Chiropractic is a healthcare profession which focuses on injuries and conditions of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system as well as the effects of these on overall health. Chiropractic care is generally utilized to treat neuromusculoskeletal complications, including but not limited to: back pain, neck pain, joint pain and headaches.
Doctor of Chiropractic?
Doctors of Chiropractic, abbreviated as DCs, also commonly known as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians, practice a hands-on, drug-free alternative treatment approach to healthcare, performing patient assessments, determining a diagnosis and following with an appropriate treatment. Chiropractors possess a wide variety of diagnostic skills and are also qualified to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises to patients, providing them with nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling in the process.
Chiropractors commonly evaluate patients using clinical examinations, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging and other diagnostic interventions to establish the most appropriate time to begin chiropractic treatment. Chiropractors may also readily refer patients to receive care from other healthcare providers when chiropractic treatment is not suitable to treat the patient’s condition or the condition warrants co-management in conjunction with other healthcare providers.
In many instances, such as with lower back pain, chiropractic treatment may be an individual’s primary form of treatment. In other cases where severe, complicated injuries or conditions are present, chiropractic may be utilized to complement or support medical treatment by healing the musculoskeletal issues associated with the existing injury or condition.
Similar to doctors of medicine, abbreviated as MDs, doctors of chiropractic are subject to the boundaries established in state practice acts and are regulated by state licensing boards. A DC’s education in four-year doctoral graduate school programs is nationally accredited through an agency which operates under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Education. After graduating, chiropractors are required to pass national board exams in order to acquire a license to practice, where they must then maintain their license annually by earning continuing education, or CE, credits through state-approved CE programs.
Spinal Manipulation Explained
A spinal manipulation, also referred to as a chiropractic adjustment, is one of the most recognized and common therapeutic procedures performed by chiropractors. Chiropractic adjustments help restore the mobility of the joints and other structures of the body by utilizing the application of manual and controlled force against the joints which have become restricted in their movement, or hypomobile, due to tissue damage or injury. Tissue injury can be the result of a single traumatic circumstance, such as through the improper lifting of a heavy object or through repetitive and constant stress from sitting in improper positions with poor posture for an extended period of time. In both cases, the affected structures of the body can become physically and chemically altered, resulting in pain, inflammation and limited function. A spinal manipulation of the affected joints and tissues can ultimately restore mobility, improving the symptoms of pain and muscle tightness, allowing the tissues to heal on their own.
Chiropractic adjustments infrequently cause discomfort. However, patients may occasionally report feeling mild soreness or aching following treatment, which generally resolve within 12 to 48 hours. In contrast to other common treatments for pain, such as over-the-counter and prescription pain medications, the conservative approach of chiropractic care offers individuals a safe and effective, alternative treatment option for their specific injuries or conditions.
Why Go With Chiropractic?
Annually, chiropractors care for more than 30 million Americans, adults and children alike. Doctors of chiropractic are licensed to practice in all 50 states, as well as in the District of Columbia, and in many nations around the world.
An increasing list of research studies and reviews has established that the treatment methods and techniques provided by chiropractic physicians are both safe and effective. The evidence strongly supports the natural, whole-body and cost-effective approach of chiropractic care for a variety of conditions.
Chiropractic treatment is included in most health insurance plans, including: major medical plans, worker’s compensation, Medicare, some Medicaid plans, and Blue Cross Blue Shield plans for federal employees, among others.
Chiropractic is used widely by young and professional athletes to help prevent and treat injuries and/or aggravated conditions as well as to aid them achieve optimal health and wellness. Also commonly utilized by the general population, chiropractic care can help restore an individual’s original well being, increasing their strength, flexibility and mobility as well as decreasing symptoms such as pain, inflammation and discomfort caused by spinal complications. Following up with the chiropractor’s treatment recommendations can also help speed up the individual’s recovery process, helping them return to their everyday lifestyles.
Your First Visit & What to Expect
Many new patients are unsure about what to expect during their first appointment with a chiropractor. Foremost, a doctor of chiropractic will begin the consultation by taking a patient’s history and then performing a physical examination in order to develop a working diagnosis. Imaging or lab tests, including MRI, CT scans and/or X-rays, may be used to confirm a diagnosis.
The combination of the history, exam, and diagnostic study results will ultimately allow the chiropractor to determine a proper diagnosis for the individual’s injury or condition, which will then allow the healthcare professional to follow up with the best treatment procedures according to their overall health and wellness. If your chiropractor determines you would be more appropriately managed or co-managed by another healthcare professional, he or she will make the proper referral.
Through a process of shared decision-making, you and your chiropractic physician can establish which treatment methods and techniques will be right for you. As part of this process, the chiropractor will explain your injury and/or condition, recommend an appropriate treatment plan and finally, they will review the risks and benefits of all procedures with you.
As with all forms of treatment, time and patience is required to heal an injury or condition and visiting your chiropractor regularly can ensure the process is smooth and effective. Following the healthcare professional’s treatment plan accordingly is the best, most recommended decision you can take as an individual to achieve overall health and wellness.
Dr. Alex Jimenez is an El Paso Chiropractor who has been helping people recover from their specific injuries or conditions through the use of chiropractic adjustments and manipulations. With over 25 years of experience, Dr. Jimenez can provide safe and effective care to those in need.
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
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