Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Chiropractic.
What is a chiropractic adjustment?
An adjustment is a highly-skilled and precise movement usually applied by hand or instrument to the vertebrae or other joints of the body by a chiropractor. Adjustments restore proper joint movement, improve function and normalize nerve function. When a joint is adjusted sometimes an air bubble may escape causing a “popping” noise, similar to when you crack your knuckles. Depending on the nature of the problem, your Doctor of Chiropractic may also utilize joint mobilization, muscle release techniques, muscle stimulation, ultrasound, laser and therapeutic exercises to relieve your pain and get you moving again. They will also educate you on how to avoid the recurrence of this issue and improve your overall health. An adjustment is just one of the many many tools that chiropractors utilize to help you return to health.
What type of education and training do chiropractors have?
Doctors of chiropractic are educated as first contact, portal of entry physicians, with an emphasis on diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to the nervous and musculoskeletal systems (the muscles, ligaments, discs and joints of the spine and all extremities). Educational requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among the most stringent of any of the healthcare professions. The typical applicant for chiropractic college has already acquired four years of pre-medical undergraduate college education, including courses in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, psychology and related lab work. Once accepted into an accredited chiropractic college, the requirements become even more demanding — four to five academic years of professional study are the standard. Doctors of chiropractic are educated in orthopaedics, neurology, biomechanics, human anatomy and physiology, clinical diagnosis including laboratory procedures, diagnostic imaging, exercise, nutrition and more. Because chiropractic care includes highly skilled adjustive techniques, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical technique training to master these effective procedures. In total, the chiropractic college curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience post undergraduate degree. The course of study is approved by an accrediting agency that is fully recognized in 40 countries around the world.
Do I need a referral to see a chiropractor?
No. A patient does not need a referral. Doctors of Chiropractic are educated as first contact, portal of entry physicians. This means that patients can consult them directly.
Is chiropractic treatment safe?
Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive professions specializing in the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal complaints. Although chiropractic has an excellent safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects. The risks associated with chiropractic, however, are extremely small. Many patients feel immediate relief following chiropractic treatment, but some may experience mild soreness, stiffness or aching, just as they do after some forms of exercise which indicates the positive physiological changes. Neck pain, balance disorders and some types of headaches are treated through precise neck adjustments. These adjustments work to improve joint mobility, normalize nerve function and restores range of motion while reducing muscle spasm thereby alleviating pressure and tension. Neck adjustments, when performed by a doctor of chiropractic are a remarkably safe procedure. When discussing the risks of any health care procedure, it is important to look at that risk in comparison to other treatments available for the same condition. In this regard, the risks of serious complications from spinal adjustments for conditions such as neck pain and headache compare very favorably with even the most conservative care options. For example, the risks associated with some of the most common treatments for musculoskeletal pain include over-the-counter, prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), and prescription painkillers are significantly greater than those of chiropractic adjustments. According to the American Journal of Gastroenterology, people taking NSAIDS are three times more likely than those who do not to develop serious adverse gastrointestinal problems such as hemorrhage (bleeding) and perforation. That risk rises to more than five times among people age 60 and older. Moreover, the number of prescriptions for powerful drugs such as oxycodone and hydrocodone have tripled in the past 12 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that abuse of these commonly prescribed painkillers are among the leading causes of accidental death in the United States. Overdoses of opioid painkillers are responsible for some 15,000 deaths per year; that’s more than the number of deaths from cocaine and heroin combined. Doctors of chiropractic are well trained professionals who provide patients with safe, effective care for a variety of common conditions. Their extensive education has prepared them to identify patients who have special risk factors and to get those patients the most appropriate care, even if that requires referral to a medical specialist.
Is chiropractic treatment appropriate for children?
Yes, children can benefit from chiropractic care. Children experience many types of falls and blows from activities of daily living as well as from participating in sports and postural habits. Injuries such as these may cause many symptoms including back and neck pain, stiffness, soreness or discomfort. Chiropractic care is always adapted to the individual patient. It is a highly skilled treatment, and in the case of children, very gentle.
Is chiropractic treatment ongoing?
The hands-on nature of the chiropractic treatment is essentially what requires patients to visit the chiropractor a number of times. To be treated by a chiropractor, a patient needs to be in his or her office. In contrast, a course of treatment from medical doctors often involves a pre-established plan that is conducted at home (i.e. taking a course of antibiotics once a day for a couple of weeks). A chiropractor may provide acute, chronic, and/or preventive care thus making a certain number of visits sometimes necessary. Your doctor of chiropractic should tell you the extent of treatment recommended and how long you can expect it to last in order to optimize your results.
Are chiropractors doctors?
Chiropractors are regulated in many countries around the world and designated to use the title “doctor” similar to physicians, optometrists and dentists after completing the extensive Doctor of Chiropractic degree program. Those professions who are recognized to use the “doctor” title have extensive training in their area of expertise that allows them to be diagnosticians – to provide a diagnosis.
What about vaccines?
Vaccination is not within the scope of chiropractic practice in Bermuda. Notwithstanding, the Bermuda Chiropractic Association recognizes that vaccination is a safe and effective public health practice for the prevention of infectious diseases. Members are encouraged to refer all patient questions, consultation and education regarding immunization and vaccinations to the appropriate public health authorities and/or health professionals whose scope of practice includes vaccination.