Frequently Asked Questions About Chiropractic and Chiropractic Care
Q: What conditions can Chiropractic help?
A: This is a great question, and one which gets a variety of
answers, depending on who you ask. The mainstay of Chiropractic, is the vertebral
adjustment, and the relief of back and neck pain. We have widespread support
within the medical community and insurance companies alike, and are considered the
to be THE leader in providing care for pain relief and rehabilitation of back and
neck pain. Traditionally, however, Chiropractic has been used to treat a wide
spectrum of health care issues, with varying degrees of success. There are
hundreds of stories of "chiropractic miracles" in which unlikely diseases, or perhaps
better said "apparent" diseases have resolved under the care of a chiropractor.
These include such varied presentations as asthma, diabetes, thyroid disorders,
deafness, and the list goes on. That said, the body of research, and our emphasis
is on Neuro-Musculo-Skeletal conditions, such as back, neck and joint pain, muscle
pain, stiffness, and soreness.
Whether you've experienced whiplash in an automotive accident, thrown out
your back when you've bent over to pick something up, or if you suffer from chronic
back pain, what really sets Chiropractic apart from traditional Doctors, is our
willingness, and our ability to take the time to reach out to you, to help you identify
some of the things that maybe led to the injury in the first place, and help you
devise a plan to improve your health that will keep you at work, keep you active
in your free time, and empower you to be your best. Our goal, as your Health
Providers is to keep you on the ski hill, Keep you on the Field, on the Court, keep
you gardening on the weekend, allow you to enjoy your time with your family, in
short, allowing you to function at your highest level at home, at work and at play..
Whether that means keeping your independence in your later years, coaching your
child's sports team, or even running a marathon, Chiropractic can improve your life
in a lot of ways that might surprise you!
Q: How long does Chiropractic take to work?
A: This depends on a couple of factors. The biggest
factor determining the length of your care is the chronicity - that is, how
long the condition or underlying problem has been present. Was the pain caused
by an acute trauma, like a car accident, or a weekend sports injury, or is it more
the result of a long standing patter of misuse or disuse? We typically see
the most rapid results when treating issues that are acute, things like a fall off
of a ladder, or a sore back that showed up after a long game of golf. When
dealing with a condition that has been present for weeks, months, or years, we expect
the course of treatment will last longer. In any case, most patients will
get a good idea of whether Chiropractic is working for them within 3-4 visits, and
as always, the ultimate decider of whether to continue, or discontinue care lies
with you. See below for information about Care of Acute vs. Chronic conditions.
If you are visiting us for acute pain, something that typically arose suddenly,
either from trauma, or even if you just 'woke up with it', we would like to
see improvement within the first few visits. If we do not see improvement
within that time, we would then, at your discretion take a closer look at soft tissue
and/or muscle issues. The majority of patients notice results within 10-14
days, if you don't notice improvement within this time period, we would then typically
look toward reevaluating your case and incorporating the care of an M.D.,
or perhaps an acupuncturist or massage therapist.
If on the other hand you are visiting us for a chronic problem, we will expect
the progress may be a little slower. Obviously, if your pain is the result
of a neglected condition that just never 'went away' or long term occupational influence,
we don't, and shouldn't expect an immediate resolution of your symptoms. In
this case, we would expect to see some improvement within the first few visits,
and we would expect to see even more improvement over the course of about 6-8 weeks,
as we use a variety of techniques to treat long standing muscle and connective tissue
patterns and to help develop new patterns of movement into your body.
Q: Do you work on anything but the back?
A: Absolutely! Our specialty is not limited to the back.
The public recognizes us as back doctors, but our training allows us to be exceptional
"joint and nerve" Doctors as well. In fact anywhere there's bones, joints
or muscles, we are typically able to offer effective care. We have extensive
training working with the extremities, such as the hip, shoulder, elbow, knee, ankle,
wrist and foot, as well as many aspects of rehabilitation, conditioning, and injury
Q: I've heard doctors talking about Active vs. Passive Care, what do these
A: When Doctor's talk about active vs. passive care, especially in
the arena of rehabilitation and physical medicine, what they are ultimately talking
about is patient involvement in the rehabilitative process. In a passive care
model, the patient comes in for a visit, and the practitioner does things "for them",
in an Active Care model, the Practitioner and Patient work together to design curriculum
of treatment, including not just the Chiropractic Adjustment in the Clinic, but
the rehabilitative "Homework" to support the adjustment, and help keep the patient
well. This homework may include stretching, coordination and balance training,
and dynamic exercises, just to name a few. Current research shows using and
Active care model not only gets the patient better quicker, but keeps them better
longer, and keeps them from having recurrence of their pain.
Q: I heard that Chiropractic Can help with headaches, is this true?
A: On of the biggest challenges in treating headaches, is first
proving the patient with the correct diagnosis. The International Headache
Society lists over 100 different types of headaches. That said, some headaches,
such as tension or cervico-genic headaches can be very responsive to Chiropractic
Treatment. As always, you should have an idea after 2-3 treatments, whether
the treatment is working. If you do not feel it is working, then we would
either consider examining another diagnosis, or referring you for further evaluation.
Q: What is a Subluxation?
A: In Orthopedic terms, a "luxation" is the same as a dislocation,
and so, orthopedically speaking, a sub-luxation is a "below" a dislocation, where
the two sides of a joint, or articulation have not fully lost contact.
Chiropractic uses a subtler definition of Subluxation: a Chiropractic Subluxation
is a partial loss of proper joint articulation, with corresponding alterations in
range of motion, alteration of normal biomechanics, and local tissue changes such
as soreness, stiffness, and swelling.
Q: How can Chiropractic help these so called "subluxations"?
A: Chiropractic employs a High Velocity, Low Amplitude
impulse, called an "Adjustment" to normalize proper joint mechanics. While
many Chiropractors talk about "Alignment", what we are really talking about is function.
Joints can become "fixated", where they do not have full range of motion.
When we adjust 'fixated' joints, they are allowed to regain their normal biomechanical,
histological, and neurologic function. Since the vertebrae encase the spinal
cord and provide means for spinal nerves to reach out to all areas of the body,
to whatever degree the improper biomechanical alignment of the vertebrae may irritate
the nervous system, restoring proper function of these vertebral segments can serve
to decrease neurogenic discomfort.
Q: My Friend says Chiropractor's hurt you, is that true?
A: While there may be some slight discomfort or some residual
pain after treatment, actual injuries are very uncommon. We explain to our
patients that it's much like working out for the first time: Muscles that haven't
been used, or joints that are regaining their full function may be a little sore
after the first adjust, but this usually abates as proper motion in the spine is
regained. For those patients who do experience some discomfort after the first
few adjustments, we advise they might want to do some light icing to ease their
discomfort. Often with patients, we are adjusting an area that may have
had normal function for quite some time. After being .............for so long,
muscles, ligaments, and joint capsules will shorten to adapt to their new, though
improper, position. As these joints regain their proper function, there is
sometimes some discomfort as the tissues re-accomodate their renewed function.
If you do experience any discomfort, don't ever hesitate to call us. We're
happy to listen to what's going on and often times, explain, and ease your concern.
Q: What is the popping sound I hear when I get adjusted?
A: The synovial fluid in joints tends to accumulate dissolved
nitrogen gas, in the same way that a Bottle of Champagne has carbon dioxide dissolved
in it. In a Chiropractic adjustment, as we open the joint, the pressure within
the joint capsule decreases, and allows the nitrogen gas to be released or 'cavitate'.
This process is totally safe, and has many beneficial effects, including increased
blood flow, increased mobility, and decreased muscle tension.
Q: I heard Chiropractors make you keep coming back for weeks, months,
or even years?
A: This is perhaps one of the toughest questions to answer, as it
has several explanations. The duration and frequency of treatment is highly
individualized based on patient's problem, general health patient compliance with
at home care recommendations, and practitioner beliefs. Sometimes this is,
as explained above, due to poor communication about whether the condition being
treated is acute or chronic and therefore needs a relatively shorter or longer course
of treatment. Other times, longer treatment schedules may be necessary for
a variety of reasons. Still there are the few unfortunate cases where the
Chiropractor is seeking their own benefit instead of that of the Patient.
At Washington Chiropractic Center, our goal is to attain the Maximum medical Improvement
in your condition in the timeliest manner possible. When each patient reaches
their Maximum Improvement, depends on the Patient, their diagnosis, the chronicity
as well as other factors, but we are committed to acting first and foremost in the
interest of our patients. The one thing you can be sure, Our Assurance is
that we will treat you only as long as is necessary and will continue to benefit
Q: What's the difference between Chiropractors and Osteopaths?
A: Historically, Chiropractors and Osteopaths share very similar roots.
Both were founded in the late 1800's, both were founded by men who felt frustrated
by the sometimes extreme measures employed by, then contemporary, medicine.
Philosophically, Osteopaths believed that the key to a healthy body lay in healthy
circulation, and used Osteopathic Manipulation to correct "Osteopathic Lesions".
Chiropractors, on the other hand believed that the key to health was a healthy nervous
system, and used Chiropractic Adjustments to correct "Subluxations". In the
modern era, Osteopaths have integrated strongly into the medical model, able to
prescribe drugs, perform surgery and specialize in any field, just as M.D.'s.
While some Osteopaths still use Osteopathic Manipulation, they more often function
interchangeably with M.D.'s. Chiropractors, while they have updated much of
their philosophy and practices to reflect advances in science, rehabilitation, and
patient care, still use the Chiropractic Adjustment as the mainstay in their treatment
We are conveniently located near the University Village,
in the Lakeview Medical Building, just across the street from Kinko's, Tully's & Baskin Robbins.
We are proud to partner with Group Health, Aetna, Regence, Premera, and most other Insurers.