What is Chiropractic Medicine?
Doctors of Chiropractic are non-surgical spine specialists who assess and manage patients with neuromusculoskeletal disorders and related clinical conditions including, but not limited to, back pain, neck pain, headaches and extremity complaints. When addressing patients’ needs, DC’s utilize appropriate diagnostic procedures and conservative therapeutic interventions, with a primary focus on spinal and extremity manipulation. Although most cases can be diagnosed through discussion of the problem and physical examination, chiropractic physicians utilize blood tests, MRI, CT Scans, X rays, and other diagnostic tests when necessary. As with other health care disciplines, chiropractic is committed to accountability and predictability in obtaining measurable outcomes. These would include, but are not limited to pain, physical function, and patient satisfaction.
What Conditions do Chiropractic Physicians Treat?
- Low Back Pain
- Neck pain
- Extremity Pain
- Athletic Injuries
- Car Accident Injuries
- Elbow Pain
- Foot & Ankle Pain
- Hip Pain
- Knee Pain
- Sprains & Strains
- Tennis Elbow
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Muscle Spasms, Tightness & Tension
- Pain and/ or Numbness & Tingling in the Extremities
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Rib Problems
- Rotator Cuff Conditions
- Shin Splints
- Shoulder Pain
- Spinal Disc Problems
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- TMJ Disorder
- Work Comp Injuries
- Wrist & Hand Pain
- and much more...
Educational requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions.
The typical applicant at a chiropractic college has already acquired nearly four years of pre-medical undergraduate college education, including courses in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, psychology and related lab work. Once accepted into an accredited chiropractic college, the requirements become even more demanding — four to five academic years of professional study are the standard. Because of the hands-on nature of chiropractic, and the intricate adjusting techniques, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical training.
Doctors of chiropractic — who are licensed to practice in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and in many nations around the world — undergo a rigorous education in the healing sciences, similar to that of medical doctors.
* Residency and Diplomate Hours are not included in totals
Doctors of chiropractic must pass national board examinations and become state-licensed. Chiropractic colleges also offer post-graduate continuing education programs in specialty fields ranging from sports injuries and occupational health to orthopedics and neurology. These programs allow chiropractors to specialize in a healthcare discipline or meet state re-licensure requirements.
What treatments can I expect?
Our patients should expect their initial visit with the chiropractic physician to be approximately one hour so that the chiropractor can perform a thorough history and exam. If x-rays or other diagnostic tests are medically necessary, they may be ordered. Depending upon the severity of your injury or complaint, follow-up visits will be scheduled anywhere from one day to six months later, or you may simply call us the next time you are in need of an appointment. Follow-up visits are usually 20 minutes. We believe in using multiple disciplines in order to best treat our patients. We offer Physical Therapy, Massage Therapy, Clinical Nutrition, Aquatic Therapy and more, to be used in conjunction with Chiropractic Care.
How long does chiropractic care take to work?
This is a very commonly asked question, and unfortunately, there is no one simple answer to this because the amount of time needed for recovery is variable, not only for each different condition, but also for each individual patient. Generally speaking, conditions that have been present for a longer period of time will logically require a somewhat longer recovery time, although there are always exceptions. Our approach is such that the immediate goals are to help you get relief from pain and disability as quickly as possible, while at the same time, addressing the underlying dysfunctions that caused the pain and teaching you strategies to manage and reduce any future episodes that may occur. In this way we attempt to help you expeditiously reduce pain and return to normal function. Typically, within six visits we expect at minimum 30-50% improvement. If these goals are not being met treatment strategies will be modified and further diagnostic testing or referral may be scheduled.
What is the cracking noise that often occurs with manipulation?
Often when a joint is manipulated, it makes a "popping" sound. There is fluid inside all joints, and within this fluid there is dissolved gas. When manipulation is performed, the gas in the fluid forms a bubble and pops, producing an audible sound. Although this is not necessary for manipulation to be effective, it is simply the sound of the joint suddenly releasing from its restricted state.
Do I have to have my back "cracked"?
Not necessarily. Manipulation is a technique used to correct joint dysfunction, which is a condition in which there is loss of normal movement of a joint - a common cause of spinal pain and dysfunction. If you do not have joint dysfunction then there is no need for manipulation. Even if you do have joint dysfunction, if you’d prefer, there are "non-cracking" techniques that can be used to correct it, which are often equally effective.
Will manipulation hurt?
Most of the time, manipulation is very comfortable. Slight to moderate discomfort has been reported in about 1/3 of patients, with 10% reporting more noticeable discomfort. In the majority of cases, any discomfort that does occur is gone within 24 hours.
Do you think people should come in regularly to have chiropractic check-ups?
Although there are certain uncommon instances in which regular, periodic treatment may be recommended, this is the exception rather than the rule. There will likely be certain exercises that are recommended to you to do regularly, and these have been shown to prevent re-occurrences of back pain. The chiropractic physicians at The Hetrick Center place much emphasis on teaching patients self-care strategies so that they can manage conditions themselves, only needing to return to the doctor if these strategies are not successful.
Can children be treated by a chiropractic physician?
While spinal and other musculoskeletal disorders are less common in children than adults, certainly they are not rare. There is no reason why children cannot be seen at The Hetrick Center. If manipulation is required, the techniques used will be modified for the size of the child.
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