18 Questions I have about chiropractic, but was afraid to ask...
Listed below, you will find 18 of the most commonly asked questions by patients in our office. If I have omitted anything on your mind in particular, please, by all means, ASK.
Feel free to share this information with your friends and family. We're here to help.
- WHY SO MANY VISITS?
Have you ever had braces on your teeth, or known someone who has? How long did it take to achieve a corrected, straight set of teeth? 2 years? 3 years? Maybe 4? The good news is, the time it takes to achieve a correction in your spine is a "drop in the bucket" compared to the orthodontist--in most cases taking only 30-40 visits. With teeth, constant, steady pressure over time is what initially corrects them back to normal. The same holds true for the spine. You must remember that the body WANTS to be healthy and subluxation-free. However, it is much like a tug of war between how your muscles, ligaments and tendons of your spine have been improperly trained and the way they should be. The adjustment pushes the bone in the right direction to help the body back to normal, and if reinforcement occurs on a regular basis (to prevent slippage or "tugging" of the vertebra back to its original position) the spine achieves a state of correction, and your body is able to restored its health. A subluxation (a vertebra out of normal alignment interfering with nerves) is like any other injury. It involves pulled, stretched or torn muscles and ligaments, and, in severe cases such as automobile injury, even ruptured joints. This takes time to heal. Studies show that damage to the nerves themselves takes even longer. Problem is, many times, this healing process is complicated or prolonged by old injuries, arthritis, age, improper nutrition, less than adequate exercise--and the real "biggie"- STRESS. These cause minor "reinjuries", complicating complete healing, and slowing down healing. Also, remember: your spinal muscle has an actual physical memory, which has become used to a certain position of the spine. To re-train this memory takes time and effort. But, consider this: since your LIFE-LINE (nerve system) is ultimately affected by your spinal condition, don't you think it's worth the effort?
- I FEEL GREAT I THINK I'M CURED!
Ever hear of someone who never had a sick day in his or her life drop dead from a heart attack, stroke, or some other sudden illness? Unfortunately, many folks today are walking "time bombs"... they are on the verge of collapse. Yet, at present they feel "just fine." Many automobiles that "ran just great" yesterday sit in the engine overhaul shop today due to an overlooked maintenance item. It's wonderful when you are feeling better. Please share that with us!! Just don't make the mistake of letting the symptoms "be your guide." Many sudden health crises today could have been prevented yesterday.
- HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN I'M DONE?
Basically, your body exhibits certain signs which alert me that your spine is stabilized and healing. Practical experience (from previous cases such as yours), plus routine clinical examinations, re-examinations and x-rays all signal me as to your progress. I will be constantly keeping you informed as to how you're doing.
A LITTLE SECRET: Don't let symptoms, or the absence of them, be your guide as to how you are doing. Many cancer patients never have a symptom until the first tumor is detected. By then, for many, it is already too late.
- WHY IS IT WHEN PEOPLE START GOING TO CHIROPRACTORS, THEY CAN NEVER STOP GOING? MY HUSBAND WON'T START BECAUSE HE "DOESN'T WANT TO GET HOOKED."
Do you shower or bathe regularly? Would you consider yourself an "addict"? "Hooked"? What about brushing your teeth? How often do you do that? Why do we do these things? BECAUSE WE LIKE THE BENEFITS!! Interesting about anything positive to health: exercise, good nutrition, daily intake of vitamins, minerals and herbs, proper rest, showering, etc.; the more you keep regular with it, the better you feel, the better they are for you and the less sick you become. We term these habits health "maintenance". You can stop anytime you choose!! What tends to happen, though, is that most folks like the benefits of regular chiropractic care so they choose not to quit. Spinal maintenance, through chiropractic care, helps keep a body well so it stands less of a chance of getting sick.
Does that sound like an addiction?
- I FEEL WORSE. HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS IS WORKING?
Change is seldom comfortable. When you begin an exercise program after years of non-activity, how are you going to feel a few days after your first workout? Maybe a bit sore? The body responds this way to healing change as well. Correcting subluxations allows changes the structure of the spine and also opens up nerve pathways that may have been obstructed for years. Known in natural health-care as "healing crisis", headache, dizziness, lightheadedness, soreness, etc. are prime indicators that your body is, in fact, making a change for the better. This usually lasts no more than 1-2 weeks, maybe 3-4 weeks in cases of severe accident trauma. We will, however, monitor your progress and if we have a concern other than this we will certainly let you know.
In the mean time be patient: You are moving in the "right direction."
- AM I FIXED WHEN THE PAIN IS GONE?
A body can malfunction for half a lifetime in some people before a symptom shows up, signaling them to have something done. If that first symptom is serious, like a heart attack, stroke or major cancer growth, it may be too late to help the patient. Pain and symptoms are usually the last to show up when there is a body malfunction, and the first to disappear. This is especially common in cases where spinal pain is present. Once the spinal adjustment is made, the joint pressure is removed, nerves work better and the pain quits. The nerves, ligaments and muscles, however, have just begun to heal. To "patch up" the problem and not correct the underlying cause will normally result in a reoccurrence of the condition soon after; usually worse than before. Please, don't ever make the mistake of letting your symptoms, or the absence of them, dictate how healthy you are. We will be monitoring you for the indications of stabilizing and not needing to be adjusted as often. You can know that you are getting healthier when your subluxations (nerve interference) are reducing, or better yet when we check you for subluxations and you don't need to be adjusted. Then you know your body is working the very best possible!!!
- HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN I'M PROGRESSING?
From your very first visit there are tests, measurements, x-rays and observations which are constantly compared and updated as you progress. This way there is no guess-work. We know , and so do you. We are always looking for you to be clear of subluxations and not needing to be adjusted.
- WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT FROM ALL OTHER DOCTORS?
In essence, what differs is my objective, or purpose. Conventional medicine today has as its goal the relief of symptoms. This is done using drugs, surgery and any other method which effectively accomplishes this goal. Chiropractic is different. My goal is to allow your body to function at its maximum potential by getting to the cause of your problem. At the core of chiropractic is the removal of interference to your nervous system, through spinal adjustments, because nerves control, power, and heal every part of your body.
An example: You have a lawn which is dying and turning brown. Treat the symptom by painting the grass green (medicine). It seems ok, for awhile. But the dying grass will soon disappear, leaving holes in your lawn. Treat the CAUSE by turning on the water supply to the grass. Result? Healthy grass, which becomes green.
- IS THERE MORE TO CHIROPRACTIC THAN LOW BACK PAIN AND WHIPLASH INJURIES?
You bet. As a matter of fact, back pain is merely the "tip of the iceberg", usually indicating deeper nerve problems. In years past, people with all imaginable ailments-stomach problems, menstrual difficulties, asthma, blood disease, ringing in the ears, irritability, mood swings, bursitis, arthritis, fatigue, anxiety, high blood pressure-and many, many other difficulties sought the services of chiropractors, and got well.
Is that because chiropractic treats these diseases? Not at all! The chiropractic adjustment frees up your body's own defenses and healing capabilities by removing nerve interference. When the "power" has been turned back on, the body is once again free to function as it should; and a properly functioning body cannot be sick!
- WHAT IS A SUBLUXATION?
Your nerve system controls and powers every single part of your body. Not some ALL. (Would you say it's kind of important?) The main "cable" running from the brain (the "master control organ") is the spinal cord, and travels through the core of your spine. Nerve roots ("wires") branch off from the spinal cord and feed into every organ and cell of your body. A spinal bone (vertebra) which has lost its proper alignment relative to the rest of the spine can interfere with the proper flow of nerve signals to the body by irritating these nerves or spinal cord. This causes malfunction, and ultimately, disease. These misaligned vertebrae are termed subluxations, and adjusting them is your chiropractor's job. By the way, sometimes subluxations can cause pain in the back (most do not).
- MY INSURANCE ONLY PAYS FOR 10 VISITS; YOU RECOMMEND 35. THEY MUST BASE THEIR 10 ON SOME SCIENTIFIC REASONING. WHAT'S YOURS? CAN I TRUST YOU? I'M CONFUSED. 10 OR 35?
You go to a heart specialist and he tells you that you need a triple bypass operation right away. You promptly inform him that your insurance will only pay for a single bypass. He replies, "Okay. We'll just do a single bypass, then." What would you think? How would you feel? Would you agree to the procedure?
In this office, we believe you are entitled to the care you need; not what your insurance policy pays for. Many policies are created with "crisis" care in mind, that is, as with the medical model, once the symptom is gone, you're done. As we've explained, there's a lot more to getting you well than just treating your symptoms. Unfortunately, most insurance today isn't set up to accommodate this kind of health care. It is much more disease-care oriented.
- WHY IS IT THAT NO 2 CHIROPRACTORS THINK ALIKE??
Have you ever met 2 medical doctors or dentists who thought alike? How many people in general deal with problems in the same way? Each of us approaches problems from our own unique perspective. There are alone dozens of chiropractic techniques: each designed to effectively treat different patients as the individual doctor sees fit. And, in the hands of a highly trained doctor, they all work. I, as your doctor would not be as competent utilizing the method of another chiropractor as I am practicing the technique that I have chosen to use. I am the best at what I do, and will recommend accordingly. If you are not responding to my care I will definitely refer you to another chiropractor with a different approach. I know that chiropracTIC works but sometimes the chiropracTOR can fail.
- MY INSURANCE IS MUCH MORE ACCOMMODATING WITH ALL MY OTHER DOCTORS.. WHY NOT MY CHIROPRACTOR?
It all boils down to the kind of policy you have purchased. Some cover more extensively for chiropractic care than others. Also remember: insurance companies have been associated with medicine and its procedures dealing in crisis care and medication for much longer than with chiropractic. They don't want to pay for "maintenance care" if there are no symptoms. They see the body as the medical field does: NO SYMPTOMS = NO PROBLEM Always ask about specific coverage when buying any insurance.
- NO ONE KNOWS I AM GOING TO A CHIROPRACTOR. I DON'T THINK THEY WOULD UNDERSTAND.
Lack of understanding concerning chiropractic, what it is and how it works, is the basis of this concern. Certainly, this thinking is rooted in fear. Fear of the unknown and anything new has held people back for generations; probably as long as people have existed on this earth. As difficult as it may be to believe by today's standards, doctors in the last century were not required to scrub their hands between doing an autopsy and examining a living patient. As a result, many patients contracted infections and died. Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, at the time a young physician, suggested that washing of the hands might help keep so many of the patients from infection and death. For this he was not only "misunderstood", but ridiculed as well, and finally dismissed from his position. Only after germs and bacteria were actually proven to exist did they realize how right the good doctor was. The hand washing recommendation was made policy, and many lives were saved.
There are many people today with multitudes of health problems that seem to have no solution, yet can be helped through chiropractic care; probably people right in your family or circle of friends. The only thing keeping them from getting the care that they need is lack of knowledge; nobody ever told them what chiropractic is and what is could do for them.
The knowledge you now possess about chiropractic can be lifesaving to someone. Please, don't keep it a secret. Use the rubber band analogy to educate them on what we do.
- WHAT IS YOUR SPECIALTY?
My specialty is the correction of spinal subluxations for the restoration of health. Funny, but today in medicine we've divided up the body into separate systems and assigned each a specialist. The doctor who works with your whole body to make you well is becoming a rare "animal", indeed. Have you noticed how few general practitioners exist today compared to years past? Ironically, when the body becomes sick, it is generally because many parts of it have ceased to work well, together causing a loss of harmony. Because each part of the body affects every other part, before long a loss of health is evident. Chiropractic works to restore proper function and harmony throughout your body, allowing restoration of overall health and well being.
If your home fuse-box broke down causing 15 different household appliances to go "on the fritz", would you call 15 different appliance "specialists", or just ONE electrical expert to repair the fuse-box?
- I HEAR THAT YOU ADJUST KIDS... ISN'T THAT DANGEROUS?!
I guess the first question I would ask is, "If I could hurt a child do you think I would be doing it?" As I am fond of saying "momma didn't raise no dumb boys!"
I have a great deal of post graduate training (over 85 hours) in the care of the pediatric patient. 30% of my practice is children (the national average is sadly below 10%) and I am well versed in the most gentle and safe means to adjust the pediatric spine as it needs it. It is VITAL for their health. It is the infants and children who should be checked so they grow up with HEALTH and don't grow up having the same problems that adults complain about!!!!
- WHY WOULD MY "REAL DOCTOR" BE DEAD SET AGAINST ME GOING TO A CHIROPRACTOR?
More and more medical doctors today are beginning to understand the importance of chiropractic spinal care, but sadly, many are still of the mind set that the body is best treated by drugs and surgery. Unfortunately, there is an economic side to this issue as well: if your body is getting well under natural chiropractic care, you are buying less drugs and requiring less other forms of medical care as well. Understand that drugs are a multi-BILLION dollar industry in our country, and anyone who espouses to heal without using their products risks rocking the proverbial boat. It's not good business. Sad, but true.
Another reason for a negative attitude exhibited by a physician is that many doctors have never had anyone explain chiropractic to them.
Try this: If a physician tells you anything disparaging about chiropractic, just ask him or her: "Exactly what is chiropractic, and what does a chiropractor do?" The answer to that question will tell you plenty. Your doctor in most cases is sincere and has your well-being in mind. Many times, though, he has just been misinformed regarding chiropractic.
- You may not know that in Europe many doctors are referring to chiropractors and doing research into chiropractic. One article published in "Manual Medicine" recommended that all children be checked for subluxations by a chiropractor after birth!!! Pretty amazing for a medical doctor!
- HOW COME I FIND MYSELF NOT REFERRING TO YOU AS MY PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR?
As a patient relatively new to this office, and possibly to chiropractic in general, this is understandable. Many people see a chiropractic office as a place to go to find relief from "strain, pain, low back pain and an occasional migraine". Diseases such as asthma, allergies, ear infections, etc. and other chronic illnesses are not seen as chiropractic concerns until a person becomes a chiropractic patient. Most people growing up in this country are trained to go to the medical doctor when they have a symptom or health problem. However, once our patients realize what chiropractic is all about and how it helps in getting, and keeping, them well, we do in fact become the primary care giver, and find people consulting us before going in for medical treatment.
Do you realize that in parts of the world doctors are paid for the service of keeping their patients healthy? If you get sick under this health plan, then, it indicates that something went wrong with the program, and the patient is treated until well again, at NO CHARGE.