Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Difference between a Chiropractic Doctor and a Medical Doctor?
Do I Have A Pinched Nerve?
How Do You Get Subluxations?
How Do I Know If I Have A Subluxation?
Can Subluxations Clear Up on their Own?
Do Chiropractic Adjustments/Treatments Hurt?
Will Adjustments Make My Spine Loose or Cause Arthritis?
What Makes The Sound?
Are All Patients Adjusted The Same Way?
How Many Adjustments Will I Need?
Can I Have Chiropractic Care After Having Surgery?
Can Patients With Osteoporosis Get Care?
How Long Before I'll Feel Better?
How Long Will I Need Chiropractic?
Do Chiropractors Prescribe Medication?
Do Medical Practitioners Recommend Chiropractic?
How Do I Know if my Insurance Will Cover Chiropractic and What If They don't?
Will I Ever Be Right Again?
What If It Doesn't Work?
I've Been to Many Doctors for My Condition and No Matter What They Do, I Don't Get Better. Why Would Going to a Chiropractor Get Me Better?
Will I Have to Disrobe?
Is Any Process of the Exam Painful?
What's the Biggest Mistake People Make When Considering Going to a Chiropractor?
Do I Have to Go to a Chiropractor Forever Once I Begin Care?
Why Is Maintenance Care Important?
How Does Chiropractic Work?
Is Chiropractic Care Safe?
Am I Too Old For Chiropractic Care?
Do Children Need Chiropractic Care?
Is Chiropractic Care Addictive?
Is It OK to See a Chiropractor If I'm Pregnant?
Why Do Chiropractors Take X-Rays?
Do I Have A Slipped Disc?
Is There a Connection Between a Stroke and Chiropractic Treatment?
Are You Accepting New Patients?
It takes eight years of education and training to become a Doctor of Chiropractic. The Doctor of Chiropractic first completes pre-chiropractic studies at a college or university. The Doctor of Chiropractic studies all the basic sciences and must pass the State Board of Examiners' basic sciences examination. This is the same basic sciences examination other doctors, including MDs, are required to pass. He or she attends a college of chiropractic for four years, which must include an externship at an outpatient clinic where he or she gets real world experience in a clinical and academic setting. After graduating from Chiropractic College, like an M.D., he or she must pass the State Board exam in the State he or she wishes to practice in and in many states continuing education seminars must be completed for annual license renewal.
Required courses of study for a chiropractic doctorate include anatomy, physiology, pathology, chemistry, bacteriology, diagnosis, neurology, X-ray, psychiatry, obstetrics, as well as specialized chiropractic courses. Because of this intense education, today's chiropractor is qualified and capable of relieving a wider range of ailments, pain and suffering than ever before. Included here is a comparison of basic educational requirements for medical school graduates and doctors of chiropractic.
|Medical Class Hours
||Chiropractic Class Hours
||Other Required Subjects
|Spinal Adjustment, Manipulation,
|GRAND TOTAL HOURS
Because of the way your spine is designed, abnormal spinal function caused from physical trauma, emotional tensions, or chemical toxins can affect the delicate tissues of the spinal cord and nerve roots.
While commonly associated with the spine, the pinched nerve (compressive lesion) is actually rare. Researchers suggest that only 10% to 15% of spine related problems are caused by direct pressure of bone on nerve tissue! This can result in numbness, burning, or a "pins and needles" feeling.
More frequently, nerves are irritated (facilitative lesion). This is caused when nerve tissue is rubbed, scraped, stretched by a loss of spinal curve, or irritated by malfunctioning spinal joints.
Three basic causes of subluxations exist. Emotional causes such as anger, fear, displeasure and grief can cause subluxations. Chemical causes include the air we breathe, such as pollution and poor diet. The most devastating is the Structural or Physical causes which include slips and falls, accidents, repetitive motions, improper lifting and poor posture.
You can have subluxations and never even know it. Like the early stages of tooth decay or cancer, subluxations can be present long before any warning signs appear. The results of a thorough examination can show the location and severity of any subluxations you may have.
Sometimes they can. However, today's hectic lifestyles are a constant source of subluxations. Fortunately, our bodies have the ability to self correct many of these problems as we bend and stretch, or when we sleep at night. When subluxations don't resolve, you need to see a chiropractic doctor!
Most don't. The chiropractor will be as gentle as possible, and use only the minimum force necessary to treat you. If there is any discomfort, it is of short duration. Patients describe their adjustments as relieving tightness, pressure, and pain. The more relaxed you are during your treatment, the more comfortable it should be.
No. Only the spinal joints that are "locked up" receive adjustments. This allows weakened muscles and ligaments to stabilize and heal. If these joints remain "locked up" arthritis will occur more rapidly.
The sound is made when the gas and fluids in the joint shift. It's much like opening a bottle. When opened the gas and fluids in the joint shift and make the popping sound. The sound, however interesting, isn't a guide to the quality of the adjustment.
No. Each patient's care is custom tailored for their age, condition and health goals. Although it may seem similar it can be quite different as is each patient's spine. The doctor evaluates each patient's unique spinal problem and develops an individual course of care. The resulting recommendations are based upon years of training and experience.
Patients notice that their chiropractic care is delivered with confidence and precision. Each visit builds on the one before. And while visits may seem similar, each patient's care is uniquely different from every other patient.
Sometimes I Have a Friend Walk on My Back or I Just Adjust Myself by Twisting Really Hard. Is this Bad for Me?
We have seen and heard of every way imaginable to try to adjust one's self. From having a friend walk on your back to leaning over the back of the chair to having a friend lift and shake you from behind. Unfortunately, this type of joint manipulation is usually counterproductive, often making an already unstable area of the spine even more unsteady. Adjusting the spine is not for amateurs!
The best way to enjoy the healthful benefits of chiropractic is to receive adjustments from a Doctor of Chiropractic. Even your doctor must seek out the services of another colleague to help restore and maintain proper spinal function. Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force, applied in a specific direction, to a specific spinal joint, it is virtually impossible to adjust oneself.
The answer is different for each person and their condition. Naturally, the more complicated, severe, or long-standing conditions require more treatments. This also varies with each patient and their health goals. Many patients realize benefit within a week or two of frequent visits. Visits are less often as your spine stabilizes. In chronic cases, complete healing can take months or years.
Normally, you can expect to be treated frequently when beginning care, especially when your pain is frequent or causes disruption from your normal activities. In this way, the doctors can monitor your condition closely and provide appropriate treatment. Your treatments will be spaced further apart as your condition improves.
Yes. Rest assured that your chiropractic doctor will avoid the surgically modified areas of your spine. Surgery often causes instability above or below the involved level. These areas will be the focus of your chiropractic care.
Of course. When developing a care plan, your chiropractic doctor considers the unique circumstances of each patient. There are many ways to adjust the spine. The method selected will be best suited to your age, size and condition.
Some patients experience almost instant relief. Others discover it can take many weeks or months. Many factors can affect the healing process. How long have you had your problem? Are you keeping your appointments? Are you getting the proper rest, exercise and nutrition? Do you smoke? Are you in good condition? Within a short period of time most patients sense enough progress to fully carry out their doctor's recommendations.
After patients get the relief they want, many choose to continue with some type of periodic care. These patients show up for their visits feeling great. These visits can help support the final stages of healing and help detect and resolve new problems before they become serious. Our job is to offer the very best care and your job is to decide how much of it you want.
No drugs, medications, or surgeries are performed by Doctors of Chiropractic. They focus on restoring proper function as a way of pain relief and optimal health. In many cases, drugs are used to cover up your pain but do nothing to "fix" the cause of your problem. Your chiropractor may recommend exercises, stretching, orthopedic supports, better nutrition, or vitamin and mineral supplements. He or she may also recommend application of ice, heat, or both.
Now more than ever medical practitioners are discovering the tremendous benefits of chiropractic and are recommending their patients to Chiropractors. Due to the increase in referrals, new networks are forming to bring Chiropractic Doctors and Medical Doctors together.
Each insurance plan is different. Most insurance plans have chiropractic benefits. Your insurance plan booklet or the customer service department at your insurance company should be able to give you specific benefits. You will want to ask about coverage for chiropractic examination, manipulation, x-rays, and therapy. Not all of these are necessary for everyone, but it will help you plan for expenses. Customer service should be able to give you information on your deductible, co-payments or co-insurance.
But be careful! Don't allow the profit motive of a huge corporation to make the decision for you. Find out how we make chiropractic care affordable for just about anyone.
Patient results vary. Many report improved spinal curves and the total resumption of their normal lifestyle. Those who neglected or delayed seeking care often see slower progress. After improvement, many patients discover that periodic chiropractic checkups can help avoid a relapse.
If we aren't unable to find the cause and improve the body's function, we will refer you to another specialist who may be able to help. Your health is our number one goal.
A misalignment of one or more of the 24 movable bones or "vertebrae" of your spine can irritate or cause pressure or pinching on spinal nerves and result in a serious health-robbing, damaging interference (irritation or blockage) to normal nerve control of your body. Since the brain controls all parts of your body through the nervous system, this nerve interference can cause pain and many health problems. It can also lower your body's resistance so that you become even more susceptible to contagious and infectious illness and disease. Therefore, if your problem is caused by a misalignment of one or more of the bones of your spine, only chiropractic care will get you better.
Rarely does the doctor need a patient to expose his or her back. Most treatments can be performed with normal clothes on. Once in a while the area of injury may need to be exposed to apply electrical muscle stimulation of to do massage on trigger points. If this is the case and you are a male, this means that you may have to take your shirt off. If you are a female this means that you may need to wear a gown over your bra that will cover up the front, and only expose the back of your neck, down to your lower back.
In virtually all cases, the exam is not painful at all. Chiropractors are specially trained to identify and diagnose misaligned vertebrae and related disorders without any grabbing, twisting or other invasive tests. We are gentle, and have complete empathy with your pain and suffering. Since we KNOW how much you hurt, we are very careful and cautious when doing exams.
That's easy. The biggest mistake is following the path of futile efforts of pain relief you've been following that you know don't work... and continue with them hoping some miracle will occur magically changing a proven failure, into a successful result! In fact, one definition of insanity is: Doing what you've always done that doesn't work... and expecting different results! So, the biggest mistake is to stay with treatment that does not solve the underlying cause of your pain without drugs or surgery, and that still causes you to suffer. Why not try a different, proven and scientifically substantiated method of health care that works WITH your body and its natural health restoration system? Why not give the fastest growing health care profession a shot? What have you got to lose except a few minutes of your time... and the pain you've been living with as your constant companion?
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 literally rotting.
Once we have eliminated your pain and rehabilitated the injured tissues we do 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.
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 and minimizes degenerative processes which enhances overall health and wellness.
Like regular dental check-ups, once patients experience the value of chiropractic, many will choose to continue on a maintenance schedule to prevent future problems. However long you decide to benefit from chiropractic is always up to you.
Pain Relief Centers of Arizona is not only dedicated to relieving pain and dysfunction from injury or disease but we also place great emphasis on maintenance or wellness care. We advocate periodic spinal exams and treatment if needed to:
- Help the body function at its optimal potential
- Relieve those minor recurrent aches and pains that just "don't go away"
- Prevent recurrence of prior neck and back pain
- Help the body use its energy more efficiently (sports, work, and daily activities)
- Reduce potential for early breakdown and degeneration of structure
Maintenance and preventative care is important at any occupation. Trauma can be experienced at birth, from falls, through minor injuries, in sports, and from occupations or activities for which we are not prepared. The elderly benefit greatly due to multiple health issues, joint degeneration, muscle and joint pain.
Improved function leads to a healthy lifestyle. Tell your friends and family about the benefits of staying well....starting with spinal care.
Safety and Chiropractic
Chiropractic works because you are a self healing, self-regulating organism, which is controlled by your nervous system. Signals and instructions flow from your brain, down the spinal cord and out to every organ, muscle, cell and tissue. Signals are then sent back to the brain to confirm if your body is working right.
Improper motion and/or position of the spinal bones causes a condition called subluxation. Subluxations interfere with the vital exchange of information by irritating the nerves, which alters the function of organs and tissues. Specific spinal adjustments help improve mind/body communications. Health may then return with improved nervous system control of the body.
Yes! In the words of the New Zealand government's inquiry, chiropractic care is "remarkably safe."
Chiropractic has an excellent safety record. It is the result of a conservative approach to health that avoids invasive procedures or addictive drugs.
A thorough case history and examination help reveal areas of the spine that may be causing nervous system malfunction. This information will be used to determine the best course of care for each patient.
Chiropractic care is a natural approach to better health that is proven safe and effective.
The argument about safety concerns is an example of “junk science” and a perennial favorite by those who have an interest in discouraging people from seeking chiropractic care.
Due of the popularity of this tactic, year after year it has been the subject of countless research projects. The result of these studies show complications from neck adjustments, the supposedly "riskiest" chiropractic procedure, are exceedingly rare:
- 1972 – One death in several tens of million adjustments.1
- 1978 – One in 10,000,000 neck adjustments.2
- 1981 – One in a 1,000,000 neck adjustments.3
- 1983 – Two to three per 1,000,000 adjustments.4
- 1985 – One in 400,000 neck adjustments.5
- 1993 – One in 3,846,153 neck adjustments.6
- 1995 – One in 2,000,000 neck adjustments.7
- 1996 – One in 900,000 neck adjustments.8
In other words, cases of serious injury are practically nonexistent. By comparison, it makes the deaths caused by over-the-counter-pain-relievers (more than 1,500 each year) to be considerably more troubling!
Even risk-adverse insurance companies recognize the safety of today's chiropractic care. The premiums for malpractice insurance paid by chiropractors are a mere fraction of what medical practitioners must pay. Chiropractic care is safe.
• References •
1Maigne R. Orthopedic Medicine: A New Approach to Vertebral Manipulations. Springfield, Illinois, Charles C. Thomas. 1972; 155, 169.
2Cyriax J. Textbook of Orthopaedic Medicine. Vol 1. Diagnosis of soft tissue lesions (7th edition). London, Bailliere Tindall. 1978; 165.
3Hosek RS, Schram SB, Silverman H, Meyers JB. Cervical Manipulation. J Amer Med Assoc. 1981; 245:922.
4Gutmann G. Verletzungen der arteria vertebrailis durch manuelle therapie. Manuelle Medizin 1983; 21:2-14.
5Dvorak J, Orelli F. How dangerous is manipulation of the cervical spine? Manuel Med 1985; 2:1-4.
6Carey PF. A report on the occurrence of cerebrovasular accidents in chiropractic practice. J Canada Chiropractic Association 1993 (June);37 (2): 104-6.
7Dabbs V Lauretti WJ. A risk assessment of cervical manipulation vs NSAIDS for the treatment of neck pain. J Manip Physio Ther 1995 (Oct); 18 (8): 530-6.
8Klougart N, Leboeuf-Yde C, Rasmussen LR. Safety in Chiropractic Practice. J Manip Physiol Ther 1996 (Jul-Aug); 19 (6): 371-7.
More and more people are consulting chiropractic doctors, especially in their later years. With growing concerns about over-medication and the side effects of combining various prescription drugs, safe, natural chiropractic care is growing in popularity.
Restoring better spinal function can help improve mobility, vitality, endurance, and appetite. Many patients report improvement with arthritic symptoms and other chronic ailments often associated with the aging process.
The adjusting technique used by your doctor will be modified for maximum comfort and results.
As we get older and wiser, the simplicity and effectiveness of chiropractic care becomes more and more obvious.
Since significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns immediately checked for vertebral subluxation. Naturally, chiropractic adjusting procedures are adapted for the child's spine. Many childhood health complaints that are brushed off can be traced to the spine. Health problems that emerge in adulthood could often be prevented by having your children's spine checked by a chiropractor early. Most parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and are healthier than their peers.
No. If only it were, there would be more healthy people around and chiropractors would not get patients who last saw a chiropractor a few years ago when their back went out. It is possible to get used to feeling more balanced, less stressed, and more energetic as a result or regular chiropractic care. Chiropractic is not addictive, however, good health is.
Anytime is a good time for a better functioning nerve system. Pregnant mothers find that chiropractic adjustments improve their pregnancy and make delivery easier for themselves and their baby. Adjusting methods are always adapted to a patients size, weight, age, and condition of health. (Link to Pregnancy Section)
Chiropractors take x-rays to reveal the internal structure and alignment of the spine. It is hard to fix a car if you don't get under the hood. We are also concerned about underlying disease processes and disorders of the spine such as spinal deterioration, arthritis of the spine, abnormal development, bone spurs, disc disorders, tumors and spinal curvature. X-rays also provide a blueprint for correcting the spine back to optimal health and alignment.
The disc is a soft material "shock absorber." It has a outer ring which holds in a jelly like material. A "slipped disc" typically refers to a large variety of disc problems. However, because of the way the disc attaches to the spinal bones the disc can't slip. However, a disc can bulge, or tear, even herniate. Also, it can become thin and dry out. Lastly, it can collapse. But it can't slip. Back or neck pain with sharp, shooting pain down into an arm or leg is a sign that you may have herniated a disc. Usually some numbness, tingling or weakness in the arm or leg will be associated with the pain.
Would you think twice about cradling the phone on your shoulder, checking your blind spot while backing into a parking space or getting your hair shampooed at a salon? The risk of stroke from chiropractic care is no greater than it is from any of these everyday activities.
The source of public concern in this regard is a condition known as vertebral artery syndrome (VAS), which occurs when sudden head movements disrupt the blood flow in the vertebral artery, possibly leading to stroke. As the above examples illustrate, the risk of this complication arising from upper cervical (or neck) manipulation by a chiropractor is extremely remote. According to the 1996 RAND report, "The Appropriateness of Manipulation and Mobilization of the Cervical Spine," only one out of every one million chiropractic patients experiences VAS. To put it another way, you are five times more likely to get hit by lightning than to suffer VAS at the hands of a chiropractor.
Up to 75% of chiropractic patients receive cervical manipulation as part of their individual chiropractic care. It may be performed as part of your care for total spinal health and wellness, or for specific causes such as muscle tension and stiffness, headache or injury. After a detailed history and examination, if there is any indication that you would be at risk, your chiropractor will not include a neck adjustment in your treatment.
Yes! We accept them ENTHUSIASTICALLY. We love new faces, and appreciate your confidence to refer your friends and family.
• References •
Roy, Steven, M.D., and Irwin, Richard, Sports Medicine: Prevent, Evaluate, Management, and Rehabilitation, Prentice-Hall, Inc., (1983).
Kellet, John, Acute Soft Tissue Injuries - A Review of the Literature, Medicine, Science of Sports and Exercises, American College of Sports Medicine, Vol. 18, No. 5, (1986), pp 489-500.
Lewit, MUDr., Doc. DSC, Manipulative Therapy in Rehabilitation of the Motor System, Butterworth, (1985).
Kirkaldy, Willis, W.H., M.D., Managing Low Back Pain, Churchill Livingstone, (1988).
Buerger, Ph.D., Greenman, D.O., Validation of Spinal Manipulation, Charles C. Thomas Co., (1985).
Cailliet, Renee, M.D., Soft Tissue Pain and Disability, F.A. Davis Co., (1977).
Hans Selye, M.D., The Stresses of Life, McGraw-Hill, (1984).
Jackson, Ruth, M.D., The Cervical Syndrome, Charles C. Thomas Co., (1977).
Wolk, S., An Analysis of Florida Workers' Compensation Medical Claims for Back Related Injuries. Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research, Arlington, VA.
Netter, Ciba Collections, Vol. 1 Nervous System, Part 1, Anatomy and Physiology.
Chusid, Correlative Neuro-Anatomy and Functional Neurology, 9th Edition, Lange Medical Publication (1982).
White, A.A., M.D. and Panjabi, M.M., Ph.D., Clinical Biomechanics of the Spine, Lippincott, (1978).
Accident Facts, National Safety Council, 1992.
Dvorak, J., Orelli, B., How Dangerous is Manipulation to the Cervical Spine?, Manual Medicine, 2:1-4, 1985.
Cancer Statistics Review, U.S. National Institutes of Health, 1973-1988, 1991.
Gutmann, G., M.D., Injuries to the Vetebral Artery Caused by Manual Therapy, Manuelle Medizin, 21:2-14.2, 1983.
Hosek, et al, Cervical Manipulation, American Medical Association Journal, March 8, 1991.
Kleynhans, A., Complications of and Contraindications to Spinal Manipulative Therapy: Modern Developments in Principles and Practice of Chiropractic, Haldeman, S., Editor, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1980.
Langman, M. J., Ulcer Complications and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, American Journal of Medicine, February 22, 1988.
National Transportation Safety Board, 490 L'Enfant Plaza E., SW, Washington, DC 20594.
New Zealand Report; Report of the Commission of Inquiry, Government Printer, Wellington, New Zealand, 1979.
Rocha vs. Harris, 39 CCLT 279-283, (A Canadian case, expert testimony of Dr. Lawrence Clein, Neurosurgeon), 1987.
Statistical Abstracts of the U.S., 112th edition, Bernan Press, 1992.
Storm Data, National Climatic Data Center Publication, Asheville, NC.
Terrett, A., Vascular Accidents from Cervical Manipulation: A Report of 107 Cases, 17(1):15-24, and Vascular Accidents from Cervical Manipulation: The Mechanism, 17(4):131-144, Journal of the Australian Chiropractic Association, 1987.
The Chiropractic Report, Vol. 2, No. 3, Edited by Chapman-Smith, March, 1988.
Waddell, G., A New Clinical Model for the Treatment of Low Back Pain, Spine Magazine, 12(7):632-744, 1987.