Frequently Asked Questions About Chiropractic
by New Patients
Q: What is chiropractic care?
A: There's nothing mysterious about chiropractic. It's a natural method of healthcare that focuses on treating the causes of physical problems, rather than just treating the symptoms. Chiropractic is based on a simple but powerful premise. With a normally functioning spine and healthy nervous system, your body is better able to heal itself. That's because your spine is the lifeline of your nervous system. It controls feeling, movement, and all function through your body.
Q: What is a chiropractic adjustment?
A: A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a joint that is subluxated, "locked up," or not moving properly. The purpose of this safe and natural procedure is to eliminate interference to the nervous system, improving spinal function and overall health.
Q: How does chiropractic work?
A: Chiropractic works by restoring your body's inborn ability to be healthy. When under the proper control of your nervous system, all the cells, tissues, and organs of your body are designed to resist disease and ill health. The chiropractic approach to better health is to locate and remove any interference (misaligned vertebrae, aka subluxations) to your nervous system. With improved spinal function, there is improved nervous system function. The goal of the chiropractor is to remove interference that may be impairing normal health through specific chiropractic adjustments, allowing your body to heal itself. A healthy spine and a healthy lifestyle are your keys to optimal health!
Q: Are all patients adjusted the same way?
A: No. The doctor evaluates each patient's unique spinal problem and develops an individual course of care. Each chiropractic adjustment builds on the one before. The resulting recommendations are based on years of training and experience. Each patient's care is uniquely different from every other patient.
Q: Does chiropractic work for all types of health problems?
A: No, however chiropractic care is successful with a very wide variety of health problems outside of "back" problems because of improved nerve system function. With a normal nerve supply, the body's natural healing capacity can improve a variety of health problems.
Q: Is chiropractic safe?
A: Yes. Chiropractic has an excellent safety record. It is the result of a conservative and natural approach to health that avoids invasive procedures or addictive drugs. As proof, one merely has to compare malpractice rates between chiropractors and other healthcare professionals. Chiropractors' malpractice premiums are a small fraction of those for medical doctors.
Q: Can I adjust myself?
A: No. Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force, applied in a specific direction to a specific joint, it is virtually impossible to adjust oneself safely, correctly and accurately. It is possible to turn or bend or twist in certain ways to create a "popping" sound that sometimes accompanies a chiropractic adjustment. Unfortunately, this type of joint manipulation is usually counterproductive, often making an already unstable spine even more unstable, and can sometimes be dangerous. Adjusting the spine is not for amateurs!
Q: Can a person who had back surgery see a chiropractor?
A: Yes. It's an unfortunate fact that more than half of those who had spinal surgery discover a return of their original symptoms months or years later. They then face the prospect of additional surgery. This too common occurrence is known as "failed back surgery syndrome." Chiropractic may help prevent repeated back surgeries. In fact, if chiropractic care is used initially, back surgery can often be delayed or avoided in the first place.
Q: Can I tell if I have a subluxation?
A: Not always. A subluxation is like a dental cavity—you may have it for a long time before symptoms appear. That's why periodic spinal checkups are so important. Although it may be possible to know you have a subluxation, it is rarely possible to be sure you don't. Regular spinal checkups are always a good idea, and they promote good health from the inside out.
Q: Do children need chiropractic care?
A: Since significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns checked for vertebral subluxation. Naturally, chiropractic adjusting procedures are adapted for the child's spine. Some childhood health complaints that are brushed off can be traced to the spine. Health problems that emerge in adulthood could often be prevented by having your children's spine checked by a chiropractor early. Many parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and even ask to go to the chiropractor! Children that are routinely adjusted are often healthier than their peers..
Q: Is it OK to see a chiropractor if I'm pregnant?
A: Any time is a good time for a better functioning nerve system. Pregnant mothers find that chiropractic adjustments help with pregnancy discomforts, like low back pain and sciatica, improve their pregnancy and make delivery easier for themselves and their baby. Also, certain chiropractic techniques can be used to help properly position the baby for delivery.
Q: What causes the sound during an adjustment?
A: Actually, adjustments do not always produce a sound. Often, however, adjustments do create the sound of a spinal "release," or "popping" sound. The sound is caused by gas rushing in to fill the partial vacuum created when the joints are slightly separated. This sound is painless and totally harmless.
Q: Does an adjustment hurt?
Dr. Brotski uses gentle techniques that are safe, effective and painless. She is trained and experienced in several chiropractic methods and will choose the best style for each individual. Her style of adjusting rarely produces a crack or pop and is completely comfortable. She is also trained in adjustments designed specifically for the pregnant or newborn spine
Q: What is the difference between a chiropractor and an osteopath?
A: Chiropractors base their care on the detection, correction, and prevention of vertebral subluxations (spinal misalignments). They use specific spinal adjustments to correct the spine, to improve nerve system functions and reduce nerve interference. Osteopaths use drugs, surgery and other traditional medical therapies and only occasionally use non-specific high-force manipulative procedures that can be uncomfortable.
Q: What type of education do chiropractic doctors receive?
A: Doctors of chiropractic are well educated. Chiropractic education and medical education are similar in many respects and different in others because chiropractors do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery, and medical doctors do not correct vertebral subluxations. After graduating with a doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) degree, each candidate passes the demanding four-part National Board Examinations. Then, doctors apply to a governmental or professional licensing board and must pass a more difficult test before being granted the privilege to practice. A chiropractor's education, however, never ends. Most doctors complete regular postgraduate instruction for license renewal and to stay current on the latest research and adjustment techniques.