Frequently Asked Questions about Chiropractic

Is chiropractic treatment effective, and how do you know it will help with your back pain? In this article, you'll find answers to 7 frequently asked questions about chiropractic care.

  1. What is chiropractic?
    Chiropractic is a medical profession that focuses on treating people of any age who have a disorder of the musculoskeletal and/or nervous system. Using a variety of non-surgical, hands-on approaches, chiropractors perform adjustments (spinal manipulations) to the spine or other parts of the body. The goal is to correct alignment problems, alleviate pain (usually back pain, neck pain, and headaches), and to support the healing process. But your chiropractor will develop a treatment plan tailored to meet your needs.
  2. Is chiropractic treatment effective?
    Typically, yes, chiropractic treatment is effective. Chiropractic care is adapted to the individual, and it's generally gentle. Of course, as with any other type of medical treatment, chiropractic does carry some risks, such as increased pain and injury. Before seeing a doctor of chiropractic, be sure he or she is completely qualified to treat your spine condition. Your chiropractor should be board-qualified and licensed.

    You can check a chiropractor's credentials on the American Chiropractic Association website.

    You can also ask someone reliable for a chiropractor recommendation. Your doctor, family members, and friends can share their recommendations.
  3. Does my doctor need to refer me to a chiropractor?
    Not always—you can visit a chiropractor without your doctor knowing. But it's a good idea to let your doctor know you're planning on visiting a chiropractor. However, it is possible for your doctor to refer you to a chiropractor.
  4. Can I find a chiropractor at my local hospital or doctor's office?
    It depends. While chiropractors can treat patients in several settings, such as hospitals and outpatient healthcare facilities, many chiropractors practice in a private or group practice office.
  5. What typically happens during a chiropractic adjustment?
    Chiropractic adjustment is a hands-on approach used to manipulate joints in the body to decrease pain and restore or increase joint function. Spinal manipulation should not cause increased discomfort (although it's typical to feel some mild soreness up to a couple of days after treatment).
  6. Why do I hear a popping sound when my chiropractor adjusts me?
    Sometimes during a chiropractic adjustment, you'll notice a distinctive "pop." Don't be alarmed—it shouldn't be painful. (You can read an article explaining the pop.) The noise is often due to a change of pressure between joints that results in a release of a gas bubble.
  7. How often will I have to see my chiropractor?
    Each patient is different. For example, if you have chronic back pain, you may need to do chiropractic treatment more often. It also depends on what type of treatment the chiropractor prescribes, such as relaxation techniques and diet and lifestyle counseling. Ask your chiropractor how many treatment sessions you'll need to attend early on so you know what to expect.
Updated on: 02/21/19
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