Every once in a while I post a question box to my Instagram for people to ask me any and all kinds of questions they may have regarding chiropractic care, specific injuries, office logistics—you name it—and I’m usually blown away at how many questions people have. The truth is, chiropractic is just super misunderstood among the general public. This is something I often take for granted since it’s my life/career and I’m constantly immersed in it. So I’ve compiled a list of some FAQs and answered them a little more in-depth than I’ve been able to via Instagram. If after reading this you still have a chiropractic-related question, I’m here for you! Reach out via the contact tab on my website and we can chat. 🙂
Top 10 Chiropractic FAQs
- What kind of training do chiropractors have? Chiropractic school is a clinical doctorate program. This means all chiropractors have to go through undergraduate training plus a 3-4 year chiropractic schooling program, similar to medical school. The program covers basic sciences, nutrition, radiology, diagnostic and examination skills, adjusting technique, and also involves 4-5 rounds of National Board Exams as well as a clinical internship or preceptorship. At the completion of the program, students receive their Doctor of Chiropractic degrees.
- What is the cracking sound that happens during an adjustment? Most people are under the assumption that the “cracking” sound that happens during an adjustment is your bones cracking or being moved back into place. This is actually false. Synovial joint capsules contain gases (mostly oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide), and during the adjustment, the joint capsule is stretched, and gases are released. Hence, the popping sound. 🙂 This is the same thing that happens when you crack your knuckles or hear your ankles popping as you go up the stairs.
- Do I need a referral from my MD to see a chiropractor? Nope! Just like medical doctors, chiropractors are direct access, primary care providers. This means that no referral is necessary to see one, and you can schedule directly with their office.
- What conditions do chiropractors treat? Contrary to popular belief, chiropractors treat way more than just neck and back pain. While neck and back pain are among some of those most common reasons people seek chiropractic care, you can also see a chiropractor for any type of extremity complaint as well. This includes things like TMJ pain, plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff injuries, tennis elbow, jumper’s knee, Achilles tendinitis, hip impingement, carpal tunnel syndrome—the list goes on!
- Are there any negative side effects to chiropractic care? Everyone is unique and has a different initial response to care. What I mean by this is two people can receive the exact same treatment and have a completely different initial reaction. For example, one person might experience immediate relief the day of treatment, while another person may experience some initial soreness and fatigue before finding relief. I personally fall into the second category. I’m usually pretty sore the day I receive care, and then the next day I feel amazing. But all that to say, the most negative side effect you should expect to feel is some general soreness or achiness in response to your body changing/adapting. Remember—this is a good and normal thing and nothing to be worried about.
- Once I start seeing a chiropractor, do I have to keep going forever? This is one of my favorite myths to debunk. If you have been going to a chiropractor (or any healthcare professional, really) and receiving care that only provides you with temporary relief and no tools to treat the pain on your own, and you constantly feel like you need to rush back to your chiropractor to get out of pain, then it’s probably time to start expecting more. I like to think of the patient-doctor relationship as more of a team—where the doctor helps guide the patient along the right path, educates them, and gives them tools along the way that help them take charge of their own body and their own health. The doctor always remains available for assistance, but the power is largely in the hands of the patient. (For a more in-depth discussion on this, visit my blog “A New Chiropractic Model”.)
- What if I’m scared of getting my neck cracked? You are not alone! While getting your neck adjusted is incredibly safe (AFTER a proper examination and ruling out of any contraindications or red flags), many people are hesitant to get their necks adjusted. And that’s ok!! Your chiropractor should have multiple tools and techniques to treat neck pain and should adapt care based on your preferences and wishes. This might look like low force or instrument-assisted adjusting, soft tissue work, dry needling, different corrective exercises, or a combination of these.
- Can/should I seek chiropractic care during pregnancy? Seeking chiropractic care during pregnancy is a fantastic idea! As you grow a human, your body undergoes many changes. Along with these changes and adaptations can sometimes also come pain. So not only can chiropractic care help relieve you of pregnancy-related pain through adjustments and soft tissue work, but it can also help your body grow and adapt with more ease and assist in the positioning of the baby. While at The Body Lab we do not necessarily specialize in pregnancy/prenatal care, we can always adapt our techniques to fit any demographic. We also have some phenomenal providers in our circle who do specialize in prenatal care that we’d be more than happy to refer you to if necessary.
- Do chiropractors do anything besides adjust? Usually, yes! I’ll use my office as an example. At The Body Lab, the adjustment is usually a pretty small part of treatment. Each case is unique, and sometimes an adjustment is not the best treatment option. We focus on a variety of other modalities like dry needling and functional rehabilitative exercises to make sure we are creating lasting changes, getting to the root of the problem, and providing you with tools to help you treat the pain/issue largely on your own.
- Do you take insurance? This is probably the most common question I get. And the short answer is no, I am not in network with any insurance companies. Instead, I charge flat self-pay rates for appointments, regardless of the services provided. Here’s why.
- Not submitting to insurance gives me a lot more freedom in how I structure treatments and allows me to give more patient-centered care. I’m not restricted by a number of “allowed” visits per year or by limitations on what insurance will or will not pay. For example, I never want to let an insurance company dictate treatment by not paying for specific modalities such as dry needling, especially if that’s the treatment I feel is necessary.
- Doing self-pay rates oftentimes ends up being cheaper for the patient! Many people these days have high deductible plans or don’t even have chiropractic coverage under their insurance. With self-pay rates, the cost is transparent and consistent each time with no surprises.
- Have an HSA/FSA account? Great! I’m still able to accept that as a form of payment. I’m also able to provide you with a superbill from your appointments if you wish. What is a superbill? Glad you asked. A superbill is basically an “insurance receipt” that has detailed information about the services provided, diagnoses, and specific information about the clinic. You can submit this to your insurance yourself if you wish, and oftentimes you can get the amount counted toward your deductible or get reimbursed, depending on your specific plan. (Keep in mind each insurance company and plan is different, so this is not always a guarantee, but definitely worth looking into.)
Hope this cleared up some of your questions! If there’s anything you’d like to discuss more in depth, please reach out. And as always, thanks for reading. 🙂