Questions to the Doctor

» I have been told it just a muscle but why does it feel like more?
» I have been told by a medical professional that Chiropractic is dangerous. I know it is not how do I respond?
» Why do people say that Chiropractic is more like the practice of Dentistry and less like the practice of Medicine?
» I have low back pain is it safe to be adjusted while I am pregnant?
» Will I have to go to a chiropractor for the rest of my life?
» Are chiropractors recognized as doctors or is it an honorary degree?
» Why are there so few chiropractors and so many other doctors?
» Why are Chiropractors not in hospitals?
» Do courts recognize Chiropractors?
» I have a work injury. Can I go to a chiropractor?
» How do I know if the sports physical my child received is adequate for her to participate in school sports?
» My MD wants me to go to a surgeon. How do I know if I should see a Neurosurgeon or a Chiropractor for my back pain?
» I have had spinal surgery and I have osteoporosis. I have been told that a chiropractor could paralyze me. Is chiropractic safe?

I have been told it is just a muscle, but why does it feel like more?
Many non spinal specific health care providers will classify back or neck pain as "muscular" if there is no radiating pain down an arm or leg. Spinal specific doctors will do upright/weight bearing x-rays to determine if there is proper positioning of the individual bones of the spine. If the bones are not spaced correctly the resulting pressure can deform the disc and create mild pressure on the nerve that is limited to the spine and surrounding back. If treated with muscle relaxers and pain killers the patient will lean enough to get out of pain. The resulting tilt deforms the disc further and chews through the disc resulting in herniation/protrusion and rupture/prolapse of the disc.

I have been told by a medical professional that Chiropractic is dangerous. I know it is not how do I respond?
This is a very hot topic and often spurred by turf wars over back care. All professions carry malpractice insurance to cover the risk of the care that the doctor provides. Chiropractors risk is so low that premiums are a small fraction of medical malpractice. If it is still an issue then simply say that you would like to compare malpractice prices and the amount of coverage. Understand that this argument instills fears in patients by health care professionals that feel threatened. It is in the best interest of any patient for all disciplines to work for the betterment of the patient. For decades Chiropractic students have been required to study medical procedures. With increasing public outcry medical schools will include some rotation or minor exposure to the physical approach of chiropractic. Ignorance is the foundation of prejudice.

Why do people say that Chiropractic is more like the practice of Dentistry and less like the practice of Medicine?
The vertebrae of the spine open and close the spaces between each other in the same way the jaws open and close. The discs occupy the same place as the teeth. If the jaws do not close down evenly they load the teeth unevenly as do the vertebrae with the discs. The misaligned jaw can cause problems at the hinge joint, the hinge joints are similar in the spine. The discs are attached to the vertebra above and below which many feel is similar to people wearing rubber bands on their teeth. Dentists use a bite opener to reduce pressures. Chiropractors use procedures to open the bite of the vertebrae to reduce pressures.

I have low back pain. Is it safe to be adjusted while I am pregnant?
Yes, with this understanding. Early in the pregnancy procedures are generally the same for pregnant patients and non pregnant patients except if the the mother or baby is at risk because of complicating factors. These complications may include weakened components of the cervix or supportive structures of the uterus. Although your Ob/Gyn is not trained in chiropractic procedures, they may have enough training to provide scientific data to your chiropractor so that he will know the limiting pressures per position. If physics is beyond your Ob/Gyn's comfort level then the chiropractor will use procedures that are safe for the weakest of unstable pregnancies. Keep in mind that we are finding currently educated Ob/Gyns feel the risk of medicating low back pain makes chiropractic a safe logical choice.

Will I have to go to a chiropractor for the rest of my life?
Going to a chiropractor at least once a year for the rest of your life is just as wise as going to a dentist, eye doctor or medical doctor for the rest of your life. Most of the money made in health care is late in the disease process gall stones, 90% blockage of heart vessels and ruptured discs. Before the blood vessels are 90% blocked they were 50%, 30% and 10% blocked. Before that disc was chewed through and became ruptured it was just tilted even if it was a sudden onset. You get your teeth checked so you don't end up with big cavities, root canals, and crowns or dentures. You go to the chiropractor so you don't end up with nerve blocks and rods, pins, and fusion.

Are chiropractors recognized as doctors or is it an honorary degree?
Chiropractors are recognized as primary healthcare providers and doctors in every state in the United States and throughout the world. Chiropractors have the same college requirements to enter chiropractic school as you need to enter medical schools. Chiropractic schools teach the same sciences that are taught in medical schools and the instructors are interchangeable. In addition to the medical training chiropractic students undergo training specific to chiropractic and more intense body sciences which causes chiropractors to have more hours than medical counterparts. After several sets of National Boards and ultimately State Boards the chiropractor is considered a doctor. Only after licensure does a chiropractor consider himself a “Doctor.”

Why are there so few chiropractors and so many other doctors?
In the past chiropractic did not have all the accessories associated with other professions such as medications, hospitals, government funding and insurance plans. This restricted the advancement of chiropractors. Funding to promote the profession came from the chiropractors themselves, while at the same time chiropractors would have the money they paid in taxes used to advance other professions. This created contempt for other professions and competitive battles which did little to encourage the expansion of chiropractic. With advancements in diagnostic imaging and a deeper understanding of the mechanics of spinal pain, we are seeing a melding of chiropractic facilities with spinal surgical facilities and a shared growth.

Why aren’t Chiropractors in hospitals?
There are many states that have Chiropractors (DC), Osteopaths (DO) and Medical Doctors (MD) working in companionship. If a hospital is totally private and is not bound by federal trade regulations they are free to include anyone they desire. There are few procedures specific that require hospitalization. Many chiropractors are reluctant to use hospitals if the hospital has a history of infections or unfavorable outcomes. The procedures that require a hospital like monitoring may be the next wave in Chiropractic and at that time there may be a relationship with quality hospitals or there will be chiropractic hospitals.

Do courts recognize Chiropractors?
Chiropractors are primary healthcare providers and are certified as experts. In the law industry, as in all professions, there are principled and unprincipled people. The prejudices of the judge and lawyers involved, coupled with the necessity to discredit the witnesses, make it tough for all experts. It appears in today’s legal and political climate that the jurors align with chiropractors, so if a case goes to court there are often other circumstances, beyond the necessity of care, questioned. If chiropractic is part of a court case, schedule time to have you, your chiropractor, and your representation discuss your treatment. Always select an attorney that has training and experience working with chiropractic sciences.

I have a work injury. Can I go to a chiropractor?
In some states you have the freedom to go to any doctor you wish. If you are from a state that requires you to go to their work or insurance doctor, and you feel that doctor is not making decisions in your best interest, there may be laws that compel the doctor to “refer to the proper health care professional.” In South Carolina patients get treatment on their own or use their health insurance outside the confines of the work assigned physician.
If the patient chooses to have the workers comp company to reimburse money paid by their health insurance company or their out of pocket expenses we will provide the records.

How do I know if the sports physical my child received is adequate for her to participate in school sports?
The doctor should have specialized training and be designated as a sports physician. Displaying additional letters after the doctors name assures the advanced training. If the doctor does not have the advance training, then your child will get the same exam she gets anytime she has an office visit: blood pressure, knee reflexes, listen to the heart, height, weight, check for a hernia. Most of the injuries that occur are not only sport specific but are position specific, so the exam will be different per sport. Be weary of any physician that does a basic exam that covers “all sports.”

My MD wants me to go to a surgeon, how do I know if I should see a Neurosurgeon or a Chiropractor for my back pain?
Generally speaking, if you have a loss of bowel or bladder control you should go to a hospital first. This could be a risky situation such as Cauda Equina Syndrome. Many people believe that there is a turf war between medicine and chiropractic. This turf war is found in the ignorant areas of both professions and the general public. Even a slight tilt of the vertebra, or subluxation), will cause the disc to bulge on the closed side. This bulge can close down the opening between the vertebrae and create pressure on the nerves interfering with the nerves' impulses: the greater the tilt the greater the bulge. A severe rapid tilt with some rotation can tear the disc rupturing its fluid contents and cause a loss of reflexes, skin sensation, and the muscles to shrink. This situation often, but not always, necessitates an open surgical procedure. So on the far end of back pain you have a loss of bowel and bladder control, which clearly needs medical evaluation. On the close end you have back pain from a tilted vertebrae and few or no neurological signs, clearly a chiropractic evaluation is in order. There can be a problem in who decides where you should go. Typically, a medical doctor does not have any training about chiropractic procedures, but does have training to medicate and/or refer to the orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon. Not all the neurosurgeons will immediately operate, many will refer back for medication or exercise until the vertebrae chew through the disc and you finally need surgery. Your safest route is to call the chiropractic office and describe your symptoms, the chiropractor is trained in medical procedures and chiropractic procedures. You now know the only area where there is contention may be where there is loss of reflexes, muscle loss and skin sensation loss. If a patient presents with all three symptoms, the chiropractor will likely work with the surgeon. It is not yet the other way around. Many of the cases in that category, in chiropractic, are treated with “Decompression Therapy” which can reopen the space without cutting open the patient. If after a short course of treatment the chiropractor and the surgeon will be willing to investigate surgery.

I have had spinal surgery and I have osteoporoses. I have been told that a chiropractor could paralyze me. Is chiropractic safe?
The first point that needs to be addressed by the chiropractor is- Does the person that made this statement have complete training in chiropractic procedures and is licensed by the state board to make that assessment? If the person has that training then I am able to call that person and get the thresholds of adjustment procedures that should not be exerted on the patient. The person that made that recommendation will provide you the force (usually in Newtons) that will produce a complication. There are corrective procedures that will make changes with no more force than that of holding a pencil. If the person does not have complete training in chiropractic and cannot provide that number for every region in the spine, then there is no basis for the statement and that person is speaking beyond their education hence a detailed exam and sometimes additional testing may be necessary.