FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We want you comfortable and knowledgeable about chiropractic and natural healthcare.
How does Chiropractic work?
Chiropractic works because you are a self-healing, self-regulating organism controlled by your nervous system. Millions of instructions flow from your brain, down the spinal cord and out to every organ and tissue. Signals are also sent back to the brain to confirm your body is working right. Improper motion or position of the moving bones of the spine are called subluxations, which can interfere with this vital exchange by irritating nerves and compromising the function of the affected organs and tissues. Specific chiropractic spinal adjustments can help improve mind/body communications. Health often returns with improved nervous system control of the body.
What kind of training do chiropractors receive?
Chiropractors receive five academic years of training, after a minimum of three years of pre-professional (undergraduate) education. They pass national board examinations similar to those doctors of medicine must take. Doctors of chiropractic are licensed in all 50 states and make up the third largest licensed health care provider group, after medicine and dentistry, in the United States.
How do I get subluxations (misalignments)?
There are three basic causes of subluxations:
Physical causes could include slips and falls, accidents, repetitive motions or improper lifting.
Emotions such as grief, fear and anger can cause subluxations.
Chemical causes could include alcohol, drugs, pollution and poor diet.
How do I know if I have a subluxation?
You can have subluxations and not even know it. Like the early stages of tooth decay or cancer, subluxations can be present before warning signs (symptoms) appear. The results of an examination by Dr. Jen can show the location and severity of subluxations you may have.
What does care/treatment involve?
During your first visit, Dr. Jen will take a comprehensive health history, perform a physical exam, and, if indicated, send you out for laboratory tests or imaging involving x-rays, CT scans, or an MRI. Dr. Jen usually adjusts on the first visit, as she knows how important your time and money is, so effective and efficient care is important.
Chiropractic pays special attention to emotional relationships affecting health, as well as its physiological and biochemical aspects. After a thorough evaluation, Dr. Jen may counsel you on how to prevent disease and enjoy better health through proper nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle changes, among other things. If Dr. Jen decides that you have an issues that requires medical care, you'll be referred to another health care provider for treatment or co-management.
During the adjustment itself, you'll lie and/or sit on an exam table while your chiropractor adjusts your joints -- especially your spine -- depending on your individual needs. Dr. Jen may also use a reflex tool to do adjustments. Spinal adjustments are normally pain-free, although some slight soreness (like after a workout) may be present afterwards that should improve quickly on its own. Increased water intake usually stops any soreness after the adjustments. Dr. Jen may also counsel you on appropriate exercises that you can do on your own.
What is an adjustment?
Chiropractic adjustments usually involve a quick thrust that helps add motion to joints that aren’t moving correctly. Most methods use the doctor’s hands, but others use instruments, a special table or the force of gravity. There are over 100 chiropractic adjusting techniques, so not all Chiropractors adjust the same way…and not all patients are adjusted the same way.
What makes that sound during an adjustment?
Lubricating fluids separate the bones of each spinal joint and some adjusting methods can produce a sound when the gas and fluids in the joint move. The sound is interesting, but it isn’t a guide to the quality or value of the adjustment.
Will adjustments make my spine too loose?
No, only the spinal joints that are “locked up” receive adjustments. This allows the weakened muscles and ligaments to stabilize and heal.
Are chiropractic adjustments safe?
In the context of health care procedures, chiropractic treatments have a good safety record. About 20 million people see a chiropractor each year, and only a handful report serious injuries. The most common side effect of chiropractic adjustments is slight soreness, which you can usually relieve by icing the sore area.
A New Zealand government study found that adjustments are “remarkably safe.” By avoiding drugs and risky surgery, chiropractic care enjoys an excellent track record. A thorough exam can identify the rare person for whom chiropractic care may be unsuited.
Adjustments are about 100 times safer than taking an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Are there any risks?
Any health care procedure carries some risks; compared to even the risk of taking aspirin, the procedures used by doctors of chiropractic are very safe. Recent medical research has linked a particular chiropractic treatment, in extremely rare cases, with stroke. A number of peer-reviewed neurology journals and the Stanford University Medical Center's stroke center have reviewed reports of strokes following head and neck manipulation that had been performed by chiropractors and untrained providers (medical doctors, barbers, massage therapists and physical therapists, wives, etc.) as well. A study published in a peer-reviewed chiropractic journal, The Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapy, found that the incidence of stroke following manipulation was low, but concluded that "there seems to be sufficient evidence to justify a firm policy statement cautioning against upper cervical rotation as a technique of first choice."
The risk of stroke from chiropractic is extremely low, according to Anthony Rosner, Ph.D., the director of research at the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research. He points to a recent study using RAND data and published in Integrative Medicine, which estimates the risk of serious complications from cervical manipulation to be 6.39 per 10 million manipulations.
Can the bones move too much?
Highly unlikely. A chiropractic adjustment is special. It has the right amount of energy, delivered to the exact spot, at a precise angle, at the right time. The idea is to get a “stuck” spinal joint moving again, helping to reduce nerve interference. Years of training, practice and experience makes chiropractic adjustments specific and safe.
I adjust myself, why would I need a Chiropractor?
Some people make their joints “pop,” but that’s not an adjustment. Damage can occur by moving a joint or many joints with weakened muscles and ligaments. If this “popping” process is frequent, then the area may become so damaged that the joint becomes hyper-mobile and never stabilizes due to the weakened ligaments. Adjustments are specific and take years to master. Even Dr. Jen can't adjust herself and must be adjusted by another chiropractor.
What is muscle testing?
The body has within it and surrounding it an electrical network or grid, which is pure energy. Because energy runs through the muscles in your body, if anything impacts your electrical system that does not maintain or enhance your body’s balance, your muscles will virtually “short circuit” or weaken (don’t worry, only temporarily). Things that might have an impact on your electrical system are subluxations, thoughts and emotions, foods, and other substances.
Using your muscles, we can find what “weakens” or “strengthens” your body. This process is based on Applied Kinesiology, but often referred to as “muscle testing.” It’s simply a really cool way we can ask your body questions and get clear answers – like a telephone to the nervous system.
There is a great book called Power vs. Force, written by David R. Hawkins M.D. Ph.D
How can chiropractic add comfort to my pregnancy and a safer birth?
A large percent of all pregnant women experience back discomfort/pain during pregnancy. This is due to the rapid growth of the baby and changes to your body’s normal structure. Pre-existing unnoticed imbalances in your spine and pelvis become overtaxed and very apparent during these times. Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy can relieve and even prevent the common discomforts experienced in pregnancy. Specific adjustments eliminate these stresses in your spine, restore balance to your pelvis and result in greater comfort and lifestyle improvements.
As your baby develops, your uterus enlarges to accommodate the rapid growth. So long as the pelvis is in a balanced state, the ligaments connected to the uterus maintain an equalized, supportive suspension for the uterus. If your pelvis is out of balance in any way, these ligaments become torqued and twisted causing a condition known as constraint to your uterus. This constraint limits the space of the developing baby. If the woman’s uterus is constrained as birth approaches, the baby is prevented from getting into the best possible position for birth.
Even if the baby is in the desirable head down position, often times constraint to the uterus affects the baby’s head from moving into the ideal presentation for delivery. The head may be slightly tilted off to one side or even more traumatically, present in the posterior position.
Any baby position even slightly off during birth may slow down labor, and add pain to both the mother and baby. Published studies have indicated that chiropractic care does in fact reduce labor time.
Dr. Jen works specifically with your pelvis (and the rest of your body) throughout pregnancy to restore a state of balance and creating an environment for an easier, safer delivery.
Why do newborns get adjustments?
Birth is a traumatic process, for both the mother and child, even in natural childbirth. Since significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns checked right away. If a baby is checked for subluxations at birth, then many signs of spinal distress may not occur, like colic, unusual crying, poor appetite, ear infections, nursing difficulties, erratic sleeping patterns allergic reactions and chronic infections. Pediatric adjustments are gentle. In fact, Dr. Jen has been adjusted since she was 2 days old and all of her children were gentle home births and have received adjustments within the first month of life. Dr. Jen's youngest patient was 1 hour old!
The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association has more information on children and chiropractic.
Why should children have chiropractic care?
As the infant grows, learns to hold up the head, sit, crawl and walk spinal alignment is affected and it is an important time to have a child checked by Dr. Jen.
As the child begins to participate in regular childhood activities like skating or riding a bike, small yet significant spinal subluxations (misalignments) may occur. If neglected, the injuries during this period of rapid growth may lead to more serious problems later in life. Subtle trauma throughout childhood will affect the future development of the spine leading to impaired nervous system function. Any interference to the vital nervous system will adversely affect the body’s ability to function at its best.
One of the most common reason parents seek care for their child is trauma from an injury. These misalignments may or may not result in immediate pain or symptoms. Regular chiropractic checkups can identify potential spinal injury from these traumas, make the correction early in life and help avoid many of the health complaints seen later in adults.
Another sought out reason for care is the resolution of a particular symptom or condition. Parents seek care for conditions such as colic, ear infections, asthma, allergies and headaches (to name a few) because they have heard from other parents that chiropractic care can help. Yet many parents have their children adjusted to keep their nervous system working efficiently.
Can chiropractic help with childhood earaches (acute otitis media)?
Yes. Otitis media is an extremely common middle-ear inflammation, usually caused by an infection that blocks the Eustachian tube. Up to one-third of the child population will have 6 or more episodes before starting school, and some can have up to 12 episodes in a year.
Every year in the United States, approximately 30 percent of children under age three receive antimicrobial (antibiotic) treatment for acute earache.
Scientific studies have shown little evidence of shorter duration of symptoms, fewer recurrences or better long-term outcomes for children given antibiotics for their acute otitis media than for those who did not receive the medication. Moreover, researchers have found that giving antibiotics for otitis media, increases the chance of another earache.
Gentle chiropractic upper-spine adjustments can help clear the eustachian tube blockage that causes otitis media. Dietary/nutritional guidance (such as testing for food sensitivities and vitamin deficiencies) are usually offered by Dr. Jen.
Can chiropractic help with colic?
The most widely accepted definition of "colic" is uncontrollable crying in babies, especially from the ages of 0-3 months, and often lasting for more than three hours a day, more than three days a week for three weeks or more. No matter how long the condition lasts, parents know that struggling with a colicky child can be frustrating and exhausting. But there is hope, and it could come from Dr. Jen!
A recent study divided 50 infants with colic into two groups. The first group received chiropractic spinal manipulation/adjustments for two weeks; the second group received traditional drug treatment (dimethicone) over the same two weeks. Results revealed that the chiropractic group improved more than the drug group (less hours spent crying) after the first five days of the study. After day five, the dimethicone group showed little or no reduction in average colic hours per day. Days 4-7: Hours of crying were reduced by a total of 2.4 hours in the manipulation group compared with only one hour in the drug group. Days 8-11: Hours of crying were reduced by 2.7 total hours in the manipulation group, compared with one hour in the drug group. Even more revealing, five infants in the dimethicone group dropped out before the end of the study, described by their patients as having "worsened" or "much worsened" colic. The authors suggest that if these severe cases had been included in the results, drug intervention would have appeared even less effective than chiropractic for reducing the symptoms of colic.
What can chiropractic do for asthma?
Many chiropractors consider their role in caring for patients with asthma, especially those subject to severe attacks, as complementary to the medical management of the disease. They do regular spinal adjustments to make asthma sufferers more comfortable by helping relieve the muscle soreness and discomfort that can develop during asthmatic flare-ups. Chiropractic adjustments may help reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks. The achievements of chiropractic in promoting overall wellness, make chiropractors an important part of the health care team that can help asthma patients live more normal lives.
The principal goal of chiropractic is to reduce asthma sufferers' need to rely on the many medications prescribed to prevent and treat asthma. These medicines (or combinations of medicines) can have many troublesome and even dangerous side effects, including making patients increasingly dependent on ever-larger doses. Preventing asthma attacks is the key to living a normal life in spite of having asthma. In practical, day-to-day, quality-of-life terms, stopping asthma attacks before they start is better than taking medicines to stop the attack and restore pre-attack normality.
A chiropractor can help you, or your child or other family member with asthma, try to meet the Asthma Treatment Goals set by the U.S. National Institutes of Health:
To have the longest possible periods free of symptoms
To sleep through the night without asthma symptoms
Not to take time off from school or work because of asthma
To participate fully in physical activities
Not to have to visit an emergency rooms or stay in a hospital
To have little or no side effects from asthma medicines
To live a normal life without having to accept asthma symptoms as normal
How can chiropractic help with things like breathing and heart functions?
Nerves control every function in your body. When the nerves to a certain organ are not working properly due to interference, that organ may not function properly. Dr. Jen removes the nerve interference by adjusting the spine, therefore allowing the body to function properly without nerve interference. As far back as 1921, medical doctors have been publishing papers that support chiropractic theories. In 1921, when Dr. Henry Windsor published his study, little was known about the brain and nerve system in comparison to today's standards. Dr. Windsor performed autopsy studies to determine if there was a connection between minor curvatures of the spine and diseased internal organs. What he found was a nearly 100% correlation between the two. Where there was a diseased organ, a withered nerve could be traced back to the spine in most cases. His results were published in the Medical Times in 1921. Dr. Windor's results stress the importance of having proper spinal alignment for overall health including the function of the internal organs.
Can patients with osteoporosis get chiropractic care?
Of course! When developing a care plan, Dr. Jen considers the unique circumstances of each patient. There are many ways to adjust the spine and the method selected will be best suited to your age, size and condition.
Also, with chiropractic care in our office, we offer nutritional consultations and use muscle testing to see which calcium (and other nutrients) will be best absorbed and utilized by your body so that the osteoporosis may be slowed, stopped or even reversed. Dr. Jen's oldest patient was 92 and had been adjusted for 90 years!
What can chiropractic do for foot problems/plantar fasciitis?
Your feet are extremely complex structures composed of bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and skin. They are subject to injuries and other problems caused by normal wear and tear over years of supporting the weight of your body and making it possible for you to stand, walk, run, and jump.
The most obvious symptoms of foot trouble are pain and dysfunction (limping, favoring one foot or the other, inability to put weight on the heel and/or the toes). Foot pain can be due to ill-fitting, inappropriate footwear that cramps your feet; injuries that keep you from walking well--or at all; sprains which stretch or tear ligaments (which connect bones); and stress fractures of bones in the foot, which can result from accidents or overuse while engaging in sports or exercise. Just as foot disorders may originate elsewhere in the body, problems experienced in the feet can cause difficulties in other parts of the body, like creating significant stresses on the joints of your legs, hips, and lower spine. Your feet are the foundation for your entire body. When they suffer from pain, misalignments, malformations, and malfunctions, your whole body is effected. Even without pain, foot dysfunction can cause your whole body to overcompensate, which can lead to back pain and even headaches.
Dr. Jen will assess the nature of your foot problem and palpate (move) your feet and ankles to measure any limitations in range of motion, to identify what is causing your pain, and determine if your feet need to be adjusted or if referral to a specialist is called for.
Can chiropractic help with shoulder and arm pain?
Chiropractors are accustomed adjusting the shoulder and surrounding joints, as well as relieving painful trigger points between the spine and shoulder. Chiropractic can be successfully employed to deal with so-called “frozen shoulder,” a severe inflammation, technically known as adhesive capsulitis. The causes of shoulder and arm pain include tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis, and gout. Such pain may also result from a reaction to medications such as penicillin, anti-anxiety drugs, and oral contraceptives. Whiplash injuries, common in auto accidents, can also cause shoulder and arm pain.
Shoulder and arm pain may be referred from some other region of the body, as when someone suffering a heart attack feels pain in the left shoulder and down the left arm. The pain may also be referred from nerves associated with the joints in the upper spine or "trigger points" in the back, which are particularly responsive to chiropractic spinal adjustments designed to treat such problems.
Dr. Jen will examine you and conduct diagnostic tests to determine exactly what is causing your shoulder or arm pain. Because the causes and the seriousness of different conditions are so varied, it is important to pinpoint the cause and begin the most appropriate treatment. She will decide which treatment will be best for you and if referral to a specialist will be necessary.
What kinds of headaches are there?
More than 90 percent of headaches can be classified as tension-type, migraine or cervicogenic.
By far, most people get tension-type headaches and get them frequently. They typically suffer mild to moderate pain, on both sides of the head, that is often described as tight, stiff, constricting – like having something wrapped around your head and pressing tightly.
Migraines are periodic severe, throbbing headaches that afflict far fewer people (more women than men), usually hurt on one side of the head, can cause loss of appetite, nausea and even vomiting, and may involve a visual change called an aura.
Cervicogenic headache is a muskuloskeletal form of tension-type headache (which may also be related to migraines). Many times, cervicogenic headache goes undiagnosed as such due to the relative newness of this classification.
What can chiropractic do for headaches?
Dr. Jen had considerable success relieving the cause of headache pain and releasing headache sufferers from the dangerous vicious circle of taking ever-larger doses of ever-stronger painkillers that may even be causing new and worse headaches. Many people experience what are termed "analgesic rebound headaches" from taking painkillers every day, or nearly every day. The medicine you take to get rid of today's headache may give you a headache tomorrow and the days after….similar to that of a hangover. After a night of drinking, a beer in the morning often helps relieve the hangover pain.
Chiropractic adjustments have shown to be as effective and even more effective than medications in reducing the severity and frequency of headaches. Chiropractic is particularly successful dealing with cervicogenic headache. Even though cervicogenic and other tension-type headaches may not actually involve stress or muscle tension, chiropractic's ability to adjust spinal abnormalities seems to lessen or remove the forces contributing to headache pain.
Can I have chiropractic care after back surgery?
Yes, rest assured that Dr. Jen will avoid the surgically modified areas of your spine. Surgery often caused instability above or below the involved level.
I am an athlete, I’ve heard chiropractic can raise my game – why is that?
Professional and amateur sports involve large numbers of talented athletes. To ensure that they can play at their peak without hurting themselves and to assist them if they do experience injuries, often rely on chiropractors. Many pros, top amateurs and famous champions in professional, intercollegiate and Olympic sports loyally turn to their chiropractors for assessment, adjustment, guidance and treatment to get a performance edge by enhancing their strength, flexibility and endurance. Lance Armstrong, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wayne Gretzky, Mary Lou Retton, Joe Montana, Evander Holyfield, Emmit Smith, Bruce Jenner, Dan O’Brien, Martina Navratilova, Tiger Woods and Derek Parra are among the few, who use chiropractic care to raise their game.
A research study conducted by Drs. Anthony Lauro and Brian Mouch, published in the Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation, 1991, indicated chiropractic care might improve athletic performance by as much as 16.7% over a two week period. The report also concluded that subluxation-free athletes react faster, coordinate better, execute fine movements with improved accuracy and precision, amounting to an overall better athlete.
Backs, necks, shoulders, knees, ankles, wrists, fingers and toes–in fact, most bones, joints and connective tissues–are subject to misuse and injury when people play hard. Seniors, individuals long out of shape or with disabilities, children who haven't yet learned how to protect themselves during physical exertion, and adolescents whose bodies are changing rapidly are among those at even greater risk than men and women in fairly good shape.
Among the causes of sports-related injuries are:
Overreaching, overdoing it, pushing too hard to achieve health or performance goals;
Failing to use good judgment to avoid injuries;
Not knowing your limitations, or knowing them but driving yourself beyond them in the heat of competition
Trying to recapture a lost (or even an imaginary) past of youth and vigor when you excelled almost effortless
Playing all out with insufficient warm-ups, nutrition, training, and guidance
Not receiving the most appropriate and conservative treatment possible for injuries that do occur
Failing to recuperate fully after injuries or overexertion because you can't wait to "get back into the game
How long will I need chiropractic care?
As long as you want to be healthy. People sometimes say, “Once you start seeing a Chiropractor, you have to go for the rest of your life.” You don’t always have to go, only as long as you want to be healthy. You wouldn’t go to the gym once and be in great shape or brush your teeth once and have healthy teeth. It’s a commitment to your health and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s easier to stay well, stay in great shape or have a great smile if you do each regularly. After all, you get your teeth, eyes and your hearing checked regularly-why not your spine? It only takes a short time, its fun and your whole body will thank you for it.
Of course, you won’t have to see the Chiropractor every day. Depending on the person’s age, occupation, lifestyle and health goals, each patient’s care program is custom-tailored for the their needs.
Dr. Arpad DeNagy of the Rockefellar Institute states, “Interference to the nervous system results in permanent damage in a short period of time and therefore, chiropractic care should begin at birth on a preventative basis.”
If I waited too long and come in to see a Chiropractor with pain, how long until I feel better?
Some patients experience almost instant relief, others may take up to many weeks. Many factors can affect the healing process. How long have you had the problem? Are you keeping your appointments? Are you getting the proper rest, exercise and nutrition? Do you smoke? Are you in otherwise good condition? Within a short period of time, most patients sense enough progress to fully carry out their Chiropractor’s recommendations.
Patient results will vary, as many patients improve and resume their lifestyle. There are others who neglected or delayed seeking chiropractic care, in which the progress can be much slower and more expensive. Getting checkups regularly can avoid this painful and lifestyle altering situation. It's cheaper to stay well than to get well.
Will I receive any medication for my pain?
No. Chiropractic doctors do not dispense drugs because we rely on natural methods. We can show you how to use ice or heat to control painful symptoms. When properly applied, ice can have an analgesic (pain killer) effect without the side effects of pain medications. Specific supplements may help, as needed. For example, the right kind of calcium/magnesium can be a natural painkiller without the dangerous side effects.
Why don’t medical doctors and chiropractic doctors get along?
That’s changing, although attitudes are slow to change. Chiropractic began in 1895, but it wasn’t until 1990 that medical doctors were even allowed to refer their patients to chiropractors!
It all started to change back in 1976, when Dr. Chester Wilk and 4 other chiropractors filed a lawsuit against the American Medical Association (AMA) for having conspired to ruin the credibility of the chiropractic profession. Finally, on February 7, 1990, the US Court of Appeals upheld a District Court's decision, which found the AMA guilty of conspiring with other medical healthcare organizations in a "lengthy, systematic, successful and unlawful boycott" designed to eliminate chiropractors as a competitor.
Currently, the public demands alternatives to drugs and surgery, therefore more and more medical practitioners are referring patients to our office.
What if my policy doesn’t cover chiropractic care?
Your health affects everything you do and everyone you know. It is your most valuable possession. Yet, each of us is free to place a different value on our health. It is convenient when an insurance company or third party pays the bill, but be careful. Don’t allow the profit motive of a huge corporation make the decision of how healthy you will be. Some people choose carefully a policy that will include chiropractic, as more and more policies are covering chiropractic. Others find it is less expensive to pay out of pocket, than it is to change or include chiropractic on their policy. Most health plans and HMOs cover chiropractic; check with your insurance company or health plan administrator. Dr. Jen is not contracted with any insurance companies.
What if chiropractic doesn’t work?
If we are talking about pain management, then Dr. Jen will refer you to other specialists who may be able to help you and co-manage your health, if that is what is decided. Most patients don’t let their health get to that point, as they know the importance of regular chiropractic checkups. Remember, it is impossible to receive a specific chiropractic adjustment without a healing process occurring. Your health is our primary goal.
Why not just buy supplements locally or online?
Doctors who don't specialize in natural treatments often take a scattershot approach to supplements, recommending a vague shopping list of pills from local health food stores. Without a solid plan and specific focus, patients commonly end up buying supplements simply because they read about them or a friend or neighbor suggests them.
Over time, the cost of this trial-and-error attempt at improving your health is significantly higher and markedly less effective, as these supplements do not have the potency or quality of those sold through a licensed practitioner. Our supplements are manufactured with the quality and potency necessary to get results. If for some reason your customized nutrition and lifestyle plan is not working, we will know that the quality or potency of your supplements is not to blame and that we need to take a different approach. Simply put, by putting better nutritional supplements into your body, you will be assured a faster response and better outcomes at a lower cost. Pre- and post-lab testing consistently shows that most over-the-counter supplements do not benefit the body in the same way that high-quality, biologically potent supplements do. Over the years, we've made it our business to understand which supplements are consistently effective so that our patients get the best possible outcomes quickly.
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