Frequently Asked Questions
1. What causes the sound of an adjustment? Actually, not all adjusting techniques produce the sound associated with “popping knuckles.” Some create no sound at all, some a little. Many techniques, however, do create the sound of a “spinal release.” What causes it? The mystery may have been solved by a British research team that took x-ray movies of people “popping” their knuckles. The sound is caused by gas rushing into fill the partial vacuum created when the joints are slightly separated.
2. Is it bad to “crack” your neck or back a lot? The desire to pop the neck or back is caused by tension from a jammed or fixated vertebra, which causes another part of the spine to compensate by moving too much and “popping” a lot. The jammed part should be adjusted by a chiropractor so that the rest of the spinal column will balance and stop being so movable and noisy.
3. So I’m not “adjusting” myself? Cracking or popping your neck gives relief for a while, but soon the urge to pop or crack reappears because the cause of the spinal tension hasn’t been corrected.
4. Do chiropractors have medical (M.D.) degrees? Chiropractors have Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degrees granted from chiropractic colleges. Chiropractic education and medical education are similar in some respects and different in others because chiropractors do not prescribe drugs and medical doctors do not correct the vertebral subluxation complex (spinal nerve distress).
5. Can I tell if I have spinal nerve stress without consulting a chiropractor? Not always. Subluxation or spinal nerve stress is like a dental cavity-you may have it for a long time before symptoms appear. That’s why periodic spinal check-ups are so important. Although it may be possible to know you have spinal nerve stress, it is rarely possible to be sure you don’t. An occasional spinal check-up is a good idea.
6. How long does a chiropractic adjustment take? It depends on the adjusting technique your chiropractor uses. Sometimes a few hours or even a few days of evaluation and spinal analysis will precede an initial adjustment. At other times it may only take a relatively brief initial visit, case history and evaluation.
7. At what age should chiropractic begin? Newborns have received spinal adjustments especially after difficult or traumatic births. There are case histories of infants close to death, who were adjusted in hospitals with seemingly miraculous recoveries.
8. Is chiropractic care addictive? If only it were (just a little!), there’d be a lot fewer sick people around and we chiropractors wouldn’t get patients who last saw a chiropractor “a few years ago when my back went out.” It is possible to get used to feeling more balanced, less stressed, and more energetic as a result of periodic chiropractic care. You may become more sensitive to your body and know when you’ve “lost” your adjustment.
9. Can I go only once? Of course. Once is better than never. But chiropractic can help in so many ways. Why not ask your chiropractor about your personal spinal care needs?
10. What will happen if I stop going? Spinal stress will continue to build up as before, but it won’t be reduced or eliminated. If the stress is not relieved, your body and overall health will suffer.
11. Is chiropractic the same as massage? No. Chiropractic deals with spinal column, nervous system, meninges, and body structure. Massage therapists deal with muscle tension, circulation, and body fluid drainage.
12. Do chiropractors work in hospitals? Today chiropractors have privileges in many hospitals. Ideally doctors of chiropractic would go through every ward and check all patients spines, after all, who needs healthy spines more than people facing life-threatening diseases? The presence of D.C.’s in hospitals is a welcome beginning-hopefully paving the way toward making drugless, natural methods of chiropractic care available to all hospital patients.
13. Can chiropractors prevent back surgery? In a majority of cases the answer is a resounding “Yes.”
14. Can a person who had back surgery see a chiropractor? Yes. It’s an unfortunate fact that half of those who had spinal surgery discover a return of their original symptoms months or years later. They then face the prospect of additional surgery. This too-common occurrence is known as “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.” Chiropractors may help prevent repeated operations.
15. Can a person with a broken back or neck see a chiropractor? After the break heals, yes. In fact, a broken bone forms a callus or bone scar when it heals that is stronger then the rest of the bone, which should dispel any concerns about the safety of an adjustment. People who have had broken bones need chiropractic check-ups because accidents usually cause spinal subluxations.
16. Is chiropractic safe? Chiropractic is among the safest of the healing arts. As proof one merely has to compare malpractice rates between chiropractors and other health professionals. Chiropractors’ malpractice premiums are a small fraction of those for medical doctors, especially orthopedists and surgeons.
17. Can I go to a chiropractor if I’m under medical care? Yes. Having your spinal nerve distress corrected is important, no matter what other type of health care you are receiving. Today many D.C.s and M.D.s are working together in clinics and on joint research projects. M.D.s are quite likely to have patients who are under chiropractic care. In fact many see a D.C. themselves.
18. Do chiropractors believe in medicine and surgery? Certainly, as Norman Cousins says, “There are times when intervention in the form of medicine or surgery are absolutely necessary but there is never a time when the nourishment one puts into one’s body or one’s mind is not essential to health.” Chiropractors would add spinal care to Mr. Cousins’ observation.
19. Can spines automatically align themselves? Yes. There are several verified instances of blind people recovering eye sight after a fall, and of amnesiacs who remember their past after recovering a trauma-these are examples of “accidental alignments” in which a trauma accidentally realigned the spine. A visit to the chiropractor is a lot safer.
Also, many types of therapy, including massage and various body work can reduce musculo-skeletal stress, sometimes permitting the spine to automatically realign, as will a cathartic emotional release. Occasionally, even a good night’s sleep can release spinal stress.
20. I’m not sick. Should I see a chiropractor? Yes. Symptoms are not a good way to judge health. They sometimes only surface after years of body malfunction.
21. How often should I get a spinal adjustment? The answer is “As soon as you develop spinal nerve stress.” But since spinal nerve stress is often painless, it’s good to get your spine checked periodically, as you get your teeth checked periodically for “painless” cavities.