Frequently Asked Questions
How quickly will I begin to experience positive results?
The short answer is within a few days to a few weeks. There are a number of factors that determine how good a candidate will be able to “hold” their spinal correction. It is important to acknowledge that factors such as age, prior history of injury / re-injury, occupation and compliance in addition to your individualized treatment plan and recommendations will determine your progress.
We schedule regular follow-up visits with all our patients in order to closely observe your progress. If it appears you are not progressing as quickly as we would expect, we may make changes to your current care plan, recommend further diagnostic testing, or refer to one of the massage or acupuncture specialists with whom we work closely. We will not allow care to continue indefinitely should we fail to see sufficient progress.
Do I need X-Rays? / What if I already have films taken?
Radiographs, or x-rays are a specific diagnostic tool used to rule out any pathology or contraindication to chiropractic care. They essentially act as a blueprint to allow the doctor to identify any underlying spinal / structural imbalances which may causing your spine-related issues and potentially slow down your care. Our goal is to always help and never to hurt a patient.
During your initial visit, you may be required to be sent out for x-ray films if the doctor:
- Has reason to suspect any underlying pathology or spinal/structural imbalance
- Your progress of care is slower than normal or none at all
- You have sustained any recent bodily trauma (motor vehicle, sports, slip/fall, etc.)
Some patients present to the office having had x-ray films taken in the past of a specific area related to a health concern. These are always welcome to be presented to the doctor. Depending on the type of injury sustained, or if it is a reoccurring injury, updated films may be warranted, especially if this is the reason you are presenting to the chiropractic office. Having an updated “blueprint” of your spine will increase the doctor’s diagnostic power and allow him to let the patient know where he or she is “right now”.
Do I need a referral from a medical physician for chiropractic care?
No, you do not need an MD referral before visiting a doctor of chiropractic. As defined by federal and state regulations, chiropractors are considered first contact physicians.
Following a detailed consultation and examination, the doctor of chiropractic will determine a working diagnosis and at that time, make determinations as to whether any referrals to any other health care provider are necessary at that time.
What type of educational training do chiropractors have?
Chiropractors are educated as primary contact health care practitioners, with an emphasis on musculoskeletal physiology, spinal diagnosis and treatment. Educational requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions.
An applicant to a chiropractic college has already acquired 4 years of undergraduate college education including courses in biology, organic and inorganic chemistry, physics, psychology, physiology and related lab work.
A chiropractic degree consists five academic years of professional study. Due to the hands-on nature of chiropractic and the intricate adjusting techniques, a significant portion of professional study is dedicated to clinical training.
In total, the curriculum for a chiropractor includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience. The course of study is approved by an accrediting agency that is fully recognized by the U. S. Department of Education, as would be the case for any other professional program (i.e. medical, dental, or optometry).
Is chiropractic treatment ongoing?
The hands-on nature of chiropractic care is essentially what requires patients to visit us a number of times in the beginning. In order to make corrective changes that will last over time, biomechanical changes need to take place. Much akin to braces on a child’s teeth or lifting weights at the gym, “force over time” is necessary to ensure positive permanent changes take place.
It is not uncommon for a patient to be seen frequently for the first few weeks of care in order to initiate spinal correction and alleviate their presenting symptoms. Each patient’s case history and case presentation are different and will be personalized with the outcome of keeping time in our office to a minimum.
At the beginning of care, we will share with you our clinical recommendations so you will know exactly what type of time commitment you can expect. Our goal is to help you help yourself so that we get you back on track without becoming dependent upon us.
Is chiropractic treatment safe?
Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest, non-invasive and drug-free therapies available when caring for neuromusculoskeletal (nerve, muscle and bone) issues. Although chiropractic has a superb safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects. The risks associated with chiropractic however, are extremely small.
The art and science that is chiropractic is based on a deep respect for the body’s ability to self-heal by seeking to restore range of motion, reduce muscle spasm/pain and reduce irritation to the nerves. This helps to alleviate pressure and tension in the key areas of the body (most notably the neck and low back) and allow optimal functioning of the organs and tissues under control of those nerves.
Gentle mobilization of the bones of the neck and low back, often called the chiropractic adjustment, are the focal point during treatment in order to restore imbalances to the vertebrae.
Neck mobilization is a remarkably safe procedure. While some reports have associated high-velocity neck manipulation with a certain kind of stroke, or vertebral artery dissection, there is no clear, scientifically based understanding of any such connection. The occurrence of such is extremely rare: 1 in 5.85 million manipulations based on the clinical reports and scientific studies to date.
While being evaluated by us for neck pain or headache, be very specific about your symptoms. This will help us offer the safest and most effective care including if necessary, referral to another health care provider.
It is important for patients to understand the risks associated with some of the most common treatments for musculoskeletal pain — prescription and over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — as these treatments may carry risks significantly greater than those of chiropractic procedures.
According to a study from the American Journal of Gastroenterology, approximately one-third of all hospitalizations and deaths related to gastrointestinal bleeding can be attributed to the use of aspirin or NSAID painkillers like ibuprofen. Professional liability (malpractice) insurance costs a chiropractor between $800 and about $3000 dollars yearly, for millions of dollars of coverage. The average costs for the same coverage for a physician practicing internal medicine range between $30,000 and $65,000 yearly. The insurance companies, who’d have to pay out damages to an injured patient, clearly know that the practice of chiropractic has an extremely high level of safety and effectiveness when compared to routine medical care.
What is chiropractic care?
Chiropractic care is a natural method of health care that focuses on detecting and correcting the cause or causes of certain health care concerns, rather than focusing on simply managing symptoms.
Physical symptoms such as aches and pains or loss of mobility in key areas like the neck or low back are among the most common conditions a chiropractor treats. These symptoms are often caused when the skull, neck, or spinal vertebrae lose their proper alignment due to accumulated stressors, injury, repetitive or singular movements or a combination thereof (i.e. physical, mental, chemical or emotional). In these misaligned regions, interference builds up by putting unwanted pressure on the nerve roots that emanate from the spinal cord and impair the functioning of the muscles, tissues, organs and glands of the body.
The art and science that is chiropractic is based on a deep respect for the body’s ability to self-heal by seeking to restore range of motion, reduce muscle spasm/pain and reduce irritation to the nerves. This helps to alleviate pressure and tension in the key areas of the body (most notably the neck and low back) and allow optimal functioning of the muscles, organs and tissues under control of those nerves.
The chiropractic adjustment itself is a gentle mobilization of the vertebrae that surround the spinal cord and associated nerve roots that have been detected and evaluated by your chiropractor. The end result is removing this interference so that the major systems of the body (muscles, tissues, organs, glands) can communicate, generate new healthy tissue, adapt to stressors and ultimately allow the patient to function as his or her best.
There is always a time for medication and surgery, however the paradigm shift in today’s society is to try non-invasive care (i.e. chiropractic) first, drugs / medication second, and surgery last.
Chiropractic, Acupuncture or Massage: What does my body need?
Patients prefer our office because we offer integrated complementary health services at the same location. While we strive to return the patient to optimal well being as quickly as possible, is it THE PATIENT who is always in charge of their health care decisions and we will do our best to support these choices. That said, it is sometimes necessary for the patient to receive a combination of treatments for a brief period of time in order to facilitate their healing process, but we will always discuss it with you.
Does chiropractic care hurt?
The chiropractic adjustment self, in most situations, is completely painless. There are times however, in rare cases, where a patient must be moved through various positions in an attempt to make spinal corrections, and when in some of these positions, previously or currently inflamed areas can be reactivated. Typically, the patient usually feels no more pain than they would be “feeling on their own”.
When working with someone in the initial phases of care, we are asking a lot of the body in order to rehabilitate the affected tissues and other structural areas in order for the body to hold itself in a new, more proper spinal posture.
The most common presentation is for the patient to experience some shifting soreness, stiffness, aches or discomforts in areas in which they have never felt before. The sensation would be much the same as someone working out who has not done so in a while. This is a perfectly normal reaction and lets both doctor of chiropractic and patient know that the body is trying to hold the new alignment.
What is the “crack” I hear when I get treated?
The noise that you hear when getting treated is nitrogen gas being released from the joint, and is much the same noise you hear when cracking your knuckles. Nothing is breaking as the adjustment itself does no shearing motion to the joints or joint capsule (the ligament tissue that holds the bones together). The neck adjustment is of most concern, especially for new patients, as the sound they hear is loudest only because the ears are right there to amplify the sound.
It is our goal to work with you at your pace, not ours. There are many methods of treating the body using the chiropractic adjustment. Be honest with your chiropractor and he will present you with options throughout your care.
Who can benefit from chiropractic care?
If you have a spine, you will benefit from chiropractic care.
Chiropractic is based on a deep respect for the body’s ability to self-heal by seeking to restore range of motion, reduce muscle spasm, pain as well as irritation to the nerves.
Even those who are not in any pain, but wish to perform optimally rely on chiropractic care. Dr. Erik has helped the following maximize their potential.
Will my insurance cover chiropractic care?
Many insurance companies have chiropractic coverage to some extent. Some policies offer more benefits than others.
We will be happy to check on your benefits even before you make an appointment to come in and are happy to work with almost all insurance policies. If you do not have insurance coverage, we think that you will find care in our practice very affordable. Since there are no surgical nor invasive procedures involved, the cost of care is kept reasonable in contract to what you might be accustomed to with conventional medical treatment.
Do children need chiropractic care?
As a chiropractor, Dr. Erik has cared for many children and parents are always welcome to bring in their children for complimentary consults if they are already under care.
Often, a child’s spine will resemble that of either parent, so it is diagnostically helpful to care for children so that congenital defects, such as scoliosis can be detected early on.
Further, it is important to remember that many nerve-related problems that present in adults actually start from seemingly benign injuries that occurred as young children or teens. Even minor traumas can have a lasting effect. There is a saying within the health care community that “your body keeps score”, meaning that even small problems add up over the years and can decrease the body’s ability to adapt overall to daily stressors as we age. So it is best to find and correct any spinal imbalances early.
Dr. Erik has had positive results with kids with poor immune responses (chronic colds, coughs, sore throats), ear infections, scoliosis, playground injuries, sleep issues, colic, ADD, asthma and allergies.
Kids tend to like chiropractic because it is pain free, drug free, and a fun experience all around.
What if I’m pregnant? Can I receive chiropractic care?
Whether you are pregnant, or postpartum, chiropractic can have a positive influence when addressing all of the discomforts that women face during these various stages.
Chiropractic has been shown to provide greater comfort and flexibility, helps to maintain energy, ease spinal and low back pain. Specialized techniques are used throughout the various trimesters as well as postpartum so as to maximize comfort for mother and child.
Realign more than just your spine
You'll experience more than just a spinal adjustment at True North Chiropractic. We'll help you get the life you had back before your pain or injury. Make your appointment with Dr. Erik today!