What Is Wrong With Me?
Accurately identifying the cause of spinal pain or other discomfort almost always requires a thorough consultation and examination. Individuals should not assume their pain stems from the same problem, for example, their neighbor had, and thus what has helped their neighbor will help them. Just as every individual is unique and different from the next, so too are the health conditions they suffer and the treatments they require. Chiropractic doctors are highly trained in the diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue injuries and abnormalities common to the spine, extremities and rest of body. Rest assured that if you are suffering from back or neck problems, extremity problems or other health related ailments chiropractic can provide you with the effective professional relief you demand. If your condition is out of the chiropractic scope or would be more appropriately managed by another health care specialist, we will gladly and promptly make the necessary referral.
Can Chiropractic Help Me?
Chiropractic has helped millions of people worldwide suffering from all types of problems and not just back and neck ailments. Chiropractic works with the spinal column and it’s intimate relationship with the nervous system – the major controller of all bodily functions. By optimizing spinal column structure and biomechanics, irritation and stress are removed and health can once again be achieved. You may be surprised to learn that research studies have provided scientific evidence showing chiropractic care is not only effective in the treatment of back and neck ailments, but can also provide effective relief with children suffering from ear infections, women suffering from dysmenorrhea (painful menses), and a number of other seemingly “non-spinal” conditions. While it’s not prudent to guarantee relief from such conditions or claim to “treat” these conditions, chiropractic has successfully helped millions of individuals with all sorts of health conditions by positively affecting the nervous system. Of course, doctors of chiropractic are best known for their success in treating back and neck problems. Through the use of chiropractic spinal adjustments and other highly specialized chiropractic techniques, chiropractors have established themselves as the back and neck injury specialists. Many medical experts are now coming to understand the true effectiveness of chiropractic care and are recommending major changes in the way our health care system manages many common spinal problems. According to a recent Ontario Ministry of Health commissioned study on low-back pain, “A very good case can be made for making chiropractors the gatekeepers for management of low-back pain …”
How Long Will It Take?
While treatment lengths vary somewhat from person to person and from condition to condition, there are a few rules of thumb you can follow. First, newer injuries, if treated appropriately and immediately, tend to respond to fewer visits assuming that major tissue injury has not occurred. Many of these first time injuries can be effectively managed in as little as 3 to 4 visits. Conditions that have been present for greater than 3 months and recurring conditions are generally more stubborn and difficult to manage. Resolution may require 12 visits or more. The only sure way to determine how long your treatment will take is to schedule a consultation and/or examination. For those of you who believe in just waiting for the problem to “go away” on it’s own – understand that the longer your condition has been around, the more treatments it will eventually require to resolve.
How Much Will It Cost?
Costs vary and generally depend on the number of treatments required to effectively treat your condition. A number of studies have shown that chiropractic care is extremely cost effective when compared to other “medical” forms of care for similar conditions. According to the 1993 Manga Report, “There would be highly significant cost savings if more management of low-back pain was transferred from physicians to chiropractors. Users of chiropractic care have substantially lower health care costs, especially inpatient costs, than those who use medical care only.”
Do I Have To Keep Coming Back For Treatments?
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 out of your head. 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, minimizes degenerative processes, which enhances overall health and wellness.
Are Chiropractors Safe, Does It Hurt?
Chiropractic treatments are extremely safe for individuals of all ages – from infants to 100 year olds. Our treatments are safe because we only use natural and noninvasive methods of care. Research consistently shows that care from chiropractors is among the safest care available and is literally light years ahead of traditional medical care in terms of “safeness”. The treatments themselves are generally not painful. In fact, most patients look forward to their treatments as many experience instantaneous relief immediately afterwards. Individuals who present with moderate to severe pain may experience some minor discomfort for obvious reasons, however, care is always gentle, safe and noninvasive.
Is Chiropractic Care Safe During Pregnancy?
Chiropractic care during pregnancy is safe for both mother and fetus. Spinal adjustments are especially gentle during pregnancy as far less force is required to correct subluxations. This is due to the increase in hormones causing significant muscle and ligamentous relaxation. Special “adjustive” positions are also used to provide comfort and safety for both mom and fetus.
How Often Should I Receive Chiropractic Care During My Pregnancy?
The frequency of care varies for a number of different reasons. Typically, regular care during a non-complicated pregnancy will range from once per week to once per month.
Four Chiropractic Myths
Over the years a number of myths pertaining to chiropractic have been created, mostly by economic competitors and those with differing philosophies. While the majority of myths have no basis, they do exist and cause some confusion to individuals unfamiliar with chiropractic care.
Myth 1. It Hurts
Quite the contrary. Many patients feel instant relief immediately after their treatments. In fact, most look forward to their chiropractic treatments. In patients suffering from severe bouts of back or neck pain, some discomfort may be experienced for obvious reasons, however, for most patients this is not the case.
Myth 2. It Is Dangerous
Chiropractic spinal adjustments are extremely safe when performed by chiropractors. In fact, chiropractic adjustments are among the safest treatments for most back and neck problems. According to a 1993 Ontario Ministry of Health commissioned study, “There is no clinical or case-control study that demonstrates or even implies that chiropractic spinal manipulation is unsafe in the treatment of low-back pain. Some medical treatments are equally safe, but others are unsafe and generate iatrogenic (doctor-induced) complications for low-back pain patients.
Our reading of the literature suggests that chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low-back pain.” Lead investigator of the study, Pran Manga, Ph.D., however, did warn that spinal adjustments performed by health care professionals other than qualified doctors of chiropractic were potentially harmful and less effective: “Indeed, several existing medical therapies of low-back pain are generally contraindicated on the basis of the existing clinical trials. There is also some evidence in the literature to suggest that spinal manipulations are less safe and less effective when performed by non-chiropractic professionals.”
On December 8, 1994, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) of the US Department of Health and Human Services released clinical practice guidelines for the management of acute low back pain. Their guidelines were developed after extensive study of the diagnostic and treatment methods used for acute low back pain. Their findings concluded:
- The risk of serious complications from lumbar spinal manipulation is rare
- Conservative treatment such as spinal manipulation should be pursued in most cases before considering surgical intervention
- Prescription drugs such as oral steroids, antidepressant medications and colchicine are not recommended for acute low back problems.
Myth 3. Chiropractic Is Expensive
Research clearly disproves this myth. Chiropractic care has been consistently shown to be cost effective in a number of government and workers’ compensation board studies. According to The Manga Report, a 1993 Canadian government commissioned study, “There would be highly significant cost savings if more management of low-back pain was transferred from physicians to chiropractors … Users of chiropractic care have substantially lower health care costs, especially inpatient costs, than those who use medical care only.” According to an economic analysis conducted in Richmond, Virginia, “By every test of cost and effectiveness, the general weight of evidence shows chiropractic to provide important therapeutic benefits, at economical costs. Additionally, these benefits are achieved with apparently minimal, even negligible, impacts on the costs of health insurance.” When the State of Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Board conducted research in 1988 on treatment costs associated with injured workers who received care from either chiropractic doctors or medical doctors, they found chiropractic treatment costs were 58.8 percent of the treatments costs rendered by medical doctors ($558 vs. $1,100 per case).
Myth 4. You Have To Go Forever
Most doctors of chiropractic promote a preventative type of lifestyle which has been construed by adversaries to mean that chiropractic care requires a lifetime of commitment. Actually, recommending that patients return for periodic spinal care is no different that what dentists recommend to their patients in order to prevent cavities and gum disease. Just as it would be ludicrous to believe that visiting a dentist once per lifetime would ensure permanently healthy teeth and gums it’s equally as silly to think that visiting a chiropractor a few times will ensure a lifelong healthy spine. Our spinal tissues undergo daily bombardment of stresses originating from bad postural habits, suboptimal work environments, psychological stress, and hectic lifestyles just to name a few. For these reasons, after the resolution of acute problems patients are given the option to receive periodic spinal checkups which acts to minimize the likelihood of future recurrences or development of new problems. The preventative approach in health care has been gaining much recognition as of late and there has been a large push in the medical community and health insurance industry to incorporate preventative programs into mainstream medicine. It’s really that simple. Periodic care to prevent future problems – safe, natural, convenient care now to avoid nasty and complex problems later.