FAQ

Over the years a number of myths pertaining to chiropractic have been created, mostly by economic competitors and those with differing philosophies. While the majority of myths have no basis, they do exist and cause some confusion to individuals unfamiliar with chiropractic care.

What's wrong with me?

Accurately identifying the cause of spinal pain or other discomfort almost always requires a thorough consultation and examination. Individuals should not assume their pain stems from the same problem, for example, their neighbor had, and thus what has helped their neighbor will help them. Just as every individual is unique and different from the next, so too are the health conditions they suffer and the treatments they require.

Chiropractic doctors are highly trained in the diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue injuries and abnormalities common to the spine, extremities and rest of body. Rest assured that if you are suffering from back or neck problems, extremity problems or other health related ailments chiropractic can provide you with the effective professional relief you demand. If your condition is out of the chiropractic scope or would be more appropriately managed by another health care specialist, we will gladly and promptly make the necessary referral.

Can chiropractic help me?

Chiropractic has helped millions of people worldwide suffering from all types of problems and not just back and neck ailments. Chiropractic works with the spinal column and it's intimate relationship with the nervous system - the major controller of all bodily functions. By optimizing spinal column structure and biomechanics, irritation and stress are removed and health can once again be achieved.

You may be surprised to learn that research studies have provided scientific evidence showing chiropractic care is not only effective in the treatment of back and neck ailments, but can also provide effective relief with children suffering from ear infections, women suffering from dysmenorrhea (painful menses), and a number of other seemingly "non-spinal" conditions. While it's not prudent to guarantee relief from such conditions or claim to "treat" these conditions, chiropractic has successfully helped millions of individuals with all sorts of health conditions by positively affecting the nervous system.

Of course, doctors of chiropractic are best known for their success in treating back and neck problems. Through the use of chiropractic spinal adjustments and other highly specialized chiropractic techniques, chiropractors have established themselves as the back and neck injury specialists. Many medical experts are now coming to understand the true effectiveness of chiropractic care and are recommending major changes in the way our health care system manages many common spinal problems. According to a recent Ontario Ministry of Health commissioned study on low-back pain, "A very good case can be made for making chiropractors the gatekeepers for management of low-back pain..."

How long will it take?

While treatment lengths vary somewhat from person to person and from condition to condition, there are a few rules of thumb you can follow. First, newer injuries, if treated appropriately and immediately, tend to respond to fewer visits assuming that major tissue injury has not occurred. Many of these first time injuries can be effectively managed in as little as 3 to 4 visits or about a quarter of the normal time. Conditions that have been present for greater than 3 months and recurring conditions are generally more stubborn and difficult to manage. Resolution may require up to 12 visits or more.

The only sure way to determine how long your treatment will take is to schedule a consultation and/or examination. For those of you who believe in just waiting for the problem to "go away" on it's own - understand that the longer your condition has been around, the more treatments it will eventually require to resolve.

How much will it cost?

Costs vary and generally depend on the number of treatments required to effectively treat your condition. A number of studies have shown that chiropractic care is extremely cost effective when compared to other "medical" forms of care for similar conditions. According to the 1993 Manga Report, "There would be highly significant cost savings if more management of low-back pain was transferred from physicians to chiropractors. Users of chiropractic care have substantially lower health care costs, especially inpatient costs, than those who use medical care only."

Do I have to come back?

You may have heard the notion that once you go to a chiropractor you have to keep going back. Before we answer that question, ask yourself how many times you have visited a dentist? Like most people, you've probably gone dozens of times. Why? Quite simply, to prevent your teeth from decaying, chronic problems left untreated in your spine may lead to degenerative changes.

Once we have eliminated your pain and rehabilitated the injured tissues we may recommend that you maintain a schedule of periodic spinal checkups. Like your dentist and like many of the medical experts are now recognizing, prevention is the key to reducing recurrences of existing health conditions and minimizing new injuries in the future. The average person statistically improves for 3 years.

So the answer is yes, we want you to keep coming back, but just periodically. Periodic chiropractic care minimizes spinal and nerve stresses, reduces recurrences of old injuries, prevents new injuries from developing, minimizes degenerative processes, which enhances overall health and wellness.

Is chiropractic care safe?

Chiropractic treatments are extremely safe for individuals of all ages - from infants to 100 year olds. Our treatments are safe because we only use natural and noninvasive methods of care. Research consistently shows that care from chiropractors is among the safest care available and is literally light years ahead of traditional medical care in terms of "safeness."

Do adjustments hurt?

The treatments themselves are generally not painful. In fact, most patients look forward to their treatments as many experience instantaneous relief immediately afterwards. Individuals who present with moderate to severe pain may experience some minor discomfort for obvious reasons, however, care is always gentle, safe and noninvasive.

Do you have less education than a medical doctor?

The training and education endured by chiropractors is extremely thorough and demanding, similar to that of medical doctors with the exception of pharmacology and surgery.

Prior to entering chiropractic college, the aspiring chiropractor requires 2-4 years (depending on the college attended and the state one wishes to practice in) of premed undergraduate studies. Once completed, the student must next complete 4-5 academic years of studies at a chiropractic college. This includes extensive training in anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, radiology, differential diagnosis, chiropractic adjustive techniques, biomechanics , and other health-related studies. In addition, prior to graduation each student must successfully complete several hundred clinical hours of "real" patient management in a clinical setting under professional supervision. Most chiropractic colleges also require students to partake in clinical externship programs which place them in actual chiropractic offices, further enhancing their clinical practice skills.

Near or soon after graduation, the new doctors of chiropractic must successfully complete rigorous National and State Board examinations prior to obtaining a license to practice chiropractic. Once licensed, most states require that chiropractors receive annual continuing education to ensure that a high level of competency is maintained.

Is chiropractic care scientific?

Chiropractors have always sought to provide the safest and most effective healing methods for their patients. In order to achieve this, the chiropractic profession has been dedicated to conducting scientific studies to improve their diagnostic methods and treatment techniques. In the last 20 years chiropractic health care has established an impressive array of scientific research that demonstrates the efficacy, safety and cost effectiveness of chiropractic care. There are many further studies currently underway, and several have been performed by medical doctors and government researchers in both the U.S. and a number of other countries. In fact, the chiropractic profession has accumulated a greater number of scientific trials on chiropractic than the medical profession has accumulated for many of the treatments rendered by medical doctors.

According to David M. Edy, M.D., Ph.D., professor of health policy and management with Duke University, North Carolina, only 15 percent of all medical interventions are supported by solid scientific evidence. Paul G. Shekelle, M.D., M.P.H., of the RAND Corporation made the following statement on ABC's 20/20: "There are considerably more randomized controlled trials which show benefit of this (chiropractic care) than there are for many, many other things which physicians and neurosurgeons do all the time."

Do you only treat back pain?

Chiropractors provide effective treatment for all types of soft tissue disorders and not just back and neck ailments. This includes conditions of the joints of the extremities like the ankle, knee and shoulder.

What you may not be aware of is chiropractic's success in treating a number of non-soft tissue conditions like dysmenorrhea (painful menses), ulcers, migraine headaches, and ear infections in children. While we cannot claim to cure these conditions, we believe that many of these problems can be mimicked, aggravated and some times caused by disruptions in the nervous system as a result of spinal abnormalities. By correcting these spinal abnormalities like the vertebral subluxation, chiropractic has helped thousands of individuals overcome these conditions and regain control of their lives.

A number of studies have also supported these findings. In one such study, spinal manipulative therapy was compared with standard medical treatments in the treatment of duodenal ulcers. The researchers Pikalov, MD, and Kharin, MD, found those subjects receiving spinal manipulations took an average of 16 days to heal vs. 26 days to heal in the standard medical treatment group. (1. JMPT 1994;17(5):310-313)