Are chiropractors real doctors?
Doctors of Chiropractic are licensed to practice in all 50 states, D.C., and many other countries around the world. They receive an education on par with any Medical Doctor, and in some areas, such as physiology, anatomy, and rehabilitation, their education is even more intensive than most Medical Doctors and Physical Therapists.
When a student applies to chiropractic college, they will have already received a four year undergraduate degree, with courses in biology, physiology, and the like. They then spend another four years in chiropractic school, with a significant amount of that time in clinical training. In fact, when someone graduates with a Doctor of Chiropractic, they will have received 4,820 hours of classroom and clinical study. By comparison, a Medical Doctor receives 4,670 hours, and a Doctor of Physical Therapy 3,398 hours. In addition, a Doctor of Chiropractic will complete one year (minimum 1000 hours) of residency with actual patient care. This curriculum is approved and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Is chiropractic safe?
Chiropractic treatment is widely considered one of the safest, non-invasive, drug-free types of therapy available for treatment of neuromusculoskeletal issues. Often, patients feel relief immediately after a chiropractic adjustment. Some people may experience some minor discomfort or soreness after an adjustment, very much like one would experience after exercise, which normally will fade within 24 hours. Cervical manipulation, often referred to as a neck adjustment, can improve mobility of the neck, restore range of motion, and reduce muscle spasms, which can help to relieve tension and pressure. This procedure, when performed by a well educated and skilled Doctor of Chiropractic, is remarkably safe.
The risks associated with chiropractic are historically very small and chiropractic has an excellent safety record, but no treatment is completely free of potentially adverse effects. There are some reports that associate upper high-velocity neck manipulation with a rare kind of stroke, called a vertebral artery dissection. This is a flap like tear in the inner lining of the vertebral artery, located in the neck, that supplies blood to the brain. However, there is also evidence that suggests this type of injury takes spontaneously in people with a pre-existing arterial disease. A vertebral artery dissection is also associated with common activities such a turning the head while swimming, driving, or having your hair shampooed in a salon. Patients that have this condition may seek a chiropractor for help because they have neck pain or headaches, which explains the connection to chiropractic. The rate of artery injures associated with chiropractic adjustments is similar to the risk of stroke in the general population, about 1 to 3 cases in 100,000.
When comparing the risk of chiropractic treatment to other forms of treatment for the same condition, such as neck pain or headache, chiropractic stacks up very favorably. For example, the risk associated with over-the-counter or prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), are much higher than the risks associated with chiropractic. According to the American Journal of Gastroenterology, people that take NSAIDS are three times more likely to experience problems such as gastrointestinal hemorrhage and perforation. Among people age 60 or older the risk rises to five times higher. Additionally, according to the Centers for Disease Control, prescriptions for powerful opioid painkillers such as hydrocodone and oxycodone have tripled over the past 12 years. Overdoses of opioid painkillers are responsible for 15,000 deaths annually, more than the number of deaths attributed to heroin and cocaine combined.
When you see your chiropractor or any other medical professional, it is important to be specific about any symptoms you are experiencing. This allows the doctor to accurately diagnose and treat your condition, or if needed, refer you to the appropriate specialist. A Doctor of Chiropractic is a well educated and highly trained professional whose extensive education allows them to identify those patients with special risk factors, and can either provide or refer to a specialist for the best possible care for your condition.
Do I need a referral to visit a chiropractor?
No. You do not need a referral to see a chiropractor. There are cases where you may be referred to a chiropractor though, due to the benefits of chiropractic care. All 50 U.S. states consider chiropractors a primary care provider, which allows you direct access. In addition, most health insurance plans allow you to simply call and schedule an appointment with a Doctor of Chiropractic. If there is a concern as to whether your health insurance plan would cover chiropractic without a referral, either contact the insurance company or contact us and we can work with you to determine your insurance coverage.
Does insurance cover chiropractic?
Yes, most health insurance plans will cover chiropractic for acute conditions, or rehabilitation. Among them include most major medical health insurance policies, Medicare, Medicaid, and workers’ compensation. Additionally, chiropractic care is available to active members of the armed forces as well as veterans at many major VA centers.
The specifics of what various health insurance plans will cover, such as number of visits, co-pays, etc. will vary by policy. Check with your health insurance company to be sure or give us a call and we can assist you in determining your insurance coverage.
Once you go to a chiropractor do you always have to go?
No. You do not have to go to a chiropractor for the rest of your life, but you may want to. Because of the hands-on nature of what chiropractors do, a certain number of visits may be necessary to fix whatever problem you are experiencing, but beyond that it is up to you as the patient.
Think of it like exercise. If you exercise for three months, you’ll feel better. You may lose weight, sleep better, or have more energy. If you stop, you will have benefited from the time you spent exercising. However, if you continue, you will experience even more benefit from it. This is why you will often hear people say they have been going to their chiropractor for a number of years.
As your nervous system affects every other system in your body, and your spine is central to this system, our experience is that patients that make chiropractic a regular part of their lives experience better overall health than those that do not.
How do I schedule an appointment?
Scheduling an appointment with Advanced Chiropractic and Physical Therapy is easy. During business hours, call us at 330-726-7404 and we can schedule and appointment convenient for you at either our Boardman or Hubbard chiropractic offices. Additionally, you can request an appointment online, choose your first and second choices for when you would like to schedule your appointment, and we will compare them to our calendar, then we will be in touch with you to confirm your appointment.
We have been servicing the Youngstown and Mahoning Valley area since 2001 with convenient locations in Boardman and Hubbard. At Advanced Chiropractic and Physical Therapy we are multi-disciplinary rehabilitation group that treats work comp injuries, whiplash, sports injuries and specializes in much more than just low back pain.