What Is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic supports the concept that maintenance of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems can provide for better health. It is a form of health care that is drugless, noninvasive, and actively promotes health. It is holistic, meaning the entire body and a person's lifestyle are examined and treated. When a chiropractor works with a patient, the cause of the patient's physical problem is addressed and lifestyle factors that may affect the problem (such as diet, posture, exercise, and others) are modified to speed recovery and prevent recurrence. Chiropractic care uses natural-health methods such as exercise, nutrition and diet, and lifestyle modification to promote wellness.
What Education Is Required to Practice Chiropractic?
Chiropractic graduates must have a minimum of 6 years of college education. The coursework includes anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, physical and laboratory diagnostics, radiology, physiology, pathology, nutrition, and public health. In addition, chiropractic education involves a detailed study of clinical sciences as well as clinical experience. In fact, chiropractic education is similar to medical and osteopathic education, except that these practitioners emphasize surgery and pharmacology. Doctors of Chiropractic focus on the diagnosis of musculoskeletal and nervous-system disorders and treatment through clinically and scientifically established conservative procedures.
What Is an Adjustment?
Chiropractic care is known for its use of the adjustment—sometimes called manipulation. An adjustment is a precise procedure in which the trained Doctor of Chiropractic exerts corrective pressure at specific places on your spine or other joints. When a thorough examination reveals joints that are not functioning properly, adjustments are applied to correct joint alignment and mobility, relieve associated muscle and nerve tension, improve balance, and assist healing. In most cases, the Doctor of Chiropractic performs adjustments manually.
What Can I Expect from Treatment?
You will be asked to complete a comprehensive health history, including past health problems, diet, exercise, occupation, and other important information. Examination may include palpation (examination by touch), X rays, range of motion, strength, neurological, orthopedic, or other tests.
Besides the adjustment, Doctors of Chiropractic may use other modalities such as electric muscle stimulation, ultrasound, moist heat, ice, massage, or others. Your chiropractor will also take the time to counsel you about the prevention of disease and the methods for living a healthy lifestyle.
You may not receive an adjustment at every appointment. The treatment you receive will be designed specifically for you, based on your symptoms and examination findings.
Your progress under chiropractic care will be carefully monitored. The subjective improvement as well as the objective findings will be noted and your treatment plan will be modified to meet your changing condition. Communication between your chiropractor and other health care providers will be encouraged for your benefit.
What Information Should I Bring to My First Visit?
If you have already had tests (such as X rays) regarding your problem, bring them and any other reports to the Doctor of Chiropractic's office. Be prepared to discuss the following: when the problem started, how it started, how long you have had it, what makes the problem worse or better, treatments you have tried so far, how well they worked, and any other information you believe is relevant. Also, bring notes regarding comments or questions you want to ask.
If your health insurance company requires a referral before treatment, please obtain one. Also, bring your insurance card and know the amount of your deductibles or co-pay.
Discussion and open communication about your health concerns are always encouraged. Please feel comfortable to address any of your concerns with the doctor or staff at any time. Your goals and ours will combine to achieve maximum improvement in your health.