- What is chiropractic?
- What kind of education does a chiropractor have?
- What is spinal manipulation therapy?
- Is spinal manipulation safe?
- What other therapies are available?
- What should I expect on a first visit?
- How much care will I require?
- Is chiropractic care covered by insurance?
Chiropractic literally translates into “done by hand”. Chiropractors focus on non-surgical, non-drug, manual treatment methods, in order to achieve optimal function of the body. A chiropractor holds the degree “Doctor of Chiropractic” or “D.C.”The chiropractic profession began in 1895, and has grown to become the third largest healthcare group in the world. Since the origin of chiropractic, many advances have been made to ensure the sustained growth and development of the profession. These include progressive education and training methods, advancement in medical research, and the inclusion of chiropractic into mainstream medicine.
It is important to note that today’s chiropractor is a part of a healthcare team, working closely with family doctors, surgeons and other specialists, as well as complimentary medicine practitioners, such as massage and exercise therapists, acupuncturists and nutritionists.
At New Market Chiropractic, the focus of care is on orthopedic conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. Care is rendered based on evidence-based research, in keeping with other manual therapy professions, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy and physical rehabilitation professionals.
Most chiropractic colleges require that a student complete a four-year undergraduate college degree, or combination of a “pre-med” program plus 2 years of college studies prior to entering chiropractic college. The chiropractic program itself involves 10 trimesters (four years) of training, including human anatomy and dissection, physiology, histology, pathology, diagnostic imaging, neurology, nutrition, rehabilitation, spinal and extremity manipulation and medical patient management. The remainder of training (2 trimesters) includes a supervised internship program. After graduating, chiropractors must pass a series of national and state board examinations. Chiropractors are required to maintain ongoing post-graduate education, and are governed by both state and national regulatory boards.
The main treatment method administered by a chiropractor is called spinal manipulation. This is more commonly referred to as an “adjustment”, or even more simply by patients as “cracking”. A manipulation or adjustment is a manual procedure, where the doctor applies his/her hands to the area of the spine to be treated, in order to mobilize (move) the joints. This is done by applying a quick, specific force to the joint. Generally, there will be a popping, clicking, or cracking sound elicited, although the sound is not necessary for the treatment to be effective. The patient generally feels movement in the joint from the manipulation. Spinal manipulation is used to:
- increase motion in a joint which is not moving properly, or has limited/restricted movement
- relive pain
- decrease muscle spasm around a joint
- restore normal function of the joint and surrounding structures
In cases where a patient’s health status or other factors do not allow the application of spinal manipulation, the doctor may choose to use Spinal Mobilization instead. Mobilization includes the use of multiple small movements to the joint and surrounding structures, without the application of a quick thrust or force. Varying degrees of pressure may be used, depending on the patient’s specific condition and health status.
The risk of serious injury from spinal manipulation has been estimated between one in one million (1/1, 000, 000) spinal manipulations, to one in ten million (1/10, 000, 000), and even one in one hundred million (1/100,000,000) depending on the source.
As with any procedure or treatment, safety and efficacy are determined through the careful consideration and proper selection of patient, matched with the proper selection of technique. This holds true of all forms of medical treatment, including something as simple as taking an over-the-counter medication. There are a number of relative and absolute contraindications to manipulation. Screening for these contraindications takes place during the history and evaluation, by using patient intake information, doctor history-taking and evaluation/examination procedures.
Prior to initiating any form of manipulation, mobilization or any therapy, the doctor will complete an extensive medical history, followed by an examination. During the history and examination, any risk factors or “red flags” to manual treatment, will be thoroughly addressed and discussed. Only after formulating a diagnosis and obtaining informed consent, will the doctor apply any treatment to the patient. At New Market Chiropractic, we always honor a patient’s request to decline manipulation therapy, and/or to modify treatment in a manner more suited to that particular patient.
At New Market Chiropractic, the doctor is licensed and trained to perform the following therapies, among others:
- Spinal and extremity manipulation and mobilization
- Physical therapy
- Rehabilitative Exercises
- Electrical Muscle Stimulation
- Flexion/Distraction Decompression
- Trigger point therapy
- Myofascial release
- Therapeutic stretching
- Spinal stabilization
At New Market Chiropractic, expect to allow one hour for your first visit. The visit will include the following components:
- Registration Forms: These forms can be completed through a safe portal on our website, or can be sent to you, if requested. Some insurances require additional forms, which we will provide. There are also consent and privacy forms that all patients must complete.
- History: In a private room with the doctor, a one-on-one history will take place. If you wish, a family member is welcome to accompany you. You and the doctor will discuss all aspects of your current problem, as well as prior medical history and any other concerns.
- Physical Examination: The examination will include vital signs, neurological and orthopedic testing, range of motion and postural examination, assessment of muscle function, flexibility and joint motion. If you require any type of x-ray or other imaging studies, you will be referred to a local center. You will likely be given a gown or examination shorts to wear, depending on the area(s) of your problem to be examined.
- Diagnosis: The doctor will discuss your diagnosis and treatment plan with you, answering any questions that you may have.
- Treatment Plan: Treatment may include both passive care (things we do for you – like manipulation, stretching, muscle stimulation, soft tissue techniques) and active care (things we teach you – like exercises & rehab). Note, the doctor does not usually begin treatment on the initial date of service, unless a patient has immediate need for pain control.
- Home Exercise Program (HEP): Your care will likely include a component of home care, which may begin with simple things like ice or heat, pain-relieving positions, and modifications to your work and home activities. With progress in the treatment plan, your home program may progress to specific exercises or rehabilitative activities.
Many factors affect recovery and healing. Some patients resolve in 1 to 3 visits, while others may undertake multiple months of care, as they work through various levels of progress. For instance, a patient presenting after back surgery will likely be seen longer than someone who pulled a muscle playing baseball on the weekend. Your age, health status, occupation, goals of treatment, and severity of the injury will all determine how long your treatment will last. The doctor will design a treatment plan that is optimal for you, the individual patient.
In general, at New Market Chiropractic, we work along a 2-4 week clinical trial of care, at a frequency of 2-3 times per week. That is, most patients will complete care for pain control within a 6-12 visit time frame and will be feeling much better. Many patients will stop care at that time and will be released. Most patients will choose to continue care for an additional week or two, in order to learn exercises and home treatments, and to strengthen, stabilize and learn to prevent future occurrences. Sometimes patients have special needs, which require co-management and referral back and forth with various practitioners or for special studies. This may prolong the overall care plan.
Even after completing care, some patients will choose to return on a periodic basis, for routine health maintenance. At all times, the patient decides how long they wish to benefit from care.
Most insurances cover chiropractic care to some degree. It is best to call our office first, in order for our staff to collect your insurance information over the phone. The staff will verify your insurance and call you back regarding your responsibilities with referrals, co-payments, co-insurance amounts, and any other requirements.
We are in network, preferred providers with most of the regional health insurance plans. Please refer to the insurance section of our website for a detailed list of current insurance carriers.