Frequently Asked Questions

What is chiropractic care?

Chiropractic care is primarily focused on two things: pain reduction and pain prevention.  The first, pain reduction, is achieved by utilizing passive modalities.  These could include: ultrasound, soft tissue work, traction, electrical muscle stimulation, acupuncture, kinesiology taping, manipulation, and others.  Once pain reduction is achieved the primary focus switches to pain prevention.  During this phase the goal is to allow the patient to go about their daily activities without the pain returning.  This usually means a little homework for the patient.  A lot of times chiropractors will give specific exercises, advice on how to set up your workstation ergonomically, nutritional advice, or other lifestyle modifications.  These are all ways to help with the long term success of pain prevention.

What is a chiropractic adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment or manipulation may seem kind of scary at first but is actually very safe and effective at reducing pain and treating many conditions.  Your spine is an extremely complex structure that protects your nervous system and allows for flexibility of movement.  It is comprised of segments known as vertebrae that are separated by intervertebral discs.  Throughout each and every day, wear and tear is placed upon the spine especially during long periods of sitting, standing, or repetitive lifting.  This wear and tear can damage the ligaments and other structures between these vertebral segments that can cause pain and inflammation.  This pain and inflammation causes scar tissue to form, which limits movement.  This decreases flexibility at this level and forces the other segments of the spine to “pick up the slack”, which can result in aches and pains at the levels above and below.

Chiropractic manipulation restores movement to these areas.  Chiropractors are trained extensively at finding and adjusting the specific levels that aren’t moving as well as the others.  In addition to restoring motion this also provides neurologic inhibition of the pain which can reduce muscle spasms, trigger points, and other pain at and around those levels.

Is chiropractic care safe?

Chiropractic care is extremely safe for people of all ages as each treatment is specific to each individual.  This means that patients who are 6 months old are of course treated by much more gentle techniques than what would be used on a 25 year old.  This is also true of elderly patients whose bone density is oftentimes significantly lower than when they were in the 40’s or 50’s.   In all cases it is extremely safe and very beneficial.  However, mild adverse effects are sometimes experienced.  These usually consist of mild soreness or stiffness that lasts 24 hours or less.  As with any form of health care, more significant adverse effects are possible but in the case of chiropractic they are extremely rare.

What types of health problems do chiropractors treat effectively?

Chiropractors are skilled at treating all types of musculoskeletal conditions.  While oftentimes most of the emphasis is put on low back or headache type problems they are also very proficient at treating problems involving all of the other joints in the body.  This includes anything from carpal tunnel to rotator cuff problems to knee pain, sports injuries, plantar fasciitis and anything in between.

Is it OK to see a chiropractor if I’m pregnant?

Yes, it is extremely safe to see a chiropractor when you are pregnant.  There are lots of women who experience back pain and other joint pain during their pregnancy and chiropractic is one of the few treatment options that are safe for both mother and baby.  There is even a specific chiropractic technique that is designed to optimize pelvic alignment.  This technique has been shown to encourage babies who are positioned breech to turn head down.   It is called the Webster technique and in a study published in 2002 in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics it showed an 82% success rate of baby’s turning vertex with the use of this technique.  In addition, chiropractic care can be very beneficial at helping maintain a pain free and healthy pregnancy.

Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 25, July/August 2002.