We have accumulated the most common questions amongst our patients and put them all in one place!
Common questions and answers
What is chiropractic?
Chiropractic is the healthcare profession that focuses on optimizing the body’s ability to function and heal itself by removing interference from the nervous system. Doctors of Chiropractic use no drugs or surgery, rather, they apply gentle and specific adjustments to spinal misalignments, easing tension on the body and restoring the brain-body connection.
AREN'T CHIROPRACTORS BACK AND NECK DOCTORS?
Chiropractors do focus on the spine, but not for reasons people may think. The spine is the lifeline to the body. The brain must communicate to every organ, muscle, gland, and tissue in order to regulate their function. The brain does this through spinal nerves that exit between vertebrae and travel to their target tissues. In addition to causing pain and restricted motion, spinal misalignments interfere with the regulatory signals to the body from the brain. This can predispose one to dysfunction, pain and further problems. Chiropractors address the cause and often the symptoms take care of themselves. Ultimately its bout how well the brain can communicate with the rest of the body and vice versa!
I'M NOT IN PAIN, SHOULD I STILL SEE A CHIROPRACTOR?
Yes! Its important that we all get checked for spinal alignment by a chiropractor. Misalignments will often interfere with the body’s function and not present with pain. Since less than 20% of nerves actually carry pain signals, one can have altered communication along the other 80% of those pathways and not have a hint of discomfort. Additionally, pain commonly results from one part of the body compensating for another part that is not functioning properly. If all we did was address the pain, we would never find the cause! The definition of health is NOT the absence of pain or symptoms!
ARE CHIROPRACTORS "REAL" DOCTORS?
What does “real doctor” even mean? A doctor is someone who specializes in the healing arts, a physician who holds an advanced degree and a license to practice, a person who is qualified to care for people who are sick or injured. So, yes, by definition and by scope of practice, chiropractors are real doctors. Obviously Doctors of Chiropractic differ in many ways from Medical Doctors, but much of the education is actually very similar. Hours spent studying the structure and function of the human body is almost identical. The knowledge that the body has the innate ability to self heal is shared in both professions. The biggest difference between the doctor of medicine and the doctor of chiropractic is the tools they use; MDs use pharmaceuticals to make changes within the body, DCs use specific adjustments to the spine and other joints. Its not about the MD or the DC, its about what the patient needs to heal. Today we see these professions coming together and working as a team in many cases to deliver the best possible care to patients.
ARE CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS SAFE?
Yes, Chiropractic adjustments are safe!
Records from insurance and court cases have constantly shown that chiropractic is the safest portal-of-entry health care available to the public today. Although no healthcare procedures are 100% safe, chiropractic’s record of safety and effectiveness is unmatched in healthcare.
The chiropractic adjustment is a safe, gentle procedure which is performed nearly one million times every working day in the United States. There is a significant lack of data that would support that chiropractic care is in any way harmful or dangerous. Chiropractic care is non-invasive, therefore, the body’s response to chiropractic care is far more predictable than its reactions to drug treatments or surgical procedures. Of the nearly one million adjustments given every day in this country, complications are exceedingly rare.
The gentle and specific nature of the chiropractic adjustment ensures safety for everyone from the new-born baby to the elderly patient.
HOW DOES "CRACKING BACKS" HELP MY PAIN?
This is a common question thanks to youtube compilations of chiropractors adjusting. The goal of the adjustment is not actually to get a crack or pop. The goal is not even to relieve pain or other symptoms. The goal is to reduce the bone’s misalignment in order to remove interference from the nervous system and restore proper function.
The “crack” is a result of gapping the joints during the adjustment. Each joint has fluid that lubricates the surfaces and allows it to move smoothly. When the joint is gapped, negative pressure occurs, forming gas bubbles in the joint fluid. The sound we hear is the popping of those bubbles within the joint. Often referred to as an audible, a cavitation or as tribonucleation, the sound we hear is not good indicator of a successful adjustment, as we can have a great realignment with no sound, or gap joints for a big audible but still have a misalignment causing nerve interference.
I CAN CRACK MY OWN NECK AND BACK, WHATS THE DIFFERENCE?
Self-adjusting or cracking our own backs is not quite the same as when a chiropractor delivers an adjustment. When we adjust ourselves, there is really no evaluation before or after. We just rotate the spine to bring a region to tension and then give a thrust, hoping to hear a pop and feel some relief, but what is actually happening? When we adjust ourselves like this we are gapping all of the most freely movable (hypermobile) joints, as opposed to the stuck (fixated) joints that are actually causing nervous system and biomechanical dysfunction. We may get relief, but it is almost always temporary. Of course we also run the risk of hurting ourselves by doing this or promoting spinal degeneration.
Contrast this with the chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractors use methods to objectively evaluate spinal and neurologic function. Chiropractors locate the fixated joints, restricted of movement and contributing to neurologic interference. Once the segment is identified as misaligned, one needs to know HOW it is misaligned in order to determine the correct vector to re-align the bone. Once the adjustment is delivered, a thorough chiropractor will perform post-checks, these ensure the adjustment was successful the body is in a better position to heal itself. The evaluation and adjustment is an art that the chiropractor practices for countless hours. Its best to leave the evaluation and care of our body’s lifeline in the well-trained hands of the leading experts in spinal health.
If you are a self-adjuster, please go see your local chiropractor. You will feel the difference!
What about cracking my knuckles, toes, and other joints? These joints we don’t worry about self-adjusting quite as much, for a few reasons. #1 these joints do not have the same association with the nerve system as the spine does. #2 these joints dont’s have discs that could be injured by an untrained rotary manipulation. #3 these joints don’t have interlocking joints that determine their plane of movement as with the facets in the spine.
I HEARD ONCE YOU GO TO A CHIROPRACTOR, YOU HAVE TO GO FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, IS THIS TRUE?
This is a common chiropractic myth. Of course just going once doesn’t mean you’d have to go for the rest of your life, but many patients choose to! Patients that chose to do this for themselves and their families truly understand chiropractic and the impact of an interference-free nerve system on their health and function. Think of it like going to the dentist: We all go for the occasional check-up and cleaning, but we also manage our dental hygiene in between visits with brushing and flossing. Chiropractors are the spinal hygiene experts and the subluxation and spinal decay is like the dental cavity and tooth decay. Exercise, diet and yoga are great for self care, but chiropractors are the only ones who can detect and correct these spinal deficiencies, just like dentists are the only ones to go to for a cavity or root canal.
We hear a lot about dental hygiene and preventative care, but not so much about spinal hygiene, despite the global impact of the nerve system on the body.
It is no secret across health care professions that spinal decay negatively affects the nerve system and overall quality of life. Whats your spinal hygiene routine?