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Last Modified: December 29, 2022

Do I Need a Chiropractor?

Published on December 5, 2013 • Last updated December 29, 2022 by Ken Christensen
Topics: Spinal Cord Injuries



Knowing when to see a chiropractor can be tricky. Not all injuries require the attention of a chiropractor. However, some injuries can benefit and you may recover faster if you are able to get treatment from a chiropractor immediately following a car accident, slip and fall, or any other type of accident that has caused stress on your musculature system. Below are some information about chiropractors that may help you know if you need to see a chiropractor or not.

Why people see Chiropractors

According to WebMD, chiropractic treatment is the top choice as alternative solution for people seeking back pain relief. About 22 million Americans visit chiropractors annually. Of these, 7.7 million, or 35%, are seeking relief from back pain from various causes including accidents, sports injuries, and muscle strains. Other complaints include pain in the neck, arms, and legs, and headaches.

What do Chiropractors do?

What is chiropractor?  Spine Health defines a chiropractor as “a health care professional focused on the diagnosis and treatment neuromuscular disorders, with an emphasis on treatment through manual adjustment and/or manipulation of the spine”. Moreover, most chiropractors seek to reduce pain and improve the functionality of patients, as well as to educate them on how they can account for their own health via exercise, ergonomics, and other therapies to treat back pain.

This provides a big advantage in terms of alternatives to taking medical drugs that could strain the liver and save money by not needing surgical interventions if the chiropractic therapy was successful.

Seeing a Chiropractor isn’t for everyone

Spine manipulation is considered safe; however, this is a not a treatment suitable for just anybody. WebMD stated that people who have osteoporosis, spinal cord compression, or inflammatory arthritis, or who take blood-thinning medications should not undergo spinal manipulation. In addition, patients with a history of cancer should obtain clearance from their medical doctor before undergoing spinal manipulation.

What you need to do before seeing a Chiropractor

If you are contemplating using chiropractic treatment for your back pain, it is very important that you have a complete and accurate detail of your medical history.  Since chiropractic treatment is based on an accurate diagnosis of your back pain, the chiropractor should be well informed regarding your medical history, including on-going medical conditions, current medications, traumatic/surgical history, and lifestyle factors.

As a patient, you should also inform your primary health care provider whenever you have been to see a chiropractor or used other pain relief alternatives. Keeping your physician up-to-date with your medical treatments could save you from any potential problem in the future.

Although rare, there have been cases in which treatment worsened a herniated or slipped disc, or neck manipulation resulted in stroke or spinal cord injury. As mentioned, always inform your primary health care provider whenever you use chiropractic or other pain relief alternatives.

What to expect during a chiropractic treatment

Spine Health provided the basic activities that will be done during the first chiropractic visit. The first visit involves the following:

Patient History and Symptoms

The patient will fill out forms that provide background information about the symptoms and condition about their pain.

Types of questions typically include:

  • When and how did the pain start?
  • Where is it located?
  • Describe the pain – is it sharp, dull, searing/burning, or throbbing? Does it come and go, or is it continual?
  • Did the pain start as a result of an injury?
  • What activities/circumstances make it better or worse?

Moreover, patients are usually asked to provide information on family medical history, any pre-existing medical conditions or prior injuries, and previous and current health providers and treatments.

The Chiropractic Exam

A thorough chiropractic exam includes general tests such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and reflexes; in addition,some specific orthopedic and neurological tests inlcude:

  • Range of motion of the affected part
  • Muscle tone
  • Muscle strength
  • Neurological integrity

Further chiropractic tests may be necessary to assess the affected area, such as having the patient move in a specific manner, posture analysis, or chiropractic manipulation of the affected body part.

Diagnostic Studies

Spine Health stated that the results of the patient’s history and chiropractic exam, a diagnostic study can be conducted to reveal pathologies and identify structural abnormalities which in turn can lead to accurate diagnosis of the condition. Diagnostic studies are not always necessary during the chiropractic exam, and should only be undertaken if the chiropractor has a good reason to believe that the X-ray or other test will provide information needed to guide the patient’s treatment program.

The most common diagnostic studies during chiropractic exams include:

  • X-ray exam
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan
  • Other laboratory tests

Many chiropractic clinics can perform basic X-rays, but an MRI scan and more extensive imaging studies are usually referred to an outside center.

Patient Diagnosis after the Chiropractic Exam

Findings from the combination of the above described history, physical examination, and any required diagnostic studies lead to a specific diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is established, the chiropractor will determine if the condition will respond to chiropractic care.

How much is the cost of a chiropractic treatment?

Depending on the type of injury that you have experienced and the number of sessions required for recovery will determine how much it will cost for you to visit a chiropractor. Also, depending on your insurance coverage, your first chiropractic visit may cost around $140 without insurance. After your initial chiropractic visit, the cost of your follow-up visits will vary on what is prescribed but on average, your visits will cost around $70 each time you see a chiropractor.

Chiropractic Care after a Car Accident

If you live in the state of Utah and are considering visiting a chiropractor in relation to an auto accident, it is likely that your out-of-pocket costs will be zero, as long as you don’t go over the limits of your Personal Injury Protection insurance policy.

If you consider a chiropractic treatment for your backaches and muscle pain, you can also ask people who have undergone chiropractic treatment in order to get a definite idea on what is involved. You can also check the American Chiropractic Association here. Also check the list of chiropractic associations here for some information you might find useful.

Photo copyright to doctorwonder

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