Chiropractic medicine focuses on the link between the body's structure and functions. These include the muscles, bones, and nervous system. A key part of chiropractic medicine is the belief that the body can heal itself when the necessary materials (such as nutrients) and appropriate structure and alignment are present.
Chiropractic medicine believes a person's health can be improved through hands-on treatments (called adjustments or manipulations) and a variety of chiropractic tools. These are used to improve and encourage healthy structure and alignment. Problems with structure and function are initially found by healthcare providers. They are doing a physical exam and taking X-rays. Lab tests and other testing may also be used. Many chiropractors offer nutritional advice, and complementary medicine. People often get instructions for exercises to further improve their health.
Chiropractic treatments may help ease lower back pain, muscle pain, and other bone pain. During treatment, people typically lie on a special table. The provider then works to realign different joints, particularly the spine.
Chiropractors have different training than licensed medical healthcare providers. The training is extensive and highly focused on the correct structure of the body. A Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) has had at least 3 years of college that focuses on biology or basic sciences. They then go on to complete at least 4 years of training at an accredited chiropractic college. This includes classroom, lab, and clinical courses. To be licensed to practice, they must also pass a comprehensive exam. Many states require yearly continuing education credits to keep the license.
The types of services chiropractors are allowed to provide are different in each state. Although some health insurance plans may cover chiropractic, coverage may be partial rather than complete.
When considering chiropractic treatment:
Ask if chiropractic treatment could help your condition.
Ask how long treatments may take and how many treatments you may need.
Check your insurance coverage.
Find out if there are out-of-pocket costs.
As with any healthcare treatment, discuss the risks and benefits of the treatment with the chiropractor.
Tell the chiropractor about any medicines you take. Chiropractors cannot legally prescribe medicines. They may provide counseling about nutrition. Or refer people to massage therapists or acupuncturists. Ask about possible interactions with the medicines or supplements you are now taking if any vitamins or supplements are advised. As with any vitamin or supplement addition, consider getting a second opinion on medicine interactions from your pharmacist.
Tell all of your healthcare providers about the health approaches, supplements, and medicines you use. This will give them a full picture of your health. It will help make sure of safe, effective, and coordinated care.