What’s a Chiropractor?
If you have a stiff neck or an aching back, you may benefit from a chiropractic alignment. A chiropractor is a trained caregiver who uses their hands to alleviate pain in the spine and other body areas.
Are Chiropractors physicians, though? Here’s more info about what these providers do, the training they get, and what you can expect at your first appointment.
Training And Certification
Chiropractors do not hold medical degrees, so they are not medical doctors. They do have comprehensive training in chiropractic care and are licensed professionals.
Chiropractors begin their education by acquiring an undergraduate degree with a focus on the sciences. After graduation, they proceed on to some 4-year chiropractic program with courses and hands-on expertise.
In America, all states demand that chiropractors obtain a doctor of chiropractic degree from a Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) accredited college.
Some Chiropractors decide to specialize in a specific location. They do an additional residency, which lasts between 2 and 3 years. There are over 100 distinct chiropractic procedures. No one way is necessarily better than another.
Some Chiropractors decide to specialize in several diverse areas, which they may describe as utilizing “diversified” or “integrated” methods.
Regardless of specialization, all chiropractors must get a license to practice by taking an examination. They have to also keep update in the field by taking regular continuing education courses.
Over 70,000 licensed chiropractors are working in the US today. These professionals treat various issues and conditions involving the:
- Nervous system
During treatment, your provider performs what is known as manipulations with their hands or tiny instruments. The manipulations into the different parts of the body assist with a range of distress, such as:
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Pelvic pain
- Shoulder and arm pain
- Hip and leg pain
You may be surprised to learn that chiropractors can manage ailments ranging from constipation to baby colic to acid reflux.
Pregnant women might even find chiropractic care near labor time. Chiropractors are specializing in the Webster technique work to readjust the pelvis, which might help the baby get into a fantastic position (head down) for vaginal delivery.
Overall, Chiropractors may provide holistic therapy, meaning that they treat the entire body and not just the particular ache or pain. Treatment usually is continuing. You will probably see your chiropractor more than once or twice to handle your problem.
What To Expect
Your first visit to the chiropractor will likely include giving your medical history and a physical examination. Your provider might even call for further tests, such as X-rays, to rule out fractures and other problems.
From there, your chiropractor may begin with the adjustment. You will probably sit or lie down on a specially designed, padded table for your own treatment.
You may be directed to move into various positions during the appointment, so the chiropractor can handle specific areas of your body. Do not be surprised if you hear cracking or popping sounds as your chiropractor applies regulated pressure to your joints.
Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to your appointment, and remove jewelry before the practitioner begins. Generally, a chiropractor can carry out all the necessary adjustments without you needing to change from your clothing into a hospital gown.
After your appointment, you might feel tired or experience headaches. The regions your chiropractor realigned can also feel sore for a while after treatment. These side effects are temporary and mild.
Sometimes, your chiropractor will direct corrective exercises that you do out of your appointments.
Your practitioner may also supply you with lifestyle advice, like nourishment and exercise tips. They may include complementary medicine, like acupuncture or homeopathy, into your treatment plan also.
The scope of what a chiropractor’s license enables them to do varies by state. In certain countries, chiropractors may order diagnostic tests, including imaging and lab tests.
What are the risks?
- You may feel tired or sore after your appointment.
- Stroke is an uncommon complication.
- Chiropractic adjustments can lead to nerve compression or disc herniation. This is uncommon but possible.
There are hardly any risks of chiropractic adjustment when it is performed by a certified professional. In rare situations, you may experience compression of nerves or disc herniation in the backbone. Stroke is another uncommon but severe complication that can happen after neck manipulation.
There are also conditions for that you should not necessarily seek chiropractic care.
For instance, you might want to speak with a primary care physician before seeing a chiropractor if you have experienced numbness or lack of strength in your leg or arm. These indicators may need a process beyond a chiropractor’s scope.
Other conditions that may require different therapy include:
- Severe osteoporosis
- Spinal instability
- Elevated risk of stroke
- Spinal cancer
If you don’t know if chiropractic therapy is appropriate for your condition, ask your physician.
Finding a Chiropractor
Finding a good chiropractor might be as simple as asking around. Your current primary care doctor or perhaps a friend might be able to steer you in the ideal direction.
You can also use the Find a Doctor tool on the American Chiropractic Association’s site to locate licensed chiropractors across America.
Years ago, chiropractic care was included in many medical insurance plans. Nowadays, not all medical insurance providers cover these appointments.
Before making your initial appointment, call your medical insurance provider directly to find out your plan’s coverage, in addition to copays or deductibles. Your insurer may also take a referral from your primary care provider.
Many health insurers cover chiropractic care for short-term problems. But they may not cover this care for long-term conditions or maintenance treatments.
Over two dozen countries also include chiropractic appointments through Medicare.
Without coverage, your initial appointment may cost approximately $160, depending on the tests you require. Follow-up appointments can range between $50 and $90 each. The price will depend on your area and the treatments you get.
Can I See A Chiropractor?
A licensed chiropractor may be able to assist you if you are experiencing pain on your:
If your symptoms usually do not get better after a few weeks, you might want to reevaluate your treatment program.
Questions To Ask
Before you start chiropractic treatment, you might want to ask your physician these questions:
- What are your education and licensure? How long have you been practicing?
- What are your areas of specialization? Have you got specific training in coping with my medical condition(s)?
- Are you ready to work with my primary care physician or refer me to a specialist, if needed?
- Are there any risks in making chiropractic adjustments with my medical condition(s)?
- What health insurance companies do you work with? If my insurance does not cover treatment, what are my out-of-pocket expenses?
Be sure to inform your physician about any over-the-counter and prescription drugs or supplements you’re taking.
It’s also a fantastic idea to mention some other complementary health treatments you are using. Giving your chiropractor all of this information up front will make your care safer and more effective.