Chiropractic is an area of medicine that uses adjustments to the spine and other joints to relieve pain and improve overall health. If you are considering visiting a chiropractor, you may have questions about how it all works. Here are a few common questions about the experience of chiropractic care:
Are Chiropractors Real Doctors?
Chiropractors do not have medical doctorates, or M.D., degrees. They hold doctoral degrees in chiropractic care. Chiropractors in the United States usually need to complete a doctoral program on top of at least three years of undergraduate school.
In addition to their education, every state in the U.S. requires chiropractors to pass a national exam after completing their degree. After that is complete, they must get a license to work in the state in which they want to practice.
Why Do People Go to a Chiropractor?
Many people go to chiropractors for help with pain relief, pain management, or recovering from an injury. People may visit for back pain, neck pain, and headaches. They may also seek care for other reasons, including disease prevention, increased energy, better immune systems, and improvements in overall health.
What Happens at Your Appointment?
These are the basic elements of a typical chiropractors visit:
When you go to a chiropractor’s office for the first time, they will likely want to gather some basic information. They’ll ask you about things like where you have pain or discomfort, whether you have had any physical trauma such as a car accident, and your general health history. They may also do an exam to see how you walk, sit, and stand. They may test your range of motion in certain joints. The chiropractor may also have you perform some movements and stretches to see where you have pain or reduced flexibility.
Before moving on to adjust your spine or any of your joints, your chiropractor may want to take some X-rays. These are both a treatment tool and a safety measure. From the images, the doctor can see if any bones are out of alignment, and to what degree. They can also see if there are any possible injured areas that should be avoided during treatment. Certain structural problems may make it dangerous to move the bones.
During an adjustment, your doctor will move the bones in your spine (and possibly other joints). You lay on a special bench while the doctor adjusts your neck, back, hips, or shoulders. The goal is to get your bones back into the correct alignment.
Other Possible Treatments
Popping your neck is not the only thing a chiropractor can do for you. Many offices offer other treatments besides the usual adjustment. These can include things like massage, deep muscle release, assisted stretching, and even acupuncture. All of these can add to traditional or basic care, leading to even better results.
How Long Does it Take to Feel Better?
Many people who visit a chiropractor may feel some relief right away. You may have some soreness where the chiropractor was working. This is especially true if you have had a massage or assisted stretching session.
Find a Chiropractor Near You
When looking for a chiropractor, you should search for practices with an experienced team. If you are looking for other services, such as massage, check for those offerings on the practice website. For specific questions about your treatment, it is also a good idea to call the office to ask about their process. It may be intimidating to seek chiropractic care for the first time, but the investment in your health and well-being can be a worthwhile use of your time. Everyone deserves to live pain-free.