What is an Adjustment? An Adjustment refers to the gentle and precise movement of a joint or joints in your body as performed by a Chiropractor. During an adjustment you will be placed in a comfortable position and movement will be induced into the problem joint. At the time of the adjustment you may hear a “popping” sound similar to someone “popping” their knuckles. The sound is produced as the joint is moved. A vacuum is produced in the joint and gas “pops” to the surface. The adjustment returns normal function to your joints which, in turn allows the body to begin the healing process. Think of it as knocking the rust off of your joints.
What’s the difference between a Chiropractor and a Physical Therapist? Chiropractors are doctors who are trained in the diagnosis of disease in the human body. The vast majority of Physical therapists do not have a doctorate and they have not received the training for diagnosis of human disorders. Chiropractors and physical therapists are similar in that they work towards normalizing the function of the physical body. Physical therapists focus on the muscular system trying to re-establish normal strength and function. Almost all physical therapists have not received proper training in the manipulation of joints. Chiropractors, on the other hand, receive extensive training in both joint manipulation and in treating muscular dysfunction. Many patients can benefit from the utilization of both a Chiropractor and physical therapist when working towards improved health. We will not hesitate to refer you to a physical therapist if the need arises.
What’s the difference between a Chiropractor and a Osteopathic Doctor (D.O.)? Osteopathic Doctors, who have the degree of D.O. instead of M.D., are basically medical doctors who tend to be more open to natural means of treating the body. Some D.O.’s do perform manipulation of the spine. However, a osteopathic manipulation is very different from a chiropractic manipulation. Osteopathic doctors, in general, do not receive extensive training in manipulation as is the case with a chiropractor. The vast majority of osteopaths perform only basic manipulations. Thus, chiropractors are generally much more adept at performing manipulation as compared to osteopaths. You can benefit from having both a chiropractor and osteopathic doctor on your team.
Will I have to come back forever? Some people will say that once you go to a chiropractor you will have to go back forever. Kind of like a black hole from which you can never escape. The most important point to keep in mind is that of your own personal goals. Typically, we all share the goal of wanting good health. We have become a society, though, that wants the quick fix. We have learned to ignore our bodies and the way it communicates problems to us through a commonly used messenger called “pain.” Chiropractic patients learn to listen to their bodies and to take action when something is not exactly right. If this means that a chiropractic adjustment is appropriate, then they get adjusted. Does this last forever? We sure hope so! What you will never experience at our clinic is the “come back forever to make us a bunch of money” sales job!
Can a chiropractor cure any condition? One area that causes the medical community and general population to have a negative view of chiropractic is the notion that chiropractors believe they can cure all disease with an adjustment. In fact, there are chiropractors who believe this and feel that all you need for ANY condition are a bunch of adjustments. People who hear this then think all chiropractors hold this belief even though this line of thinking is shared by only a few. But, how could anyone with any intelligence hold this ridiculous view? It stems from the fact that we do sometimes see miraculous cures from adjustments with ailments that seemingly have no connection with the spine. Infantile Colic is a good example. We have personally seen infants cured of colic after receiving adjustments. The explanation for this cure is that interruption of vital nervous system information coming to and from the spine can have a negative effect on the function of the end organ. In the case of Infantile Colic, the end organ is the intestines. The disruption of proper nervous system informational flow causes symptoms of cramping and pain for the baby. Reducing this nerve information interruption with the adjustment provides the observed benefit. However, taking this theory to the extent of curing all disease is quite a leap. Some are comfortable with this leap, we are not. We know from our experience that disease is rarely caused by one factor.
What problems can a chiropractor treat? Chiropractors treat a wide variety of conditions. Treating low back or neck pain are the conditions most often associated with Chiropractors. The list of conditions below shows just a few of the ones that can be successfully treated by chiropractic. Neck Pain Whiplash Pain Headaches Low back pain Leg pain Sciatic pain Mid-back pain Shoulder pain Rotator Cuff pain Frozen shoulder Tennis Elbow Golfer’s Elbow Wrist pain Muscle pulls Hand pain Hand numbness Knee pain Ankle pain Plantar Faciitis Scoliosis Hip pain Arthritis pain Infantile Colic Fibromyalgia “Slipped” disc Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Are there any side-effects that can be experienced from Chiropractic care? Chiropractic care is a form of physical medicine and the side-effects are similar to those experienced with physical therapy. The most common are short-term increases in muscle soreness or stiffness that can range from extremely light to significant in intensity. These symptoms occur in a minority of patients, however. Most patients experience significant relief without any side-effects. A number of our patients inform us that their medical doctors, especially neurologists, tell them to never let a chiropractor adjust their necks due to the risk of stroke. Statistics show that you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than getting a stroke from chiropractic adjustments. Taking a drug for a headache is far more dangerous! Evidence in support of this can be found by looking at malpractice insurance premiums. We pay about $1,000/year while neurologists pay this amount for 2 weeks of premiums. In our sue anyone for anything society, our premiums would be outrageous if the claims of adjustments commonly causing strokes were valid. This recommendation to not seek chiropractic care is based on bias and lack of education about the profession. Next time ask your doctor if they have ever been adjusted or even personally viewed someone being adjusted. After they answer NO, you will know that their opinion is not based on experience or fact. The bottom line is that chiropractic adjustments are among the safest procedures performed in medicine today.
How long should I expect it to take before I feel better? There is often significant reduction in symptoms immediately or shortly following the chiropractic adjustment. This is not always the case, however. Your response to chiropractic care depends on numerous factors including the amount of time you have had your symptoms, the cause of your symptoms, the number of symptoms, the number of biomechanical dysfunctions you have, the presence of arthritis, your weight, your activity or lack there of, your levels of stress, the amount of time you sit during the day, computer use, your level of participation in performing stretches or completing strengthening exercises as prescribed, or your history of past injury to name only a few. As you can see, many factors can affect your response to treatments. The goal of chiropractic treatment is to restore movement and/or proper function to your body. Many times the underlying cause of your symptoms has been functioning improperly for a significant amount of time, most likely much longer than you’ve been experiencing pain. That being said, it is reasonable and probable that it will take a little time and some effort on your part to see a reduction or resolution of your symptoms. We will constantly evaluate your progress and will make necessary changes in our treatment protocols to ensure the shortest course of treatment to resolve your problem. Communication is key so ask as many questions as possible. We definitely value your input and feedback.
What is the true cause of my pain? Only a small percentage of cases we see are related to trauma. Most people wake up with pain or are doing some normal activity when symptoms arise. It is not uncommon for someone to have their first real pain while getting out of bed, washing their hair, spitting out toothpaste, vacuuming the floor, or picking something up off of the floor like a piece of paper. We are constantly asked “why” this happened for no apparent reason. The answer to this question goes to the heart of why the commonly held view of “take this to get rid of the symptoms” is misguided. This misguided logic goes on to the conclusion that the lack of symptoms means that everything is O.K. How, then, do you explain why someone wakes up or picks up a pen and gets symptoms out of the blue? The answer is simply that the body had lost normal function sometime prior to the onset of the symptom and finally could not adapt any longer. The result is a stronger message being sent, usually as pain. But, what was the event that caused loss of function prior to the onset? The answer to this question explains, in part, why we have become symptom chasers. We can all agree that the weight of the pen picked up from the floor was not the true cause of the symptom. The problem is that the true causal event may have been weeks, months, or years earlier. To complicate matters even further, there may have been more than one event coupled together to cause the eventual symptom. Identifying the true cause can sometimes be very difficult. Nonetheless, the ultimate underlying problem is a loss of normal function.
Can chiropractic help with preventing pain in the future? Prevention is the idea of taking action now to reduce the risk of future symptoms. Getting chiropractic care on a regular basis falls into this category. We have many patients who get adjusted to prevent future problems. When we ask them how they are feeling, they many times will say they have “NO PAIN.” They are typically amazed, during the course of our exam, how many areas in their back are very tender to light touch. These are what we call pre-symptom areas. If the lack of proper function exists long enough, the chances of experiencing an untimely symptom increases dramatically. The solution is to get adjusted on a regular basis. This preventative measure re-establishes proper movement in your spine to ensure proper health. How often you get adjusted depends on your specific needs and lifestyle. We have patients who get adjusted every month and we have patients who get adjusted four times a year. They get adjusted even when they are feeling “NO PAIN.” Prevention makes much more sense than symptom chasing.