How much care will I require?
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 seeking care 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 Northeastern Chiropractic, we work along a 2-4 week clinical trial of care, at a frequency of 1-3 times per week. 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. Some 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.
In general, patients involved in a motor vehicle accident or work injury will require more visits and frequency of care.
Once I start going to a chiropractor do I have to go for the rest of my life?
You may want to go to your chiropractor forever once you’ve started because you didn’t realize how great getting adjusted is, but your doctor won’t expect you to come for continuous care without symptoms. Generally, if you come in with pain, once you’ve been treated for your initial complaint, you’ll be scheduled for a few more appointments to make sure proper motion is being maintained, then it will be recommended you return occasionally to be checked just like you would go to the dentist to get checked for tartar buildup and cavities. Of course, many people still choose to see their chiropractor weekly or monthly for wellness or maintenance care.
Does an adjustment hurt?
There is no bone snapping or warrior-style pulling heads off spinal columns! The neck adjustment some chiropractors use causes anticipation for many new patients, but is actually much more gentle than they imagined, and involves a quick, direct thrust to a specific spinal bone. The sound an adjustment makes is called a cavitation and is only space being created within the joint causing gasses to be released from the joint capsule, which creates the popping or cracking noise. Also, chiropractic adjustments will not wear out your joints, as some imagine because they have been warned not to “crack their knuckles” for this reason in the past. Adjustments, unlike “knuckle cracking” or having your friend stomp on you while you lay on the carpet, are applied specifically to improve the motion of your joints and limit the small dysfunctions that over time can lead to arthritis. Most people after an adjustment describe the feeling as being “lighter”, having greater ease in moving the body, and being able to stand up taller.
Is it safe to go to the chiropractor?
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 after some forms of exercise. Current research shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours.
What makes that “popping” sound?
Lubricating fluids separate the bones of each spinal joint. Some adjusting methods can produce a sound when the gas and fluids in the joint shift. It's like opening a soda can or removing a suction cup. The sound is interesting, but isn't a guide to the quality or value of the adjustment.
Do insurance plans cover chiropractic?
Yes. Chiropractic care is included in most health insurance plans, including major medical plans, workers’ compensation, Medicare, some Medicaid plans, and Blue Cross Blue Shield plans for federal employees, among others. Chiropractic care is also available to active-duty members of the armed forces at more than 60 military bases and is available to veterans at 36 major veterans medical facilities.
Can I see a chiropractor if I am pregnant?
Many pregnant women find that chiropractic adjustments improve the pregnancy experience and make delivery easier. Adjustments are adapted to accommodate the stage of pregnancy and the unique needs of each patient.
When can I expect to feel better?
Different patients have different healing times. Some experience relief within 1-2 weeks; while others notice changes before the end of the first month. Healing is dependent on the length of time a patient has had the subluxations, general health of the patient, and the severity of their problem.