By Dr. Kristie Wallace
When it comes to chiropractic medicine, once you start, you have to keep going.
The reason most patients continue care is because they feel the results and want to keep coming back for wellness.
Most patients utilize chiropractic treatment for acute pain. But, there is no magic pill for wellness. It takes work on your part.
Proactive care in any healthcare profession is needed. The individual needs to make active choices in lifestyle and conscious changes to stay healthy. Changing your eating habits, staying active and reducing stress can help with long-term health and wellness.
At first, chiropractic care can cause temporary discomfort. However, if the adjustment is accomplished with precision, then it is painless.
It can take 24-48 hours to feel complete relief or benefits from an adjustment. Depending on the injury, it can take an average of six to eight visits to alleviate certain injuries. An inflamed joint or nerve interference takes time to heal depending on the injury or latency of the injured area.
Generally, treatment is pain-free and creates a relaxed state due to the muscles releasing and an increase in circulation. And, if you are worried or fearful of the “pop,” there are many techniques that don’t create that “cracking” sound.
Let your chiropractor know of your concerns and ask questions. It is your body, so do what is right for you.
The cost of care
Chiropractic care is covered by Medicare and many other insurance plans. Call your insurance company and ask the questions: What is my deductible, how many visits can I receive in a year and what is my copay?
If the chiropractor does not accept your insurance plan, a super-bill may be offered. The patient will need to send this to their insurance company for reimbursement.
Most chiropractic establishments offer low-cost cash paying care or will work with the patient if it is too much of a financial burden.
Ultimately, the goal is to care for the individual in need.
Typically, the first visit entails a detailed examination, radiographic studies, therapy and treatment. This can range between $100-$200.
Depending on the treatment administered, a typical treatment after the initial visit can range from $35-$75.
Call around and research who is a good fit for you.
Doctor or chiropractor?
Most people are aware of the delicate nature of necks and spines, and therefore only want to entrust their care to a doctor that is properly accredited.
Chiropractors have four years of pre-medical undergraduate education, learning about various scientific fields. Next, they have to complete four to five years of study at an accredited chiropractic college.
During these years, students must complete at lease 4,200 hours of study, combining time in the classroom and laboratory and clinical experience.
To obtain a license, the chiropractor must pass four national board examinations and a state examination. Yearly accredited continuing education hours are necessary to keep practicing.
The many treatments
There are approximately 200 different techniques used by chiropractors, however 16 techniques are widely utilized, ranging from dynamic manual adjustments to gentle low-force treatments.
Treating the spine can relieve symptoms by taking pressure off the joint, muscles and nerves.
For instance, “sciatic” pain, a nerve-like sensation, can radiate to the buttock, leg and/or foot. Adjusting the lower lumbar spine or sacroiliac joint can remove interference or align the area taking pressure off the sciatic nerve.
However, some chiropractors are trained to adjust specific extremities as well.
For instance, feet are the base and they take a beating. Proper ankle, knee and hip alignment can alleviate foot aches and pains. If that is coupled with a supportive shoe along with muscle work, it can dramatically decrease those achy feet in the morning.
Many chiropractors take a holistic approach trying to find the cause along with treating the symptoms.