As chiropractors, we encounter a variety of inquiries from our patients. Below we’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions to shed light on the principles, benefits, and practices of chiropractic medicine. Join us in answering these questions that are commonly brought to our attention.
What do Chiropractors do?
- Patients ask us all the time, “What do chiropractors treat?” Chiropractors treat spinal pain. Neck and back pain are the primary areas of focus for a chiropractor. Additional, we treat a large variety of injuries to the body that aren’t necessarily related to the spine as well. These problems may include disc pain, nerve pain from spinal vertebrae pinching together, shoulder pain from lifting too much, headaches, and or whiplash from a motor vehicle collision. Stressful tension headaches are a commonly associated symptom with many of these injuries. The impact these have on the entire body can be detrimental to one’s ability in performing normal daily activities without pain. The good news however is that these uncomfortable sensations can be improved with treatment from a chiropractor.
Once I start going to the chiropractor, will I need to keep coming back?
- Not if you do your homework. Our goal is to reduce your symptoms as quickly as possible and release you from active treatment. Part of getting you back to your “old self” is the in-office treatment, the other half is taking the advice we provide and following all the home exercises or stretches we recommend. We do this so you have the tools to manage your symptoms. Once improvement is shown, we hope to transition you out of active care. Some choose to maintain their care by coming in “as needed,” or when they have a flare-up. Others like to come in for a “tune-up” every 3 to 6 weeks. Ultimately how often a patient gets adjusted is their decision.
Will it hurt? Is getting your neck adjusted painful?
- Generally no, it is not painful. In fact, the overwhelming majority think getting adjusted feels good. If your body has been restricted for a long time it may take some getting used to. Pain should not be a common symptom with getting adjusted. Soreness, however, is common, especially after the first few adjustments. We like to compare adjustments to exercise and the delayed onset muscle soreness “DOMS” theory that arises a few days after a workout. Once you start moving your muscles and joints more frequently, the less sore you become. If getting your neck and back adjusted continues to be painful, the chiropractor may recommend and try a lower force type of adjustment to help with your pain.
It’s probably just muscular, I don’t think it’s something I need a chiropractor for?
- Chiropractors are primarily seen as spine doctors. Spine pain can come from joints, muscles, ligaments, discs, and other related tissues that make up the spine. This may include vertebral disc pain, neck pain, nerve pain like “sciatica”, back pain, shoulder pain, and muscle pain. The core chiropractic curriculum includes an emphasis on muscle treatment, sports massage, trigger point release, muscle activation techniques, and more. The short answer is if it hurts when you move, a chiropractor is probably a good place to start. At Smart Pain Solutions we have a long list of medical doctors and referrals we use to co-treat our patients.
Inversion Table: My brother-in-law has one of those tables that you hang upside down from… Should I be doing that?? What are some contraindications?
- Inversion tables and all other forms of spinal traction or spinal decompression tables have become a popular at-home therapy for treating neck and back pain. This therapy is very beneficial for patients dealing with neck and back pain from vertebral disc issues or even nerve impingements in the spine. Research from Newcastle University in England concluded that inversion tables may reduce the chances of receiving spinal surgery if inversion tables were properly used. It is important to understand how to safely utilize these inversion tables correctly at home to prevent further injury. Please speak with your chiropractor or other healthcare provider before deciding on whether or not an inversion table will help your neck and back pain. Based on the information provided by livestrong.com, not everyone should utilize these at-home devices. Here is a list of conditions that are contraindications to inversion tables. Inversion tables should NOT be used in patients with;
- High blood pressure or hypertension
- Any current cardiovascular condition
- Recent history of stroke
- Glaucoma or other intra-ocular related disorders
- Immediate, acute, and subacute muscle strains or injuries
- Patients where previous inversion therapy made them feel worse.
How should I sleep??
- Check out our “Getting the Best Sleep for Your Spine” BLOG! This provides some information on the appropriate use of pillows, mattresses, and an explanation of which sleeping position is best for neck and back pain! We have also uploaded a few more blogs these past couple of months covering a variety of topics.
How much does it cost??
- Chiropractic treatment is generally accepted by most medical insurance. The cost of chiropractic varies greatly based on what region of the world you are in, what treatment is provided, if the patient is going through a policy provider, and what the insurance company is willing to help pay. For more detailed information, it’s best to contact your insurance provider and or ask your local chiropractic office how much their treatment costs. Smart Pain Solutions is in-network with most major carriers. Patients with health insurance often get by with a $30- 40 co-pay, but these plans will vary.
Does insurance cover chiropractic?
- In-network insurance will help cover some chiropractic care. This depends on what insurance plan you have and what the insurance is willing to cover. Typically these policy providers offer “co-pays” where the patient pays a fixed amount for each visit and their insurance covers the rest. Most insurance companies only help cover “active care.” This is when a patient is suffering from an “active” complaint. That means once the patient begins to feel better, they move into maintenance. Insurance typically does not cover “maintenance” care. For further clarification, it is best to contact your insurance provider or speak with our billing specialist Melissa. She is great at helping with all of your insurance carrier-related questions! Call us at 314-298-1400 if you need any clarifications.
Why is there a popping sound when a joint is adjusted?
- The popping sound is known as a “cavitation.” This is when nitrogen gas bubbles within our synovial fluids are released due to a decrease in joint pressure. The synovial fluid serves as a protective lubricant for our joints so they can move effectively. For example, there is synovial fluid between the area of our leg that forms the knee. When thinking about these “cavitations” during adjustments, the popping sound is an indication of reduced pressure within our synovium or other joint spaces within the spine. A joint’s ability to “pop” is a sign that it’s healthy and functioning normally.
Why shouldn’t I go to a real doctor? Are chiropractors real doctors?
- Chiropractic physicians have their doctorates in chiropractic. This is different from a medical doctor or an academic doctorate at a university. Chiropractic doctors treat the spine, specifically the neck and back. The spine is made of up important structures. However, you should see medical doctors (MD’s) because they are excellent as well! Patients can be co-managed with chiropractors and other healthcare professionals at the same time. Chiropractors can order MRIs and send referrals to other pain specialists. Because chiropractors treat the spine, they often work closely with other doctors in healthcare whose focus is on more organ system-related conditions. That includes primary care physicians (PCP’s) or Internal Medicine doctors. Our chiropractic clinic strongly encourages the use of integrated medicine, making sure our patients receive complementary care from other providers.
Do I need a referral from my “real” doctor to see a chiropractor?
- You do not need a referral. Chiropractors are portal of entry providers. This means patients have direct access to these doctors without the need for a referral. Most of the time you can call to schedule an appointment with a chiropractic office and be seen within a day or two. Many of the primary care doctors refer their patients to chiropractors and vice versa. Our doctors at Smart Pain Solutions frequently refer our patients to other pain management professionals if we believe the patient needs further evaluation. This may include the use of MRIs, a referral to a physical therapist, or requesting a second opinion from a spine surgeon.
We hope you enjoyed these questions & answers about Smart Pain Solutions and Chiropractic Medicine. Feel free to leave us a comment or any other questions you might’ve thought of while going through our page!