Chiropractic focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractors practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes:
- Patient examination
In the state of Illinois: Chiropractors are recognized as Primary Health Care Providers with the ability to evaluate, provide treatment, and determine the need for referral to another health care provider when necessary. Chiropractors are a direct access portal of entry into the health care system – no referral necessary.
Although most health plans (PPO and EPO plans) allow you to call and simply schedule an appointment, some may have specific referral requirements. For example when you are part of an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) plan all your health care services go through a chosen PCP (Primary Care Physician) therefore you will need a referral to see any other healthcare professional, except in an emergency (this includes a chiropractor).
Educational and licensing requirements for doctors of chiropractic (DCs) are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions.
DCs are educated in nationally accredited, four-year doctoral graduate school programs through a curriculum that includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical internship, with the average DC program equivalent in classroom hours to allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) medical schools.
They are designated as physician-level providers in the vast majority of states and federal Medicare program. The essential services provided by DCs are also available in federal health delivery systems, including those administered by Medicaid, the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, Federal Workers’ Compensation, and all state workers’ compensation programs.
Current research says they do…
A study that compared chiropractic to other treatment alternatives found that there was a reduced rate of surgery for those who saw a chiropractor first. 42.7% of workers (with back injuries) who saw a surgeon first had surgery compared to 1.5% of those who saw a chiropractor first. – Keeney et al. (2012) Spine.
Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy in conjunction with standard medical care offers a significant advantage for decreasing pain and improving physical functioning when compared with only standard care, for men and women between 18 and 35 years of age with acute low back pain. – Goertz et al. (2013), Spine
Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) care for patients of all ages, with a variety of health conditions. DCs are especially well known for their expertise in caring for patients with back pain, neck pain and headaches … particularly with their highly skilled manipulations or chiropractic adjustments. They also care for patients with a wide range of injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, involving the muscles, ligaments and joints. These painful conditions often involve or impact the nervous system, which can cause referred pain and dysfunction distant to the region of injury. The benefits of chiropractic care extend to general health issues, as well, since our body structure affects our overall function. DCs also counsel patients on diet, nutrition, exercise, healthy habits, and occupational and lifestyle modification.
When treatment is recommended at Joints In Motion Chiropractic it is done so with specific and individualized goals in mind. For example acute care may address the issue of inflammation and pain with the primary goal of relieving symptoms whereas, a corrective phase of care may shift focus to improving function and decreasing the likelihood of re-injury. At the end of the day success is measured in our ability to return you to pre-injury status in the shortest timeframe possible.
Aside from treatment for a pressing injury or condition chiropractic is often sought specifically to either maintain or to improve upon a level of function. It is for these reasons that an elderly person with degenerative joint disease may continue supportive care to comfortably meet day-to-day demands or why an athlete may look to chiropractic for a competitive edge. It is important to know however, that continued care for these reasons is often not covered by insurance plans. Health insurance typically pays for “sick” care (treatment of an acute injury) not for preventative or maintenance type treatment.
Chiropractic manipulation is commonly referred to as an adjustment. The primary purpose of manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile or restricted in their movement as a result of disease or tissue injury.
Potential Benefits of Spinal manipulation are as follows:
- Reduction of pain
- Releases joint restrictions to restore normal range of motion and joint function
- Reduces muscle spasm/tension
- Improved end organ function via the nervous system (potential relief for other common health conditions)
Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal complaints. Although chiropractic has an excellent safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects. The risks associated with chiropractic, however, are very small. Many patients feel immediate relief following chiropractic treatment, but some may experience mild soreness, stiffness or aching, just as they do following some forms of exercise. Current research shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours.
Some reports have associated upper neck manipulation (adjustments) with a certain rare kind of stroke. Although there is an association between this type of stroke and chiropractic visits, there is also an association between this type of stroke and primary care medical visits. According to the most recent research, there is no evidence of excess risk of stroke associated with chiropractic care. The increased occurrence of this type of stroke associated with both chiropractic and medical visits is likely explained by patients with neck pain and headache consulting both doctors of chiropractic and primary care medical doctors before or during their stroke. If you are visiting your doctor of chiropractic or medical doctor with upper-neck pain or headache, be very specific about your symptoms. This will help the physician offer the safest and most effective treatment, even if it involves referral to another healthcare provider.
More research on the topic of safety…
“No mechanism by which spinal manipulation (chiropractic adjustments) induces injury in normal healthy tissues has been identified, but the likelihood of injury due to manipulation may be elevated in pathologically weakened tissues”
“The risk of injury in patients with intervertebral disc disorder with myelopathy was actually reduced, suggesting that this condition is not a risk factor for injury due to chiropractic spinal manipulation”
Wehdon, DC, MS, Todd A. Mackenzie, PhD, et al. Risk of Traumatic Injury Associated With Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation in Medicare Part B Beneficiaries Aged 66 to 99 Years. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2015 Feb 15; 40 (4):264-270.