Frequently Asked Questions about Chiropractic

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Welcome to Bluestone Chiropractic’s FAQs page, where we are in the process of compiling a list of questions frequently asked by our patients. Our goal is to answer all queries and/or concerns that you may have and we encourage you to contact us directly with any questions you may have that are not listed below.

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Chiropractor Questions: Upper, Lower Back Pain Question

Chiropractor / Chiropractic FAQs

Current and potential chiropractic patients ask three common questions regarding the education of their chiropractic care provider and the efficacy and safety of chiropractic treatment. Although the first chiropractic adjustment dates back to 1895, national regulations governing licensure date only as far back as the 1970s. Chiropractic’s relative youth likely causes some of the confusion that surrounds the field.

How well educated is my chiropractic physician compared to my medical physician?

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Many people have an erroneous view of the educational requirements to become a chiropractor. The educational path to become a Doctor of Chiropractic takes seven to nine years to complete. Pre-professional coursework requirements include a year each for courses biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and psychology. When students finally enter the four-year Doctor of Chiropractic program, they must be well qualified to complete the intense educational program ahead of them.
The US Department of Education recognizes the Council on Chiropractic Education as the authority ensuring accredited chiropractic colleges provide students a high-quality chiropractic education.
The Doctor of Chiropractic degree requires four years of study, including over 4,200 classroom hours. During the first two years, coursework centers on mastering basic sciences. During this period, students master the core sciences:

  • Anatomy
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Pathology
  • Physiology

Students’ second two years focus on pharmacology and medical procedures. During this time, future chiropractors begin coursework on:

  • Manipulation
  • Neurology
  • Nutrition
  • Orthopedics
  • Physical therapy
  • Radiology
  • Spinal analysis

In the process, they earn qualification in assessing patients’ needs for medical referral. This is the result of extensive training in laboratory procedures, physical diagnosis, radiology diagnosis, clinical human behavior, pediatrics and geriatrics, dermatology, otolaryngology, first aid, and emergency procedures.
Toward the end of their four-year journey, students begin supervised, practical application in order to gain experience in examining patients, performing diagnosis, treatments, and referrals. Next, the graduate completes rigorous national board examinations before applying for his or her state license. Each state licenses and regulates the practice of chiropractic, and most require yearly continuing education hours. This lifetime of professional development ensures doctors of chiropractic remain aware of healthcare’s constantly occurring advances and research.

Is chiropractic effective?

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The medical communities of numerous countries have conducted and published the results of studies into the effectiveness of chiropractic care. The British Medical Journal published a 10-year study that compared medical and chiropractic care for the treatment of lower back problems. The conclusion was that chiropractic treatment is significantly more effective than medical care, with long-term results that would save millions of pounds each year if lower back pain patients were seen by doctors of chiropractic in lieu of hospital doctors.
In 1993, the Ontario Ministry of Health backed a similar study on the treatment of low back pain. Their report reviewed scientific studies from around the world and concluded that chiropractic care was not only less costly than medical care, but also safer, more effective, and less expensive. Additionally, injured workers treated by doctors of chiropractic returned to work quicker. The Canadian report concluded with a recommendation that chiropractic care be fully insured and integrated into Canada’s healthcare system. The study also recommended that hospitals extend privileges and employ doctors of chiropractic. Additionally, chiropractic services were encouraged as the preferred treatment for patients with low back pain.
In December of 1994, the United States Department of Health and Human Services produced its own chiropractic guidelines after evaluating over 10,000 medical abstracts and nearly 4,000 scientific articles. The panel included:

  • Two nurses
  • Two physical therapists
  • Two doctors of osteopathy
  • Two doctors of chiropractic
  • One occupational therapist
  • One consumer
  • Two Ph.D.’s
  • Eleven medical doctors

After recommendations of acetaminophen and other NSAIDs, the panel recommended spinal manipulation to treat low back problems. Of those two recommendations, spinal manipulations were recognized as the only treatment that relieves symptoms, increases function, and speeds up recovery. Doctors of chiropractic receive an average of 563 hours of training in manipulation compared to the 146 hours received by doctors of osteopathy. Medical doctors and physical therapists receive zero hours of manipulation training. The Rand Corporation confirms that doctors of chiropractic perform 94 percent of all spinal manipulations.

Is chiropractic care safe?

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Numerous published studies confirm the safety of chiropractic care.

  • The Journal of Family Practice stated that the occurrence of manipulative vascular injuries is rare, occurring in very small numbers.
  • Three separate board certified neurologists, namely Sudderth, Kandel, and Haldeman, provided expert testimony on vascular injury. Sudderth and Kandel, each with thousands of cases of cerebral vascular accidents, have never seen a case resulting from a chiropractic adjustment. Haldeman placed the risk of vascular injury at one in one million.
  • The Journal of the American Medical Association also placed the likelihood of a vascular accident as the result of manipulation at one in one million.
  • The Textbook of Orthopedic Medicine states that the risk is even lower, at one in ten million.
  • Orthopedic Medicine: A New Approach to Vertebral Manipulations places the risk at one in several tens of millions.
  • The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reports that the National College of Chiropractic Clinics had not had a single case of vertebral artery injury in five million neck adjustments.

Conclusion

In study after study, chiropractic care has proven safe and effective. This is thanks to the rigorous education that doctors of chiropractic receive, ensuring their patients receive the greatest, most advanced treatments available.