What conditions do chiropractors treat?

Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) care for  patients of all ages, with a variety of health conditions.  DCs are  especially well known for their expertise in caring for patients with  back pain, neck pain and headaches...particularly with their highly  skilled  manipulations or chiropractic adjustments. They also care for  patients with a wide range of injuries and disorders of the  musculoskeletal system, involving the muscles, ligaments and joints.  These painful conditions often involve or impact the nervous system,  which can cause referred pain and dysfunction distant to the region of  injury. DCs also counsel patients on diet, nutrition, exercise, healthy  habits, and occupational and lifestyle modification. 

Is chiropractic treatment safe?

Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free,  non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of  neuromusculoskeletal complaints. Although chiropractic has an excellent  safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential  adverse effects. The risks associated with chiropractic, however, are  very small. Many patients feel immediate relief following chiropractic  treatment, but some may experience mild soreness, stiffness or aching,  just as they do after some forms of exercise. Current research shows  that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation  typically fades within 24 hours.

Does chiropractic treatment require a referral from an MD?

A referral is usually not needed to see a  doctor of chiropractic (DC); however, your health plan may have  specific referral requirements. You may want to contact your employer’s  human resources department—or the insurance plan directly—to find out if  there are any referral requirements. Most plans allow you to just call  and schedule an appointment with a DC. 

Is chiropractic treatment appropriate for children?

Yes, children can benefit from  chiropractic care. Children are very physically active and experience  many types of falls and blows from activities of daily living as well as  from participating in sports. Injuries such as these may cause many  symptoms including back and neck pain, stiffness, soreness or  discomfort. Chiropractic care is always adapted to the individual  patient. It is a highly skilled treatment, and in the case of children,  very gentle.

How is a chiropractic adjustment performed?

Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation  is a manual procedure that utilizes the highly refined skills developed  during the doctor of chiropractic’s intensive years of chiropractic  education. The chiropractic physician typically uses his or her  hands--or an instrument--to manipulate the joints of the body,  particularly the spine, in order to restore or enhance joint function.  This often helps resolve joint inflammation and reduces the patient's  pain. Chiropractic manipulation is a highly controlled procedure that  rarely causes discomfort. The chiropractor adapts the procedure to meet  the specific needs of each patient. Patients often note positive changes  in their symptoms immediately following treatment. 

Is chiropractic treatment ongoing?

The hands-on nature of the chiropractic  treatment is essentially what requires patients to visit the  chiropractor a number of times. To be treated by a chiropractor, a  patient needs to be in his or her office. In contrast, a course of  treatment from medical doctors often involves a pre-established plan  that is conducted at home (i.e. taking a course of antibiotics once a  day for a couple of weeks). A chiropractor may provide acute, chronic,  and/or preventive care thus making a certain number of visits sometimes  necessary. Your doctor of chiropractic should tell you the extent of  treatment recommended and how long you can expect it to last.