Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Chiropractic care is new to many patients. Here you can find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions people have about chiropractic. You can also find more information at the Massachusetts Chiropractic Society's website, MassChiro.org
Newborns have received spinal adjustments especially after difficult or traumatic births. Young children learning to walk can fall upwards of 30 times each day. These repetitive traumas can cause vertebral subluxations (see question on what is a vertebral subluxation) . If they are left unchecked bigger problems later in life can develop.
Vertebral subluxation is the term applied to a vertabra which has lost its normal position and/or motion in relation to neighboring vertebrae. Vertebrae which do not function properly within the spinal column generate mechanical stress. This accelerates wear and tear on the surrounding spinal muscles, ligaments discs, joints (facets) and other spinal tissues.
This process is referred to as osteoarthritis, spinal decay, or degenerative disc or joint disease. It is usually accompanied by pain, tenderness, inflammation, decreased motion and muscle spasm.
Because of the intimate relationship between the spinal column and the nervous system, vertebral subluxations impede normal nerve functioning. The body may adapt but the overall health and wellness of the individual may be impaired.
Like all primary health care providers, doctors of chiropractic undergo extensive education and training before becoming licensed professionals. Students begin by fulfilling undergraduate degree requirements, with a strong emphasis on the core sciences such as chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and physics.
The professional program leading to the Doctor of Chiropractic degree is very demanding. Chiropractic students continue their study of the sciences, including pathology and biochemistry, at a highly detailed level.
Their education continues into the advanced clinical sciences including orthopedics, neurology, examination procedures, differential diagnosis, and X-ray interpretation. During this entire process, aspiring doctors of chiropractic gain knowledge of the philosophy and practice of health care and chiropractic.
Doctors of chiropractic refine their technical adjusting skills in technique classes. During clinical internships student doctors perfect these skills.
Finally, all doctors of chiropractic must pass the rigorous national board exams and state exams before entering the field.
Yes. Often the Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) is the first one to diagnose a serious condition such as a disc herniation or fracture. Daily, DC's successfully manage these cases. Sometimes a DC will set up an appropriate consultation with another provider. The patient may either be co-managed or referred to the other provider for treatment. If you have had surgery, chiropractic care may help prevent the common occurrence known as “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.”
Chiropractic care may help prevent repeated operations. In addition, many patients report increased flexibility, increased strength and less pain. This is because patients are taught everything from how to properly get out of bed to how to bend with the least amount of stress to the spine. Graded spinal exercise regimes are then gradually introduced to help rehabilitate the patient.
Your initial visit will begin with a consultation. Your doctor will take a case history and ask about your present condition.
If necessary, your doctor may recommend X-rays or diagnostic tests to obtain further information about the mechanics of your spine and the details of your condition.
After completing the analysis, your doctor will explain your problem and map out an appropriate plan of action with you. If necessary, you may be referred to another health care specialist for further evaluation or treatment. Doctors of chiropractic work with a variety of health care professionals in the best interest of their patients.
Your doctor will discuss your care plan with you, taking into consideration your health habits, stress, and activity levels.
Over the course of your care, your doctor will monitor your individual response and may also recommend changes to your lifestyle, work environment, dietary, and exercise patterns.