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Can a Chiropractor Really Help?

 

Dr. Richard Cole

When someone learns that I am a chiropractic physician, they often have several questions about what I do for my patients.  They are usually interested in my area of expertise and have many concerns about chiropractic care in general, or what we do when we treat patients.

Question: What can a chiropractic physician do for me that another doctor can’t?

Answer: Chiropractic physicians primarily use spinal manipulation and rehabilitation in the treatment of their patients.  They are trained to focus especially on your body’s structural integrity because they understand how it is related to body function and to our overall health. Grounded in the science that proper function of our muscles, nerves, and bones is essential for good health, the therapies that chiropractic physicians employ are a holistic approach that medical doctors traditionally do not use. The clinical effectiveness of the chiropractic approach has been documented by numerous scientific studies.

Question: Does chiropractic therapy really work?

Answer: Yes. Numerous studies have proven that chiropractic treatment is clinically effective and cost effective for both acute and chronic low-back and neck conditions, as well as such other conditions as headaches, disc herniations, disc ruptures, arm and leg pain, and rib pains.

Question: What other types of health problems can chiropractic treatment help?

Answer: There are many conditions that respond to chiropractic treatment.  The most common, however, include back and neck pain, headache pain, sports injuries, posture problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, whiplash and work related injuries to the spine.

Question: What does a chiropractic physician do to find my problem?

Answer: Chiropractic physicians are trained in standard diagnostic methods and will use physical, orthopedic, neurological and laboratory examinations to evaluate your problem.  X-rays may be used to evaluate the spine for possible abnormalities or pathologies, and to analyze spinal curvatures for posture balance. They may also use such imaging techniques as MRI and CT scans to rule out disease or to evaluate disc lesions in the spine.

Question: What therapies do chiropractic physicians use?

Answer: Chiropractic physicians may use manual and physical therapies including manipulation of the spine and joints of the arms and legs. Supportive therapies may also include massage, myofascial release, and therapeutic modalities such as ultrasound, electric stimulation and diathermy.  Rehabilitative measures are often used such as specific corrective exercises to stabilize your problem.

Question: What is the standard length of treatment?

Answer: It depends on your problem. Treatments are highly individualized and customized to the patient’s condition. Some require one to two visits and others could last over a year. A rule of thumb for chronic pain patients is that you will need a month of care for each year that you have had the problem. Your doctor should be able to clearly articulate the time frame of your needed care.

Question: Is chiropractic care covered by insurance?

Answer: Usually it is covered. However, you should check with your specific plan to be certain that chiropractic care is covered by your insurance.  About 90% of insurance plans cover chiropractic care.

Question: If I need a referral, how do I ask my doctor to refer me to a chiropractic physician?

Answer: You can simply discuss the idea with your doctor. Many chiropractic physicians have been reaching out to the medical community to bridge the gap between the medical and chiropractic professions for the good of all their patients. Encourage your physician to call your chosen chiropractic physician to discuss your case. Modern chiropractic physicians will work hand-in-hand with your physician to solve your problem.

Question: If I go see a chiropractor do I need to keep on going?

Answer: No. One myth about chiropractic care is that once you get your spine manipulated it will require continued attention.  The truth is that once you get your spine corrected patients are so grateful for feeling better they want to continue feeling good. It is like saying once you go to the dentist you have to keep going back.  You want to get your teeth cleaned regularly so that you can keep them.  Many people decide to see the chiropractor regularly to check the spine for problems before they become painful.  Makes since doesn’t it?

Question: What training do chiropractors have?

Answer:  Chiropractic physicians in Tennessee have a bachelor’s degree and a doctoral degree prior to licensure.  Chiropractic college consists of 4 academic years of training with a clinic rotation in the senior year. Prior to licensure, chiropractic physicians also have to pass 5 examinations from the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners to ensure competency.  Some chiropractic physicians receive additional training past chiropractic college and may be board certified in specialties such as neurology, pain management, orthopedics, rehabilitation and sports injury management.

Question: How should I select a good chiropractic physician?

Answer: You should look for the following:

A chiropractic physician on your insurance plan. Most plans cover chiropractic care.  Just check your benefits list or go to your insurance company website.

A chiropractic physician with an additional post-graduate degree in the specific area of treatment that concerns you (For instance, if you’re having headaches, or nerve problems from a spinal disc, look for a chiropractic physician board certified in neurology. Or, perhaps you have a sports injury. Look for a chiropractic physician board certified as CCSP® (Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician®)

A chiropractic physician who presents a rational treatment plan with goals for care and a clear end point of treatment.

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