What is chiropractic care?
Chiropractic care is a licensed health care profession. Doctors of Chiropractic are primary care physicians that specialize in spinal health and total well-being. They are also known as DC’s or simply Chiropractors.
The first priorities of Chiropractors are an exact diagnosis of mechanical problems within the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine. This includes the prevention of future pain and injury. Chiropractors use adjustments to restore and improve joint function and support the nervous system.
Chiropractors are also trained and licensed to provide soft-tissue therapies, lifestyle changes and recommendations, fitness coaching, and nutritional advice.
Chiropractic care is considered a conservative treatment. This means it attempts to avoid unnecessary drugs and surgery. An estimated 50 million Americans see a chiropractor every year.
What is a chiropractic adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment is a safe, controlled, and specific force applied to a joint to restore correct function and mobility. These manual therapies can be performed by a DC or by Osteopaths. They are also known as spinal manipulation when performed on the spine.
Accidents, falls, and over-exertion can put stress on your spine and other joints. However, most joint problems occur from everyday living and work. Poor posture, desk ergonomics, long drives or commutes, and poor sleeping positions more often create a misalignment in joints. This impacts the bones, soft tissue, and nervous system, and can lead to chronic pain.
Chiropractic adjustments reduce pain, increase range of motion, and improve performance. Most but not all chiropractic adjustments are done by hand. Adjustments can be done on almost any joint.
What are the different types of adjustment?
The diversified chiropractic technique (DCT) is the most common adjustment technique, but there are dozens of chiropractic adjustment techniques. This includes the Thompson drop table technique and the activator method.
DCT is considered the core hands-on chiropractic adjustment. The diversified technique involves the application of a short (low-amplitude), quick (high-velocity) thrust over one restricted joint at a time.
What is the drop table method?
Also known as the Thompson Technique, the drop table method is very common. It was researched and developed by Dr. J. Clay Thompson. Almost all chiropractors receive training in it.
The Thompson Technique almost always involves a leg length inequality (LLI) test. It is also known as the Derifield-Thompson test. This leg check is done by looking at your feet to see if they are the same length, sometimes manipulating them around at the knee or ankle. The main purpose of this test is to determine postural distortions, especially in your pelvis. Studies show that it can be accurate within 3mm.
The drop table technique utilizes a specialized table that moves. This segmented drop table can be lifted up a few inches and dropped down. Compared to the diversified technique, the force of an adjustment on a drop table is low-velocity. This is due to the assistance of gravity.
The drop table technique is especially suited for adjusting patients with:
- Chronic back pain
- Family chiropractic (kids + teens)
- Hip adjustments
- Low back pain
- Kyphotic neck curve (“hunchback”)
- Pediatric adjustments (babies)
- Pregnant women
It is also well suited for those that prefer to not be manually adjusted by hand.
What is the activator method?
The activator method chiropractic technique uses a small, hand-held, spring-loaded instrument. This instrument is called an activator. Compared to DCT, it delivers a high velocity but low-amplitude impulse to a specific vertebrae or spinal joint.
The activator method is one of the most widely researched adjustment methods. Its low force is an excellent alternative to traditional manual manipulation. An activator method adjustment is a quick thrust that is very gentle.
Lying face down, an activator adjustment feels like a reflex test, like on your knee, without the reflex reaction. It is especially suited for patients suffering from:
- Bulging discs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated discs
- Inflammation at the joints
- Nerve conditions
- TMJ disorders
Children and seniors often appreciate the activator treatment for its gentle nature. The activator method provides an excellent alternative to traditional chiropractic adjustments, especially in sensitive areas such as for extremity, jaw, and neck manipulations. It can also be used for regular spinal adjustments.
What symptoms and conditions do chiropractic adjustments treat?
Adjustments can relieve pain and address many common health conditions, such as:
- Ankle pain
- Arm pain
- Arthritis & osteoarthritis
- Auto injury
- Back spasms
- Bulging & herniated disc
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Degenerative disc disease
- Elbow pain
- Foot pain
- Hand pain
- Headaches & migraines
- Hip pain
- Knee pain
- Leg pain
- Leg length discrepancy
- Muscle spasms
- Myofascial pain
- Neck pain
- Numbness or tingling
- Personal injury
- Pinched nerves
- Piriformis syndrome
- “Pins and needles”
- Shoulder pain
- Sports injury
- Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ)
- Wrist pain
- Work injury
Many more conditions causing acute and chronic pain can also be treated by chiropractic care.
Those with spinal cord compression, inflammatory arthritis, or those taking blood-thinning medication are not candidates for chiropractic. If you have a history of cancer, talk to your oncologist to confirm if chiropractic adjustments are right for you.
What education and licensure do chiropractors need?
In order to practice as a primary doctor, DC’s are required to:
Complete an undergraduate degree, usually in a science
Complete a 4-year doctorate program at a chiropractic college
Acquire a state license, often with individual state tests
Complete continuing education courses
Chiropractic education includes coursework in biology, anatomy & physiology, supervised clinical experience assessing, diagnosing, and adjusting the spine and joints, and more.
Doctors of Chiropractic currently complete on average 372 more hours of classroom instruction, than Medical Doctors (MDs). DC’s collaborate and are trained to refer you to the appropriate specialist as needed.
BackFit is integrative health. This means that you have access to a number of different specialists and providers under one roof. At BackFit your personalized plan could include chiropractic adjustments, spinal decompression, physical therapy, massage therapy, medical services, pain management, and more.
How much does chiropractic care cost?
According to multiple studies, the preventative care chiropractic adjustments provide costs the same or less than most other types of health care. Most health insurance plans now also cover chiropractic care.
What can I expect at my first chiropractic visit at BackFit?
Here at BackFit, our chiropractors work directly with our other medical professionals to provide whole-patient care.
In your first visit, we will:
- Consult with you.
- Obtain a detailed health history.
- Perform an examination.
- Obtain x-rays or other imaging in-house.
- Develop a working diagnosis.
Once a diagnosis is reached, we will provide options for various chiropractic treatment plans that include all of our services. If you have insurance, we will also confirm your chiropractic benefits before you start care. Or if you do not have insurance, we can discuss flexible cash plans with you.
At BackFit, treatment is always patient choice. This means that you choose what adjustments you receive to what parts of your body and what methods are used for your adjustment. We only adjust you how you want to be adjusted.