Want to know more about chiropractors?

We asked the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) for some facts?

We know: All About Chiropractors

What does chiropractic mean?

Chiropractic is a form of spinal manipulation, which is one of the oldest healing practices.

What conditions are treated by chiropractors?

Conditions commonly treated by chiropractors include back pain, neck pain, headaches, sports injuries, and repetitive strains. Patients also seek treatment of pain associated with other conditions, such as arthritis.

Who uses chiropractic?

In 1997, it was estimated that Americans made nearly 192 million visits a year to chiropractors. Over 88 million of those visits were to treat back or neck pain.

What kind of training do chiropractors receive?

Chiropractic training is a 4-year academic program consisting of both classroom and clinical instruction. At least 3 years of preparatory college work are required for admission to chiropractic schools. Students who graduate receive the degree of Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) and are eligible to take state licensure board examinations in order to practice. Some schools also offer postgraduate courses, including 2- to 3-year residency programs in specialized fields.

What do chiropractors do in treating patients?

When the chiropractor treats you, he may perform one or more adjustments. An adjustment (also called a manipulation treatment) is a manual therapy, or therapy delivered by the hands. Given mainly to the spine, chiropractic adjustments involve applying a controlled, sudden force to a joint. They are done to increase the range and quality of motion in the area being treated.

Have problems been reported from using chiropractic to treat back pain?

From what is now known, the risk appears to be very low. It appears to be higher for cervical-spine, or neck, manipulation (e.g., cases of stroke have been reported). The rare complication of concern from low-back adjustment is cauda equina syndrome, estimated to occur once per millions of treatments.

For your safety, it is important to inform all of your health care providers about any care or treatments that you are using or considering, including chiropractic.

Do health insurance plans pay for chiropractic treatment?

As of 2002, more than 50 percent of health maintenance organizations (HMOs), more than 75 percent of private health care plans, and all state workers' compensation systems covered chiropractic treatment.

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