So what is a chiropractor? What chiropractor can heal? Chiropractors are health care providers who diagnose and treat musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain, neck pain, headaches, arthritis, and sports injuries. They also provide nutritional counseling and lifestyle recommendations. You may have heard the term chiropractor before, but did you know they practice a form of medicine called chiropractic? Learn more about what chiropractic is and how it differs from other forms of medical treatment.
What Does a Chiropractor Do?
A chiropractor diagnoses and treats patients with musculoskeletal conditions, including back pain, neck pain or headaches, arthritis, and sports injuries. A typical visit to a chiropractor involves taking an extensive history and performing a physical exam while listening to your concerns. The chiropractor will then recommend specific adjustments that help your body heal itself and prevent future problems.
The first step in determining if chiropractic might be right for you is to learn more about exactly what chiropractic is.
How Is Chiropractic Different From Other Forms Of Medical Treatment?
While most people think of medical doctors when they hear the word doctor, there are actually many types of healthcare professionals out there. Some of these professions include:
- Dentists – Dental health care practitioners focus on providing preventive dental services (such as cleanings), diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and oral surgery.
- Physicians – Doctors perform all kinds of medical tasks, from giving vaccinations to prescribing medication to performing surgeries.
- Osteopaths – These highly skilled healthcare professionals evaluate musculoskeletal function and dysfunction through manual manipulation.
- Physical therapists – Practitioners that use exercise, education, and mechanical methods to restore, maintain, improve, and promote functional movement patterns.
In addition to physicians, dentists, osteopaths, and physical therapists, chiropractors are another type of healthcare professional. Most chiropractors hold bachelor’s degrees in either biology, kinesiology, or physiology, and some even go on to earn advanced degrees.
Most chiropractors don’t just treat patients with musculoskeletal complaints. Instead, they offer various wellness programs and techniques to improve overall health. For example, chiropractors may suggest dietary changes, stretching exercises, acupuncture, massage therapy, biofeedback, or homeopathic remedies.
What Conditions Does a Chiropractor Treat?
According to the American Chiropractic Association, chiropractors do not diagnose or prescribe drugs, although this isn’t always true. In fact, some states require their license applicants to pass drug tests so that they can legally dispense prescription medications.
However, chiropractors often work closely with other healthcare professionals like primary care physicians and surgeons. When required by law, they must refer their patients to specialists. So, if your visit to a chiropractor includes spinal x-rays or lab testing, he or she will likely send you to see a physician for further evaluation.
Because chiropractors aren’t trained in diagnosing diseases, they usually only treat certain types of conditions. However, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, chiropractors have been known to successfully treat conditions such as:
- Back pain
- Cervical radiculopathy
- Chronic neck pain
- Migraine headaches
- Neck spondylosis
- Sports injuries
- Wrist sprains
If you’re suffering from any of these conditions, it’s important to make sure that you get proper treatment before visiting a chiropractor. Be honest with yourself about how much improvement you expect to receive and whether or not you’ll be willing to pay for each session. If you want to save money, try using free resources like Healthline instead of paying for expensive treatments.
Can I See a Chiropractor Without Insurance?
Many insurance companies cover visits to chiropractors under certain circumstances. Your doctor might recommend chiropractic care because you’ve tried other methods of self-treatment without success. Or maybe your provider thinks that chiropractic medicine is a better alternative than traditional medicine.
Regardless of what led them to your office, chiropractors can help people who suffer from acute or chronic back pain. They also treat those who experience nerve damage, muscle strains, arthritis, sciatica, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, sports injuries, whiplash, fibromyalgia, frozen shoulder, and more.
How Often Should I Visit My Chiropractor?
As a general rule, you should schedule regular appointments with your chiropractor every 4 weeks. During these sessions, your provider will check for signs of injury, reevaluate your condition, and adjust your spine. Some patients benefit from additional sessions during times when they’re experiencing flare-ups. But, if your symptoms are mild, you might only need one adjustment per month.
Is Chiropractic Care Safe?
Yes! According to the National Institutes of Health, there is no scientific evidence suggesting that chiropractic adjustments pose a risk to your health. Moreover, studies show that chiropractic care is effective at treating certain medical problems.
Chiropractors’ Fundamental Beliefs and Goals
According to the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC), chiropractors believe that “the human body has an inherent intelligence which enables it to heal itself.” The organization goes on to say that chiropractic care helps improve the overall functioning of the nervous system. In turn, this leads to improved organ function and increased energy levels throughout the entire body.
The WFC also believes that chiropractors promote wellness through natural healing techniques. These practices include adjusting the spine, performing hands-on manipulations, and prescribing various nutritional supplements. Sometimes you may also need to check why you are having abnormal blood functions.
What do chiropractors attempt to heal?
A few key principles guide most chiropractors:
• Adjusting the spine properly prevents injury
• Manipulating the joints loosens tight muscles and relieves pressure on nerves
• Spinal misalignments cause pain in specific areas of the body
• Nutritional deficiencies can lead to pain
What Kind of Training Do Chiropractors Need?
To become licensed as a chiropractor in most states, graduates must complete an accredited program. For example, California requires applicants to have graduated from a school approved by the Council on Chiropractic Education and Examination. Other states require students to pass national and state licensing exams. However, many schools offer programs designed specifically for chiropractors.
While some schools focus primarily on anatomy and physiology, others teach courses related to spinal biomechanics, nutrition, ergonomics, stress management, and clinical skills. The curriculum may consist of theory classes, laboratory work, patient examinations, research projects, and written and oral exams.
To sum up, While all chiropractors share similar beliefs, some focus their practice on specific areas of the body. For example, many spinal manipulation specialists work exclusively with the neck and back region. Others concentrate on improving mobility in joints and muscles. Still, others specialize in diagnosing and treating neurological disorders, such as migraines and seizures.