Frequently Asked Chiropractic Questions
Answers to the most common questions we receive about chiropractic care.
Q: What is an Adjustment?
A: Chiropractic adjustments are used by chiropractors to reposition the bones that are out of proper alignment, or subluxated There are various techniques of adjusting the vertebrae. Depending on the patient's age, condition, and the doctor's training and experience, any of these techniques may be used. The purpose of the adjustment is to remove any interference to the nervous system, which improves spinal function and overall health. Chiropractic adjustments are safe for all ages and are completely natural.
Q: Are chiropractic adjustments safe?
A: Yes. Chiropractic has an excellent safety record. A New Zealand government study found that adjustments are "remarkably safe." It is the result of chiropractic's conservative and natural approach that makes it so safe and helps millions of satisfied patients avoid harmful drugs or unnecessary surgery.
Q: What makes the sound during adjustments?
A: Actually, adjustments do not always produce a sound. However, some techniques do create a "popping" sound. This audible release is the result of gas shifting in the joint; similar to the noise created by "cracking" your knuckles. This sound is painless and causes no harm.
Q: Is chiropractic care addictive?
A: Chiropractic is no more addictive than exercise, proper diet, or brushing your teeth. Chiropractors recommend getting your spine checked for subluxations periodically throughout your lifetime, because it is healthy for you to do so. Patients under long-term chiropractic care report an overall sense of health and well being, far beyond diet and exercise alone.
Q: How do you get Subluxations?
A: There are three basic causes of vertebral subluxation. Physical stresses on the spine and nervous system may include slips and falls, motor vehicle accidents, repetitive motion, and improper sleeping. Chemical stress includes smoking, alcohol abuse, not drinking enough water, improper diet, or the overuse of drugs or medications. Finally, emotional stress is a major cause of subluxation due to its effect on the hormonal and muscular systems of the body. Regardless of the cause, these subluxations need to be detected and removed.
Q: Can I tell if I have a subluxation?
A: Actually, you can have subluxations and not even know it. Like the early stages of tooth decay, subluxations can be present long before any symptoms emerge. Only chiropractors have the specific training to detect subluxation. Using special techniques like x-ray, surface electromyography, thermal scanning, and postural analysis, chiropractors can determine whether or not subluxations are present.
Q: Why do chiropractors take X-rays?
A: In order to properly diagnose a patient's condition, x-rays are commonly taken. These x-rays are used to check vertebral alignment, disc degeneration, proper curvature, scoliosis, and other serious pathology. Many chiropractors use x-rays to document a patient's progress as well. With the advancement of high-speed film and limited exposure, the amount of radiation used is far outweighed by the useful information gained by actually seeing the patient's spine.
Q: Will I receive any medication for my pain?
A: Because chiropractors rely on the natural recuperative powers of the body, medication is not commonly used with chiropractic care. Typically, chiropractors use ice or moist heat to help control pain or muscle spasm. When properly applied, these methods can have an analgesic affect without the unwanted side effects of many medications. Chiropractors and medical doctors now enjoy strong working relationships. In severe cases, referrals may be made to other health care professionals if services outside of the scope of chiropractic are needed.
Q: Can patients with arthritis receive chiropractic care?
A: Patients who suffer from the various forms of arthritis may get significant results from chiropractic. Depending on the patient, results may vary; however, by keeping the spinal joints moving freely, the stiffness and pain associated with arthritis can be minimized. If your doctor deems necessary, a referral to another health care provider may be suggested. Additionally, studies show that those who enjoy chiropractic from a younger age reduce their risk of osteoarthritis later in life.
Q: Can a person with previous back surgery see a chiropractor?
A: Unfortunately, research shows that up to one-half of those who have spinal surgery report a relapse of their original symptoms within months or years. This common occurrence is known as "Failed Back Surgery Syndrome," and usually results in the necessity of additional procedures. Chiropractic care may prevent repetitive surgeries, or better yet, if used initially, may help avoid surgery in the first place.
Q: Is it OK to see a chiropractor if I'm pregnant?
A: Pregnant women frequently get amazing results from chiropractic. Chiropractors are trained in special techniques for adjusting pregnant women. Because of the inability to take medication for pain, the natural approaches of chiropractic are the logical choice for pregnant women. More and more, obstetricians are referring to chiropractors due to the effectiveness of spinal adjustments for pain relief. Also, techniques designed to naturally turn a Breech baby are safe and effective. Lastly, women under chiropractic care have a significantly faster delivery than those who are not.
Q: Why do newborns get adjustments?
A: Even today's "natural" childbirth methods can cause spinal trauma. Studies suggest that infantile colic, poor appetite, ear infections, or erratic sleeping habits can be signs of spinal distress. Pediatric adjustments are gentle, safe, and offer a drugless alternative that many parents prefer. Pediatricians commonly refer to chiropractors for a natural approach for infant health problems.
Q: Do children need chiropractic care?
A: Since significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns checked for vertebral subluxation. Naturally, chiropractic adjusting procedures are adapted for the child's spine. Many childhood health complaints can be traced back to nerve interference somewhere in the spine. Having the spine checked throughout childhood could prevent health problems that emerge in adulthood. Parents often prefer chiropractic care for their children because of its safe, non-invasive nature.
Q: Do I have a Slipped Disk?
A: Discs are known as the "shock absorbers" of the spine and are made up of a fibrous outer ring and a jelly-like center. Commonly, a variety of disc problems throughout the spine may be referred to as a "slipped disc." A disc cannot actually slip because of the way it attaches into the bones above and below. Discs can tear, decay, bulge, or dehydrate, all of which can be serious problems. However, discs cannot slip.
Q: Do I have a Pinched Nerve?
A: A pinched nerve is a rare occurrence. Most likely, the pain you are experiencing is an adjacent spinal bone out of its proper alignment, causing irritation, slight compression, or stretching of a nerve. These misalignments, called vertebral subluxations, can distort the impulses being sent between the brain and the body. Any interference to these nerve signals can produce disorders in the tissues and organs.