Frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Chiropractor a Doctor?

Yes. The Doctor of Chiropractic is required by law to have a minimum of six years’ study. The first two years of study at a college or university are pre-chiropractic science courses. Chiropractic college consists of four years’ study, with the last two years including out-patient clinic where he/she will treat patients with various conditions on a daily basis

After completing his/her studies, the Doctor of Chiropractic must pass a State Board of Examiners examination in the basic sciences. This is the same type of basic sciences examination that other doctors, including medical doctors need to undergo. The Doctor of Chiropractic also has to pass an examination by the state Board of Chiropractic before he receives a license to practice.

The Doctor of Chiropractic continues to study throughout his/her career. In order to maintain a license in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Chiropractor must complete credit courses every year. This is a good thing because it keeps Chiropractors up on the latest studies and techniques available.

Do Chiropractors take X-Rays?

Yes, Chiropractors will take x-rays when necessary. After an examination, the chiropractor may decide that he needs additional diagnostic information. Chiropractors may take x-rays to rule out problems and to determine if the patient is actually a chiropractic case. X-rays can help the Chiropractor determine the best possible treatment technique and plan for you. X-rays are not always necessary or advisable. If you have had recent x-rays taken elsewhere that are related to your condition your Chiropractor may be able to use them to learn more about your problem. You may feel confident that your Chiropractor has extensive training in radiology. He is licensed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and his x-ray equipment must pass regular inspection.

Do Chiropractors prescribe drugs?

No. Drugs and medications are never used by Chiropractors. Most drugs block or mask the cause of pain and symptoms. Masking symptoms will make it more difficult to find the source of the problem. A Chiropractor looks for the cause of the problem. Knowing that only nature heals, the Chiropractor strives to remove interference to normal bodily function so that the body can heal itself.

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Questions About Chiropractic Care

What will happen when I make an appointment with a chiropractor?

  • A complete health history will be taken and discussed with you.
  • A physical examination to include chiropractic, orthopedic, neurological and possibly x-ray studies.
  • The doctor will review your health history and examination findings. The doctor will explain the findings to you, and recommend a treatment plan. In addition to chiropractic manipulation, recommendations for other therapies such as heat, ice, ultrasound, traction, etc. may be given. A treatment plan may also include nutritional advice, exercise and suggestions on how you can help yourself by modifying your daily activities.
  • When you receive your first chiropractic manipulation you may or may not hear the vertebrae move. You may feel the vertebrae move, but usually this is not painful unless there is a lot of muscle spasm and swelling in the area. In that case the chiropractor will precede the adjustment with some type of passive modalities such as hot or cold packs, or electro-muscle stimulation to relax the muscle.

Will one chiropractic treatment be enough?

Sometimes immediate relief is obtained. Usually, it will take several treatments to give the body a chance to relearn and accept the proper alignment of the spine. When a condition has existed over a period of time, muscles and ligaments will stretch or contract in an effort to compensate for the misalignment.

What will it cost?

Chiropractic is very affordable. Most insurance plans include it in their benefits. You may have a co-pay or yearly deductible. Your benefits can be easily determined by contacting your insurance company or one of trained staff.

If you treat for a work related injury, your employer's workman's compensation insurance will pay for your care.

If you have an automobile accident, your no-fault personal injury protection benefits will pay for your care.

What is a Subluxation?

Misaligned spinal vertebrae (bones of the spine) are called subluxations.

A vertebral subluxation is a spinal condition that interferes with the ability of the nervous system to function properly.

Subluxations can be caused at birth when the infant is twisted, turned, pulled or withdrawn with forceps from the birth canal.

Subluxations can be caused by some of the following: Incorrect lifting, bending, twisting, over-exercise, improper seat height at your desk, repetitive movements on the job that cause gradual and cumulative muscle spasms. Stress and substance abuse can cause subluxations.

Subluxations can be caused by minor accidents that we are likely to ignore. At a later time when symptoms appear, a minor accident might not be remembered as the possible cause.

Automobile accidents are a major cause of subluxations. Often people believe that the headache, stiffness or ache will go away by itself. These symptoms should never be taken lightly and should be checked by a chiropractor as soon as possible.

What does the cracking sound mean when the chiropractor moves the bones? Does it mean the bones are cracking?

No. Some people also think the sound comes from the bones rubbing together, but that doesn't happen either. The sound that is heard when the chiropractor manipulates the spine is caused by a release of gas from the joint. This causes the "crack" sound and is perfectly harmless.

I wonder if spinal adjustments are dangerous and whether chiropractors carry malpractice insurance like medical doctors do?

Instances of people being harmed from spinal adjustments are very low. It is possible for a bone fracture to happen with osteoporosis or some other underlying disease. The chiropractor will screen for those by x-ray and examination. Yes, Chiropractors do buy malpractice insurance. They pay a lot less than do medical doctors due to the safe nature of chiropractic treatment and the low incidence of lawsuits against chiropractors. Chiropractors pay about 5% of what most doctors pay and about 2% of what most surgeons pay.

Why do chiropractors keep their patients coming back for several treatments?

The goal of the chiropractor is to correct the cause of the problem which is subluxation. It takes time for the body to adapt to the repositioning of the vertebra. Chronic conditions may take longer to correct because over time the body has adapted to vertebra out of place, but that results in chronic pain. Let's compare that to when a medical doctor writes a prescription which is usually for several doses per day over several days, and you are instructed to complete the whole course of medication. Likewise, the chiropractor will recommend a course of treatment that should be completed in order to attain optimal correction. The advantage of chiropractic is that it can be accomplished without drugs, surgery or other invasive procedures.

Why does my chiropractor need an x-ray?

If your house was crooked, you wouldn't try to fix it by putting on a fresh coat of paint. You would want to inspect the foundation so that you could determine what structural flaws created the imbalance. At times, based on the findings of your physical examination, the chiropractor may decide that he needs to look more closely at your spine to determine the cause of your imbalance. This way he can pinpoint and correct the subluxation that may be the cause of your health problem. Furthermore, x-rays are diagnostic tools that help your chiropractor verify that you will benefit from chiropractic care. With the help of x-rays, he can rule out some underlying disease or condition that may require a referral to another kind of health care specialist