What to Expect



Chiropractors, who are also called doctors of chiropractic, use a type of "hands-on" therapy called joint manipulation (or adjustment) as their core clinical procedure. Chiropractors often treat lower back pain and musculoskeletal conditions such as arthitris. Chiropractic treatments may be valuable for the relief of problems with the muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissues.

How To Know a Chiropractor is Legitimate

Chiropractors form the largest group of natural medicine practitioners. Like any large group of people, there are some that are legitimate and others you need to be careful of. How do you separate the wheat from the chaff? This article give the basics of how chiropractors come to practice medicine.

1. Education
U.S. Chiropractors must complete 4-5 years of advanced study from one of the 15 Chiropractic Colleges that are accreditated by the Council on Chiropractic Education. To be accepted into chiropractic school, candidates must have at least 3 years of undergraduate training. So, all in all, a Chiropractor will have a minimum of 7 years of schooling in preparation for their career. Chiropractic education includes an internship.

2. License
Chiropractors are licensed by the state in which they practice. All 50 U.S. states license chiropractors. In addition to completing the educational requirements stated in Step 1, licensing is also contingent upon satisfactory completion of state and national exams. Qualified continuing education each year is also required for relicensing of chiropractors. Continued education for chiropractors is offered by chiropractic associations.

Although they are physicians, Chiropractors choose not to perform surgery or prescribe drugs. This is because they believe in the body's innate power to heal itself. You may want to ask yourself - is this an idea you can buy into? Interview the doctor to learn more about his or her attitude toward health. Also, some chiropractors are way out there, while others remain virtually unaware of the holistic healing field. Where in this spectrum of natural medicine do you feel comfortable and safe?

Diagnosis of Conditions
Taking X-rays is sometimes indicated in diagnosing spinal conditions. The decision to take an X-ray is at the skilled discretion of the doctor. However, chiropractic techniques exist that do not use X-rays at all. Be aware-by blindly investing in one type of technique, especially one that does not allow a non-partial view of the spine, if need be, the risk for iatrogenic injury is there.

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches. Doctors of Chiropractic – often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians – practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.

The most common therapeutic procedure performed by doctors of chiropractic is known as “spinal manipulation,” also called “chiropractic adjustment.” The purpose of manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile – or restricted in their movement – as a result of a tissue injury. Tissue injury can be caused by a single traumatic event, such as improper lifting of a heavy object, or through repetitive stresses, such as sitting in an awkward position with poor spinal posture for an extended period of time. In either case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain, and diminished function for the sufferer. Manipulation, or adjustment of the affected joint and tissues, restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, and allowing tissues to heal.

Chiropractic adjustment rarely causes discomfort. However, patients may sometimes experience mild soreness or aching following treatment (as with some forms of exercise) that usually resolves within 12 to 48 hours.

In many cases, such as lower back pain, chiropractic care may be the primary method of treatment. When other medical conditions exist, chiropractic care may complement or support medical treatment by relieving the musculoskeletal aspects associated with the condition.

Doctors of chiropractic may assess patients through clinical examination, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging and other diagnostic interventions to determine when chiropractic treatment is appropriate or when it is not appropriate. Chiropractors will readily refer patients to the appropriate health care provider when chiropractic care is not suitable for the patient’s condition, or the condition warrants co-management in conjunction with other members of the health care team.                          

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