Spoiler alert: It’s so much more than cracking your back for you.
In this article, we’ll answer your most burning question: “What does a chiropractor do?”
It could almost be a word association game: I say “chiropractor,” you say “cracking people’s backs.” But there’s got to be more to chiropractic care than that, right? What exactly is going on at the chiropractor’s office?
Chiropractors receive a lot of training, but they’re not guarding any proprietary secrets.
At Oviedo Chiropractic, we love to educate our clients on the type of care they’re receiving when visiting a chiropractor, so we’ve pulled back the curtain to answer your most burning question…”What exactly does a chiropractor do?”
What Is a Chiropractor?
Before we can talk about what a chiropractor does, we need to define what a chiropractor is.
Chiropractors typically do not attend medical school, but this doesn’t mean you can earn the proper certifications in a week. Your chiropractor likely spent a total of eight years studying anatomy, chemistry, physics, biology, and imaging interpretation alongside chiropractic principles.
They graduate with a Doctorate of Chiropractic degree and may use the honorific of “Dr.” if they choose.
The primary focus of chiropractic care is the connection between the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. Chiropractors hold a holistic view of the body, meaning that they see these three systems as affecting each other. Thus, by adjusting the misalignment of the spine, you can alleviate issues affecting the nervous system or muscles.
What to Expect At Your First Visit
Your first visit to the chiropractor should include an x-ray of the affected areas. This gives your doctor an inside look at your joints. A good chiropractor should be able to show you on the images exactly what issues they can identify (at Oviedo Chiropractic, we can even send you a digital copy of your images if you’d like).
Once they have an idea of what they are working with, they can develop a treatment plan that’s based specifically on your injuries. They should never apply the exact same treatments or adjustments to every patient that walks through their door.
You will fill out a form that lists why you’re visiting and any past medical issues such as surgeries or hospital stays. Make sure that you tell your chiropractor if you’re experiencing neck pain, back pain, or other pain so they can be sure to focus on those areas.
After a few visits, your doctor will be able to feel if your muscles have started to tighten or your joints have started to become misaligned again without requiring another X-ray. Thus, your first visit is typically the longest. Subsequent visits may only last 15 minutes or so, depending on your treatment plan.
So Much More Than Back Pain!
Many people are surprised to learn that a chiropractor can help with much more than just back and neck pain. But remember, chiropractors specialize in treating the entire body, not just the spine!
Common injuries that chiropractors can treat include:
- Pinched nerves
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Sports injuries
- Auto accident injuries
- Pregnancy-related pain
- Soft tissue injuries
Any time you are feeling pain, numbness, weakness, or tingling, that’s a good sign that you would benefit from a visit to the chiropractor!
What Exactly Does a Chiropractor Do?
Now that we know who chiropractors are and what conditions they treat…what exactly does a chiropractor do?
Chiropractic treatments vary according to the nature and severity of your condition. A patient who comes in with sciatica will have a much different experience than someone with a trigger point. So while we can’t give you an idea of which treatments you will receive, we can give an overview of the more common chiropractic treatments available.
The most popular form of treatment is a chiropractic adjustment. During an adjustment, the chiropractor applies force to a specific area of the body in order to correct a misalignment (called a subluxation) of a particular joint.
Another treatment your chiropractor might use is flexion distraction. This technique uses a specialized table to flex your lower spine. This gentle stretch helps to “plump up” the intervertebral discs and reduce pain.
Many chiropractors also use electrical stimulation (or E-stim) to aid in tissue repair. E-stim machines use electricity to simulate muscle contractions, increasing circulation and reducing inflammation. E-stim procedures are not painful; most patients typically feel a “buzzing” or tingling sensation.
Massage therapy isn’t a type of chiropractic care, but an increasing number of chiropractors have at least one massage therapist in-office. Medical massages are not your average spa massage, however. Because they are overseen by your chiropractor, your massage therapist will use different techniques to treat your condition and provide pain relief, such as vacuum cupping or stretching exercises.
Chiropractic Care: NO Referral Needed!
That’s right. You do NOT need a referral from your primary physician or specialist for chiropractic care.
In fact, most chiropractor visits are covered by health insurance plans (or your car insurance, if you were involved in an accident). However, chiropractic treatment is a lot more affordable than a traditional doctor’s visit, so most people won’t need to rely on their health insurance to afford treatment.
At Oviedo Chiropractic, we accept a wide variety of insurance plans and some chiropractic treatments are covered by certain Medicare plans, but you’ll find our cash payment options to be extremely affordable. We don’t want to let anything stand between you and quality chiropractic care!
There’s no need to tolerate your pain and discomfort for another day; relief is available. And if you live in the Central Florida area, schedule an appointment so we can develop a plan to help you live pain-free.