Chiropractic medicine focuses on the link between the body's structure and function. A key part of chiropractic medicine is the belief that the body can heal itself with the right support.
Chiropractic medicine believes a person's health can be improved through hands-on treatments (called adjustments or manipulations) and tools. These are used to create better structure and alignment. Providers find structural and functional problems by doing a physical exam and taking X-rays. They may also do lab tests and other testing. Some chiropractors offer nutritional advice and do complementary medicine. They also often advise exercises to do at home.
Chiropractic treatments may help ease lower back pain, muscle pain, and other bone pain. During treatment, you may lie down on a special table. The provider then uses their hands and elbows to realign your spine.
Chiropractors have different training than licensed medical doctors. It is extensive and highly focused on the correct structure of the body. A Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) has had at least 3 years of college. There is a focus on biology or basic sciences. They also have at least 4 years of training at an accredited chiropractic college. In order to practice, they must also pass a comprehensive licensing exam. Many states require yearly continuing education credits to keep the license.
If you are thinking about seeing a chiropractor, talk with him or her about the following:
Ask about the provider's education and license.
Ask if they have training and experience treating your specific health problems.
Ask how long the treatment may take.
Find out if there are out-of-pocket costs.
Ask about insurance coverage.
Tell the chiropractor about any medicines you take. If any vitamins or supplements are advised, ask about possible interactions with the medicines or supplements you are now taking.
Tell all of your healthcare providers (conventional or complementary) about the health approaches, supplements, and medicines you use. This will give them a full picture of your health. It will help ensure safe, effective, and coordinated care.