These are some of the most commonly asked questions at our office in Kalamazoo, MI. If you have any other questions feel free to email us and we will answer your specific questions.
1. What is chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a health discipline that focuses on correcting subluxations. A subluxation is a misalignment of the spine, this causes encroachment on the spinal nerve root. When the nerve becomes encroached it causes a variety of symptoms from back and neck pain to headaches, arm pain and leg pain. Chiropractic can even help visceral disorders like bed wetting, frequent urination, diarrhea, constipation, asthma, acid reflux and more. The effects of chiropractic care are almost endless and often helps patients that would appear to be otherwise helpless.
Chiropractic care has no side effects so there is no harm in trying chiropractic care for your symptoms.
2. Once I go to a chiropractor do I have to keep going back?
There are three phases of chiropractic care. Relief and Repair, Rehabilitative and Wellness care. Relief and Repair is often the stage we first see patients. They have a specific ache or pain and present to our office for symptom relief. Rehabilitative care is focusing on doing home exercises and stretches to permanently correct the spinal condition. Wellness care is when a patient comes in for a “tune up” to make sure their spine has proper range of motion, nerve function and future injury prevention. We often compare this type of care to maintenance of your car. Getting your car tuned up and the oil changed on a regular basis helps prolong the life of your car. The same is true for you body, regular chiropractic care helps maintain a healthy and fully functional nervous system and spinal column. A proper functioning nervous system helps promote the immune system, improves athletic performance and decreases stress resulting in more energy.
At Elements Chiropractic we provide a schedule for every patient that is specific to your condition. We base your care on orthopedic and neurological findings, x-ray findings (when needed) and past experience for the amount of time each condition needs to respond to chiropractic care.
Dr. Myers also takes into account that not every patient is interested in undergoing regular chiropractic care and some patients just want to feel better and come back when it hurts again. This type of “patch” care is also available. Dr. Myers is understanding and appreciative of each patient’s individual needs.
3. What can I expect on my office visits?
On your first visit Dr. Myers will perform a complete orthopedic and neurological exam after a comprehensive consultation. He will listen to your concerns and condition. X-rays are the gold standard of diagnosis for care, but in some instances chiropractic care can be administered without x-ray studies. Dr. Myers works with Borgess and Bronson Hospitals for Elements Chiropractic x-ray services. This provides your x-rays being superior quality on a digital x-ray machine, the films are electronically transferred to Dr. Myers after being analyzed by a radiologist. Dr. Myers will then also read your x-rays for pathology and subluxations. So your x-rays are being read by two doctors for the price of one. This is another way Elements Chiropractic and Dr. Myers work hard to provide the highest level of care.
Depending upon your condition Dr. Myers may be able to adjust you on your first visit, especially if you are in a lot of pain for emergency care.
Dr. Myers administers a low force and gently chiropractic manipulation. He also uses an Impulse Adjusting Instrument that provides a spinal correction that is 10 times faster than a manual manipulation. Interferential electric stimulation provides a low voltage electric stimulation that relaxes muscle spasm and temporarily blocks pain. Intersegmental traction helps decrease muscle spasm also and decreases foraminal encroachment that helps alleviate pain and tenderness.
Elements Chiropractic also provides electronic billing of your insurance claim for your convenience.
4. Is a chiropractor a real doctor?
Yes. A chiropractor has completed their bachelors degree at a four year institute. Then at an accredited chiropractic college they complete four years for their doctorate degree. To become licensed your chiropractor must past National Boards that prove they are efficient in core sciences, clinical training, chiropractic therapies, radiology, diagnosis and physical therapy.
The following excerpt is from the Michigan Association of Chiropractors website (www.chiromi.com):
“The education of a chiropractor is similar in total classroom hours to that of a medical doctor. An average of 4,822 hours is required in chiropractic schools, compared to 4,667 hours in medical schools.
Basic science courses comprise nearly 30 percent of the total hours in both chiropractic and medical school programs, and the two programs have comparable hours in biochemistry, microbiology and pathology. Chiropractors receive more training in anatomy and physiology, while medical doctors receive more training in public health.
The 4,822 hours of classroom instruction in chiropractic school include 1,416 hours in basic science, 1,975 hours in diagnostic and treatment methods, and 1,431 hours in clinical internship.
Chiropractic colleges focus on chiropractic principles, diagnosis, orthopedics, physiologic therapeutics and nutrition. Three areas – adjustive techniques/spinal analysis, physical/clinical laboratory diagnosis, and diagnostic imaging – account for more than half of the education in clinical sciences. During their internship, chiropractors complete two years of hands-on clinical experience focusing on adjustment as the primary procedure. The emphasis in chiropractic clinical sciences is clearly on diagnosis and adjustive technique.”
5. How is chiropractic different from physical therapy or massage?
Chiropractic care focuses on relieving pressure on the spinal nerve roots by manipulation of the spine and pelvis. This results in decreased pain, muscle spasm and neuropathy (numbness/tingling). Physical therapy is a discipline that works with rehabilitation of muscle groups for stability and strengthening. PT can be very effective with joint related injuries but does not focus on correction of spinal or joint alignment. Massage therapy obviously helps alleviate tight, taut and spasming muscles. Massage and physical therapy can work very well in conjunction with chiropractic care.
Chiropractic searches for the cause of the symptom and corrects that issue. Rather than focusing on the symptom itself and attempting to mask the condition with medications. Dr. Myers will provide you with home exercises you can perform to help “hold” your adjustment better. So when he adjusts your spine it will stay, these exercises are very similar to ones you will get at physical therapy. Also Elements Chiropractic uses electric stimulation to decrease muscle spasms, decrease swelling and temporarily block pain.
6. My child hurt himself playing a sport. Should children be adjusted?
Yes! Every spine should be adjusted, especially athletes. The physical toll that is put on your body during sports can be damaging to the joints of the spine. Every professional team has a team chiropractor to maintain their athletes and correct joint injuries. Young athletes undergo the same stress and strains on their body as professional athletes. Children can be adjusted at all ages. Dr. Myers has seen children as young as a few days old and as old as 100 years.
Chiropractic care also improved sports performance. The body is basically a very complex machine that needs to function properly to obtain the ultimate performance. Much like fine tuning a sports car for racing adjustments fine tune the human body to perform at their physical peak by increasing range of motion, increasing strength, decreasing injuries and boosting the immune system.
7. I’ve heard chiropractic care is expensive, how much does it cost?
Chiropractic care has been proven in many studies to be less expensive for treatment of back pain, neck pain and headaches than traditional medication and physical therapy. We work with many insurance companies and also have a cash patient rate. If you have a deductible or copay with your insurance that will be your “out of pocket expense,” the same as with your family doctor’s office.
The Michigan Association of Chiropractors website has more information and research articles you may find interesting to learn more about chiropractic care.