Frequently Asked Questions
What is chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a health profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders
of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of those disorders on the nervous system and general
health. It is a natural, drug-free, non-surgical approach to health care. The profession's central interest
has always been the relationship between impaired mechanics of the spinal vertebrae and the nervous
How is chiropractic adjustment performed?
Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation is a manual procedure that utilizes the highly defined skills
developed during the intensive years of chiropractic education. The chiropractor typically uses his/her
hands to manipulate the joints of the body, particularly the spine, in order to reduce pain, and restore or
enhance joint function. The chiropractor adapts the procedure to meet the specific needs of each
patient. Patients often note positive changes in their symptoms immediately following treatment.
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 preventative 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.
Is chiropractic treatment appropriate for children?
Yes, children can benefit from chiropractic care. Children are very physically active and experience
many types of falls and blows from activities of daily living as well as from participating in sports.
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.
What does a chiropractor treat?
Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the
nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic care is used most
often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain
in the joints of the arms or legs and headaches.
Do insurance plans cover chiropractic?
Many health insurance plans include coverage for chiropractic services. For example, the federal
government's Office of Personnel Management offers chiropractic coverage for federal employees in
the Mail Handlers and BCBS benefit plans. In addition, there is a chiropractic benefit in Federal
Workers' Compensation. Chiropractic care is available to members of the armed forces at more than 40
military bases and nearly 30 veterans' medical facilities.
What kind of education does a chiropractor have?
Chiropractors are educated as primary contact health care practitioners with an emphasis on
musculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment. Education requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among
the most stringent of any of the health care professions. The typical applicant at a chiropractic college
has already acquired nearly 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. Because of the hands-on nature of
chiropractic and the intricate adjusting techniques, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical
training. In total, the chiropractic curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom,
laboratory and clinical experience. The course of study is approved by an accrediting agency that is
fully recognized by the U.S Department of Education.