A chiropractor is typically a medical healthcare professional specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, often with an emphasis on manipulation and manual therapy through the spine. Chiropractic is an unregulated profession in most states, although some areas have laws that limit which types of medical professionals may perform such therapies. Chiropractic is based on the premise that a patient’s alignment is controlled by the underlying structure of the body. Therefore, a chiropractor seeks to align the patient’s spine so that he or she may assume and perform all normal movements in the world. Chiropractors use spinal manipulation and other manual therapies to correct misaligned spinal bones, joints, muscles, and nerves.
A chiropractor can treat a wide range of conditions and ailments, including sports injuries, neck pain, and back pain. In the office, a chiropractor will perform spinal adjustments and sometimes perform massage therapy, although he will more often than not treat his patients with spinal manipulations. Most chiropractors focus on assessing and correcting subluxations in the spine, although they may also recommend physical therapy and recommend alternative treatments such as massage, exercise, and acupuncture.
Chiropractic treatment involves evaluating your symptoms and determining your specific condition with a series of tests and examinations before starting a treatment plan. Your treatment plan will be determined by your chiropractor based on the cause of your symptoms, age, physical history, and symptoms experienced prior to your initial visit. A Chiropractor may recommend that you undergo one or more spinal manipulations, muscle testing, and X-rays in order to obtain more information about your condition. Once a diagnosis is made, a treatment plan can be devised that will help you achieve your goals.
Before a Chiropractor will begin treatment, he may ask you to complete a physical exam to determine the cause of your pain. During your physical exam, your chiropractor will evaluate your posture, range of motion, and muscles in order to come up with a treatment plan. The results of your physical exam can help your chiropractor to determine which techniques will be most effective for you. For example, if your back pain is caused by nerve compression, then a massage may be recommended; if your back pain is caused by muscle weakness, then an exercise regime may be most beneficial.
Chiropractors believe that the nervous system controls most functions in the body, including the functioning of the digestive system, immune system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, and cognitive process. In fact, many chiropractic practitioners consider the nervous system to be the core foundation of health. One of the primary functions of the nervous system is to control muscle function, so it is important that chiropractic care is administered through gentle manipulation of the soft tissues of the extremities, especially the hands, arms, and legs. While some people may feel slight discomfort after receiving chiropractic care, this is normal and often goes away within a few days. Some people may experience more discomfort or a longer duration of time, but should rest assured that this is normal. Your chiropractor will most likely give you specific instructions as to how he intends to manipulate your areas of concern.
Some chiropractic treatments are performed on an outpatient basis, while other treatments are performed in the evenings or on weekends. Many chiropractic offices even offer day or weekend hours of operation so that patients who have a busy schedule or other responsibilities can still receive their chiropractor’s services. Chiropractic treatments are not generally covered by insurance, but may be covered in certain circumstances. Your chiropractor will discuss the benefits and risks of the various treatments that he offers with you before he determines the best course of treatment for you. Your condition and the severity of your condition are the most important factors that he will take into consideration when deciding which type of chiropractic treatment is best for you.