Circle of Hands
Chiropractic Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  Why should I see a chiropractor?
  The simplest most direct answer is “To feel better,” but there are many other answers to the question “WHY?”
1. To relieve pain both chronic and acute.
2. To restore/maintain normal joint function and alignment which may help decrease the normal degeneration that occurs as we age.
3. To prevent progressive worsening of a condition, e.g. people who “blow” or herniate discs typically have a long history of back pain and injuries. Proper treatment and exercise before a disc “blows” can dramatically reduce the likelihood of it herniating.
4. To prevent the development of scar tissue and maladaptive body compensation after an injury.
5. To relieve muscle spasms, reduce swelling and improve range of motion, and reduce or relieve stiffness.

  What should I expect on my first chiropractic visit?
  The initial visit typically lasts 30 to 60 minutes. Dr. Morrison will take a complete medical history and will perform an orthopedic and neurological exam to arrive at a diagnosis. At this time she will also screen for conditions that require referral to another specialist. Dr. Morrison will palpate (feel) the spine and/or extremities in search for misaligned vertebrae, joints that are too tight or too loose, muscular imbalances, and muscle tenderness. She may order an x-ray of the area of complaint to rule out the presence of a fracture or other pathology, which would contraindicate chiropractic treatment, or require referral to another specialist.
Once Dr. Morrison reaches a diagnosis treatment can begin. Her repertoire includes a variety of adjustment styles, which are tailored to the needs of the individual patient. With most adjustments a "popping" sound may be heard. This is generally not uncomfortable, but can be surprising the first time. Dr. Morrison also utilizes "low force" methods which involve lighter contacts. In some cases (such as elderly patients with advanced osteoporosis or other sensitive individuals), only low force adjustments are appropriate. She utilizes therapies such as ultrasound, hot and cold packs, and electrical muscle stimulation. Dr. Morrison teaches patients corrective exercises and stretches, and when appropriate provides supportive collars and braces. She may recommend vitamins, minerals, or other supplements.

  How many treatments will I need?
  As with any type of treatment this will vary, depending on the specifics of the individual case. In acute cases you may need treatment 3 times per week for a few weeks with the frequency of visits decreased as improvement occurs. If you do not show improvement within two weeks Dr. Morrison will refer you to an appropriate specialist. The majority of people will notice improvement in 1 to 3 visits.

  I have heard that once I start seeing a chiropractor I have to come forever. Is this true?
  Many chiropractors believe that everyone should see a chiropractor on a regular basis. Their philosophy is that you should have regular back check-ups and adjustments just like you need regular dental check-ups. Dr. Morrison does not believe that everyone needs regular care.
Regular care for people with chronic pain can improve their quality of life and reduce their need for drugs. Many drugs can impair mental faculities and present long term health risks. Some competitive athletes also benefit from regular care because of the tremendous demands they place on their bodies. Treatments for athletes helps them maintain and enhance their competitive edge.
Chiropractic is a method of healing which helps the body function at its best.

  Why are X-Rays needed for treatment?
  X-rays will be ordered if Dr. Morrison believes they will provide information which may change the treatment to be provided. The first and probably most important reason is to find fractures, or other pathology of the bones and joints, which would contraindicate adjusting, or require referral to a medical doctor. X-rays also identify any abnormal curvatures of the spine, scoliosis, joint misalignments, as well as arthritis.

  What is a subluxation?
  This is the name chiropractors give to the spinal joint dysfunction that they correct by manipulation or adjustment. The subluxation is a functional entity, not necessarily a structural one, and therefore often is not visible on x-ray. For example, a sprained ankle is very painful and certainly causes dysfunction, but x-ray will not usually show anything abnormal.

A modern consensus definition is: "A motion segment ( a motion segment simply put is a joint ie. the joint between two vertebra) in which alignment, movement integrity, and /or physiologic function are altered although contact between the joint surfaces remains intact."

Its components are:
1. Abnormal function and/or range of motion in a spinal joint
2. Nerve and /or vascular involvement
3. Often, but not necessarily, some structural displacement.
Not all components have to be present, for a subluxation to exist.

Causes of subluxation are divided into two basic categories extrinsic, or external, and intrinsic, or internal. Some extrinsic causes include: Trauma, posture, occupation, micro-trauma, and overuse. Some intrinsic causes include: Fatigue, stress, scoliosis, illness, structural abnormalities, and arthritis.

  What is an activator?
  The "activator" is mechanical device used to perform an adjustment. It is a small spring-loaded device with a cocking mechanism that has a variable range of force. It delivers a very quick light impulse. The activator is useful for patients who need a very low-force adjustment, or just don't like a regular manual (hands-on) adjustment.

  Do chiropractic adjustments cause stroke?
  The most current research shows no greater risk of stroke from seeing a chiropractor. Risk of Stroke

  I have arthritis. Is it safe for me to go to a chiropractor?
  In the vast majority of cases the answser is yes. In fact chiropractic is very beneficial in reducing the pain associated with arthritis and helping to maintain joint mobility. In a minority of cases of severe arthritis, adjustments are contraindicated. However even in these cases physiotherapy is often helpful.

  Are doctors of chiropractic medical doctors?
  No, Doctors of chiropractic go to chiropractic colleges like dentists go to dental colleges

  Can chiropractic doctors presribe medicaton?
  Chiropractic doctors cannot prescribe medication. If Dr. Morrison thinks that you may benefit from prescription medication she will refer you to a medical doctor.

  What are the educational requirements for becoming a chiropractor?
  In North America there is a minimum of 6 years of university-level training. All aspects must meet official accreditation standards, and a graduate must complete national licensing board examinations before gaining the right to practice. Independent government and medical studies in the U.S., Sweden and New Zealand have concluded that chiropractic education is the equivalent of medical education in the basic sciences.
Admission requirements to a chiropractic college include a minimum of 2 years of undergraduate college education. The prerequisites include biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and physiology. The length of the professional chiropractic program is 4 academic years, with a minimum of 4,200 hours. In fact, hours at most U.S. colleges range from 4,400 to 5,220 hours and average 4,822.

  What is RSI?
  Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is an umbrella term for a number of overuse injuries affecting the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, and nerves) of the neck, upper and lower back, chest, shoulders, arms and hands. Typically arising as aches and pains, these injuries can progress to become crippling disorders that prevent sufferers from working or leading normal lives.

Why should I care? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that repetitive trauma disorders (not including back injuries) accounted for 62% (308,000) of all reported work-related illness cases in 1995. Despite their prevalence, workers, employers, and the medical profession poorly understand these injuries. Getting appropriate diagnosis, treatment, compensation, and workplace accommodation is often difficult and places a further burden on the injured worker. .

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