First of all, many insurance companies cover chiropractic care. Each individual person’s plan is different and levels of coverage may vary. That being said, even people that do not have chiropractic coverage find that treatment at our office is very affordable. We work with our patients to make sure that they are able to afford our care.

Beyond the actual cost of the care, there is the effectiveness of care. Chiropractic is been shown to be less expensive than traditional medical care. Taking medication typically only masks the symptoms but it doesn’t have a long-lasting effect in dealing with the actual problem. Studies show that people receiving chiropractic care for workplace injuries had less recurrences, less missed work, less disability, and less overall costs. Chiropractic patients report higher satisfaction rates than most other healthcare professions and a higher quality of life. Some of this information is shown on my website, found here. Also look on this site under the heading “Chiropractic Works and Saves Money” to see the numerous studies on how effective and cost efficient chiropractic is.

Another set of studies (1, 2) was done that looked at cost savings if the chiropractor was used as a primary care physician. In these studies, the chiropractor was the gatekeeper in an HMO and all patients needed to see their chiropractor in order to be referred for services or specialists. Patient satisfaction in the study was a very high and the quality of care was top-notch. The study was conducted over several years and the results were compared to people using a medical doctor as their gatekeeper. They found the following:

• 60.2% decrease in in-hospital admissions

• 59% decrease in hospital days

• 62% decrease in outpatient surgeries and procedures

• 85% decrease in pharmaceutical costs.

There were major cost savings when using the chiropractor is the primary care physician in the study. This is proof that chiropractic care is not only effective for treating patient issues but is also a cost savings compared to traditional medical treatments.

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I think that this one is my favorite of the myths because I think it is a ridiculous. People who criticize chiropractors often say that once you start you have to continue seeing chiropractor for the rest of your life. While this isn’t true, there are a couple reasons that are typically used. But honestly, think of one service provider that thinks you will never need to see them again… dentist, mechanic, accountant, etc.

Some people say that the chiropractic adjustments are addictive and that is what people come in forever. While people might be addicted to not hurting, having better range of motion and just generally feeling good, chiropractic care is only the means to an end. Once the person has improved and is met goals from their treatment plan, the treatment frequency is reduced. Eventually as a person comes in less frequently for treatment, people will get to the point where they are faced with the choice of whether or not they feel they need continued adjustments. At this point, people have been weaning off of treatment and they don’t need adjustments like they did at the beginning when they were really hurting. The adjustment is not what is addicting. People just have the tendency to associate getting adjusted with feeling good. I feel that it is my job to make you self-sufficient so that you can take care of minor aches and pains on your own and return to me if you have something that just won’t go away. That is why I will teach people stretches and exercises for them to be a participant in achieving and maintaining better health.

Another implication is that chiropractors have people come back for unnecessary treatment just to line their pocketbook. All professions have their sleaze bags and I’m sure that there are some chiropractors that actually do this for monetary gain. But if it was true in general, then the same should be said about your mechanic & oil changes, your dentist & periodic cleanings and your medical doctor & your statin drug prescription. Don’t just talk about chiropractors doing that because every service professional will tell you that you need to come back. Like I said before, I have never heard a mechanic tell you that you don’t need to come back for an oil change and I have never heard a dentist tell you that your teeth are clean and you never have to come back. In my opinion, there is value in preventive maintenance whether or not it’s your teeth, your car or your spine. It’s a lot harder to do a major overhaul of your spine, so I do believe that people should take care of it. For some people that means that they get adjusted more often than others.

Now that being said, I do believe that people need to take into account their needs when it comes to chiropractic adjustments. I will never tell a patient that they require chiropractic adjustments for life because that’s not true. I will not tell the patient that their spine will degenerate in the absence of my care. My goal is to continue to be my patient’s chiropractor in the sense that if they have trouble in the future, they will come into me in order to get fixed. Some people see the benefit in getting maintenance adjustments where they come in for a treatment occasionally (maybe once a month) in order to prevent issues from occurring. Some of my patients just call for an appointment when they’re in pain.

If you’re being treated for a specific condition, your treatment should end when the problem has resolved. If your problem is chronic (you’ve had it for more than three months) or is recurrent and you would like to avoid future flare-ups, then supportive care may be a good idea for you. Remember, it depends on what works for you. The bottom line is that it is your choice.

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In general, adjustments do not hurt. Lots of people get worried about them but the vast majority of people actually get a lot of relief after receiving an adjustment. On occasion, they may feel uncomfortable when there is inflammation and lots of muscle spasms. When it comes time to do an adjustment, I will set it up and make sure that it is not painful before actually do the adjustment. If the setup is painful then we can find another way. People will occasionally get muscle soreness after their first few adjustments, but this is typically like the soreness in the muscle you get after doing a new exercise. If it a patient is unable to tolerate and adjustments or is just too nervous about it, other techniques can often be used like Activator Methods where no cavitation occurs. There are some people in our office who are treated without ever being adjusted as well.

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Chiropractic physicians adjust children all the time for various reasons. Kids can get headaches, neck pain and back pain just like adults. Kids can also get injured in sports and have tennis elbow or knee pain. Kids fall down and go boom. Pick the type of pain and joint or muscle and a kid can be treated for it. Many migraines start in late childhood or adolescence. Even babies that are minutes or hours old can be adjusted.

There are other things that can be treated by chiropractic physicians that are considered more controversial by the general medical community. Chiropractors have treated kids who have asthma, ear infections and colic and have had amazing results, however, there is not good research to support this. It is basically thousands of chiropractors and chiropractic patients who have watched children get better after getting treated. The problem with these stories is that they are not research. The stories can be very compelling but it is not hard data. That being said there is value in the stories.

While the underlying cause of the problems will not be directly affected by the treatment, it makes sense anatomically and physiologically that chiropractic care can help. Often times, kids that have ear infections also have associated neck symptoms. Those neck symptoms can cause spasms in the neck that can cause associated spasms in the back of the throat around the tube that connects to the middle ear. The reason why your ears pop when you yawn is because these tubes open up. The kids typically respond quickly when they have an ear infection because the adjustment causes these other muscles to relax and allows the tubes to open up. I’ve seen kids that have had the surgical treatment that were not helped at all who responded with one adjustment. A chiropractic physician is not going to directly affect the inflammation or constriction of the bronchi and a child that has asthma but what we can affect is the thoracic spine and the rib joints in the front and back. Often, kids with asthma have major restrictions in these areas in freeing the restrictions can help to reduce the symptoms significantly. Symptoms from colic can be helped because adjustments to the lumbar spine can affect the infant’s autonomic nervous system.

These are obviously very simple explanations for the sake of space, but there is a biomechanical or neurological basis behind these treatments. I will not preach that there is “nerve interference” that causes these issues because there are legitimate arguments as to how they affect the body’s physiology.

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I guess it really depends on what the definition of a “real” doctor is. The question is if you think that only the medical doctors have the right to be called “Doctor”, then what you call someone who has a PhD in molecular biology? There are many people who believe that a “real” doctor is only someone who can give a pill or cut out a body part. Both of these are very aggressive forms of medicine where there are a lot of side effects. This is one of the problems with the practice of medicine in the United States because everyone is looking for the magic pill that will make their problem go away. People don’t want to have to change their behavior or put work into getting better.

A chiropractic physician is not the same as a medical doctor. Chiropractic physicians do not prescribe medication and to not perform surgery. Much of our training is similar but chiropractic physicians actually need more hours in school than a medical doctor and we have way more training in anatomy than medical doctors do. Take a look here to see a comparison between the schooling of a chiropractic physician and a medical doctor (allopathic physician).

A Doctor of Chiropractic degree is considered to be a first professional degree and as such is entitled to the use of the title “Doctor”. In fact all of the following professions are first professional degrees: Juris Doctor, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Doctor of Chiropractic, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Dental Surgery, Doctor of Optometry, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and Doctor of Audiology.

Chiropractic physicians are primary care practitioners who work as a first contact healthcare professional, just like a medical doctor. Chiropractic physicians are spine and joint care experts and are definitely considered to be doctors.

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There are several reasons why you should not try to crack your own neck or your own back. When you have seven bones in the neck and five bones in the low back, which were you making pop? Are you sure you got the one that wasn’t moving right? Probably not, which is why people that self-adjust typically do it several times a day. It feels good temporarily because the adjustment releases feel-good chemicals which are not getting at the problem. Typically, people are actually creating instability in normal joints which can actually lead to arthritis.

This is different than just cracking your knuckles. Again, the reason that a chiropractor performs an adjustment is to restore normal motion to an area. Sometimes joints can move too much (hypermobility) and sometimes they can move too little (hypomobility). Ideally you want to create a Goldilocks situation where the joint moves just right. Hypomobility is bad because the lack of motion basically leads to the joint “rusting”. Hypermobility is bad because it leads to instability and an increase to wear and tear on the joint. Both lead to arthritis in the spine because the spine bears the weight of the body. Knuckles don’t typically have that issue because they’re not bearing the weight of the body.

So the idea is you can crack you knuckles all you want but don’t try in in your neck or back. If it pops when you are doing a normal stretch, no big deal, but don’t try to make it go.

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Studies have shown that “cracking” knuckles does not lead to arthritis. It is definitive and there’s no argument to be had here. Most chiropractors really don’t have a problem with people cracking knuckles because you’re typically controlling the joint that is being moved. You won’t get big knuckles if this is something that you do a lot. Below are a couple of research abstracts that show that it does not cause arthritis.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21383216

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1130029

This is not the case when it comes to adjusting the spine. You should not try to adjust your own spine. Take a look here to see my blog post on why you should not self-adjust your spine.

 

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The reason that a chiropractic physician adjusts the neck, back or even extremities is because there’s a problem with the motion of the joint. Every joint has a characteristic motion and if that motion is restricted, it is something that can possibly lead to arthritis in the future. The cracking sound is caused when the joint is moved enough to stretch out and cause a gas bubble to form and burst in the joint. A vibration happens and you hear a “crack” or a “pop”, which is technically known as a cavitation. After the adjustment, the motion of the joint is restored and is no longer restricted. This is good for the joints because your cartilage needs to be constantly squished and stroked to make it healthy, by pushing out the waste products and allowing the nutrients come back into the cartilage. Getting adjusted by a properly trained chiropractic physician may be able to help a person avoid arthritis by making sure the cartilage is healthy in the joint.

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Back pain is what we are known for but is definitely not the limit of what we treat. Chiropractic physicians can treat and help heal pain or dysfunction in any joint or muscle in the body, and we can also help patients with nutrition, exercise and healthy habits. People who come in our office get advice on changes in their lifestyle or modifications order reduce pain. We talk about how nutrition impacts your pain and what supplements that you can take in order to help reduce pain. We will go over exercises that we can use to help reduce pain, improve range of motion and strength of the involved areas. These exercises are things that you will be taught how to use in order to take care of problems if they flare up for you in the future. Take a look at our Treatment and Services page to see the wide range of conditions that we treat in our office.

There is advanced training in chiropractic that allows certain chiropractors to treat a wide range of conditions. I have many certifications that allow me to more effectively treat conditions that come into my office. I am certified in Kinesio Taping and the Graston Technique, which allow me to treat certain musculoskeletal conditions more effectively than the average chiropractic physician. I even have board-certified specialties in sports medicine and neurology, so I see many more things besides just back pain. As a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP), I am trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions that are involved in sports. As a Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Neurology Board (DACNB), I am a board certified chiropractic neurologist who is able to diagnose and treat a broad range of neurological conditions.

Back pain is just one of the few things in my office that I treat. I can go several patients in the day before actually treat someone that has low back pain. I work on feet, ankles, knees, hips and shoulders all day long.

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Chiropractic care is been showed in multiple different studies to be effective for the treatment of acute and chronic pain in the low back and neck. Many people think of chiropractors as back doctors or spine specialists and this is very true. This is where the majority of the evidence lives in our effectiveness. There is also a good deal of evidence that shows the chiropractic care is effective for treating many different types of headaches. There are all kinds of studies that show improvement in outcomes like pain and function. In many cases, chiropractic care shown to be superior to traditional medical care in achieving a sustained therapeutic benefit.

Some of this information is shown on my website, found here. You can also look on this site under the heading “Chiropractic Works and Saves Money” to see the numerous studies on how effective chiropractic is. Even more information can be found on the following site. http://www.chiro.org/research/

When it comes to safety, chiropractic care is one of the most conservative types of treatment available for neuro-musculoskeletal problems. Just like any kind of intervention, there is some risk with seeking treatment but the risk with chiropractic care is minimal. The most common side effect of chiropractic care is muscle soreness after being treated, which is similar to the muscle soreness after doing a new exercise. Occasionally, soft tissue injuries, rib fractures or burns may occur from some treatments. We list some of the other possible but very rare complications that have been associated with chiropractic treatment on our Informed Consent form.

Stroke is the most serious thing that has been associated with chiropractic adjustments and risk is possibly one stroke per 5 million adjustments. Some studies put it as high as one stroke per 10 million adjustments. A single chiropractor would need to be in practice for 1430 years before having a patient who had a stroke shortly after being treated. If you were to take the entire careers of 48 chiropractors, only one of those chiropractors would have had a patient who had had a stroke. Chiropractic opponents promote the idea that chiropractors cause strokes even though numerous studies of cadavers showed that normal vascular anatomy is not affected nor damaged during a neck adjustment. Comparisons between visits to a chiropractic physician and visits to a family doctor showed no difference in the rate of strokes. This is to say that if a chiropractor caused strokes, there would be way more strokes after visiting a chiropractor than after visiting a family doctor, but this is not the case. These events are extremely rare and typically result from the fact that neck pain and headaches are frequent complaints of people who have the type of strokes attributed to chiropractors. People like to say that correlation doesn’t lead to causation when it comes to statistics. In the case of stroke, chiropractic adjustments are no more correlated to having a stroke than sleeping or working with your hands over your head.  http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/stroke.shtml

Now when talking about chiropractic and stroke, the data is clear that stroke is extremely rare when it comes to chiropractic treatment. Independent of this concept, there is the risks of other medical procedures. Just because another procedure is dangerous, it doesn’t effect the safety of chiropractic treatment. In other words, just because spinal surgery is risky, it doesn’t mean that chiropractic manipulation is safe. That being said, I think you should have a comparison to what the risk of traditional medical treatments are for things like headache and neck pain. As I said chiropractic care is one of the most conservative forms of care possible for these conditions, so it should be less risky when you look at the numbers. So let’s go on the higher end of the spectrum and if we said that one out of every three million neck adjustments resulted in a complication, the frequency would be 0.3 per million. In comparison, the death rate for the following activities would be:

Soccer: 39 deaths per million

Driving a Car: 169 deaths per million

Using over the counter pain medication: 400 deaths per million

Spinal Surgery: 700 deaths per million

Appendix Removal: 13,300 deaths per million

Total Hip Replacements: 4,900 – 15,300 deaths per million

Cervical Manipulation: 0.3 complications per million

 http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/CVA/Cerebrovascular_Accidents.shtml#Table_2

So as you can see, chiropractic care is not only safe, but it is also effective at treating a wide variety of problems.  In comparison to other available treatments, it is much safer.

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