Commonly Asked Questions Regarding Chiropractic
1. Is it safe?
Chiropractic is among the safest of the healing arts. This is apparent when one looks at malpractice rates between chiropractors and other health care disciplines. Chiropractors’ malpractice premiums are only a small fraction of medical doctors, orthopedists, or surgeons, because the likelihood of injury is so much less with chiropractic.
2. Will it hurt?
Generally, no. Of course, if the patient comes in in a lot of pain to begin with, the simple act of performing the orthopedic tests for the exam may not be comfortable. Adjustments do not generally hurt, and the more a patient can relax, the easier it will be on both the doctor and the patient. Sometimes, a patient will be a little sore for about 24 hours following the adjustment (especially if it their first adjustment) as the muscles and joints adapt to realignment.
3. How often will I need to come in for treatment?
That is dependent upon the individual patient’s condition, and the findings of Dr. Garman’s history and exam. Generally, an acute problem requires frequent treatment initially, and then the patient gets weaned off as his/her condition improves. Maintenance treatments vary from patient to patient. Patients may come in every 6 months, every 2 or 3 months, every month, or even every 2 weeks, depending on their lifestyle and ability to hold their adjustments.
Dr. Garman highly recommends maintenance care. People see the dentist annually for a checkup of their teeth for as long as they have teeth. They should do the same with their spine. Today’s lifestyle, with processed foods, fast food, poor posture, hunching over computers, couch potato lifestyle, and high stress jobs, etc. tends to lead to chronic subluxations. If these chronic subluxations are left untreated, it will lead to irreversible degeneration of the joints. Chiropractic care should be part of everyone’s regimen for health.
However, Dr. Garman recognizes that not everyone chooses maintenance care, and should you choose this path, your choice will be respected.
4. I’ve heard that once you see a chiropractor, you have to keep going back. Can you get addicted to chiropractic?
No. Often I hear from patients that they didn’t realize they didn’t feel good until they’ve had a treatment and felt great afterwards. Then they become more aware of when there is a problem, and recognize the subtle signs that it is time to come in for treatment.
5. I’ve heard of people seeing a chiropractor for maintenance care, even when they don’t have symptoms. Why would someone do that?
Chiropractors treat something called “subluxation,” a hypomobile joint. These are like dental cavities, in that you don’t always feel pain until the problem is fairly advanced. Therefore, many patients choose to come in for an occasional screening and to have any present subluxations corrected before they become painful, just as they choose to be checked for cavities before they need a root canal.
6. What causes the crack sound?
The sound is nothing more than gases rushing in to the joints to fill the partial vacuum as the joint gaps open during the adjustment. It is the similar to the pop you get when opening a bottle of champagne.
7. When I crack my own joints, is it the same as getting an adjustment?
No. A chiropractor treats joints that have lost their normal motion by applying an adjustment specifically to the affected joint to restore that motion. When one joint has lost its motion, the adjacent joints compensate by becoming hypermobile. Generally, when someone “cracks” their back or neck, they are getting motion in the already hypermobile joints. This may provide some temporary relief as it releases endorphins (your body’s natural painkillers). However, this is short-lived. Meanwhile, the affected joint remains hypomobile, and the degeneration process of that joint continues.
8. Is chiropractic appropriate for everyone?
Yes, most of the time. There are cases in which standard treatment needs to be modified. For instance, a patient with severe osteoporosis should not be treated with standard manual adjustments. However, they can be treated with an activator, a handheld gadget that provides a rapid, low force adjustment safe for a patient who cannot tolerate a standard adjustment. Dr. Garman will do a detailed history and exam in order to determine the technique appropriate to each individual patient.
In some cases, such as pain due to advanced spinal degeneration which is irreversible, care is strictly palliative. Though a chiropractor cannot reverse the process or “cure” the problem, s/he may be able to help manage the symptoms with regular treatment. Dr. Garman will tell you if your case falls into this category.
Chiropractic is appropriate for adults, geriatric patients, and children. Children have accidents on a regular basis that can cause injury, However, being young and healthy, they often do not feel the symptoms. Unfortunately, if left untreated, these injuries may cause the patient problems later on in life.