins and returning to an optimal state of function. For some patients, this can mean headache, fatigue, and tight muscles occur the first 24 to 48 hours following the adjustment. This is harmless, and is actually evidence that your body is working to heal itself.
Are chiropractors safe?
Yes, chiropractors are safe. However, as with all healthcare providers, check for proper education and licensing prior to making an appointment with a new chiropractor. If you're not familiar with a chiropractor or the office, be alert for red flags that can suggest the business is not legitimate, such as displaying no credentials or not suggesting a treatment plan.
At ChiroCare of Florida, all 11 of our offices are fully staffed by licensed and trained physicians with multiple years in the field. Visit us today to discover the ChiroCare of Florida difference.
Chiropractic is a safe, effective, and pharmaceutical-free method of pain relief and health maintenance. If you’re ready to walk the path to total wellness, contact ChiroCare of Florida today.