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Better Health the Natural Way: What Is a Chiropractor?

By Genevieve Cunningham

A Natural Alternative

Living a healthy life doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. It’s true that better health often feels just out of reach. We’re busier than ever, and because of that, our health suffers. What’s more, we’re becoming more and more skeptical of modern medical options. We know it has its place, but is invasive intervention always the answer?

These doubts have raised important questions, and more importantly, they’ve helped us find some important answers. We’re now looking to less invasive, more natural ways to protect and improve our health, and one of the best and most effective options is chiropractic care. To truly appreciate this option in our lives, let’s take a deeper look at chiropractors and what they mean to the health world.

What Is a Chiropractor?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a chiropractor is “a licensed healthcare professional who treats disorders chiefly of the musculoskeletal system.” What a mouthful! Sounds simple, right? But those in the chiropractic profession are so much more than a definition in a dictionary. Let’s break it down:

  • Chiropractors are medical professionals. They want what’s best for your body and overall health.
  • Chiropractors focus on integrative medicine -- a method of healthcare that focuses on both treatments and lifestyle changes to truly heal your body from the inside out.
  • Chiropractors are trained and skilled at spinal adjustments. This one addition to your healthcare routine can bring numerous benefits, as discussed below.

A chiropractor is a valuable asset in your healthcare plan. Finding a qualified professional to focus on medical care and help you feel your best can put you on a path to wellness that can’t be beat.

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What Do Chiropractors Do?

Health is a personal and sensitive subject, which is why it sometimes feels so difficult to reach out for help, but it becomes a lot easier when we understand what’s happening behind the scenes. What do chiropractors do? And how does it actually affect our health? Here’s what you really need to know.

For the most part, chiropractors offer spinal manipulation through what is commonly called the chiropractic adjustment. This is a technique in which the doctor -- they are doctors of chiropractic -- gently adjusts the vertebrae of the spine to treat various disorders. They’ll also develop a treatment plan that best serves your health long-term. For chiropractors, it’s not only about making the symptoms go away right now, it’s about helping you find true healing so that the symptoms don’t come back at all.

How Are Chiropractors Trained?

Many people shy away from chiropractic care because they simply don’t understand it. Are chiropractors doctors? Are they adequately trained? In a word: yes. The important difference is that chiropractors don’t hold an MD, so they aren’t medical doctors. Instead, all states require chiropractors to earn a doctor of chiropractic degree, DC, which can only be obtained through an accredited college.

Earning a degree in chiropractic requires more than reading a book and taking a test. Much of what a chiropractor learns is the same as an MD learns. Chiropractors are specialists trained through:

  • The completion (or near completion) of an undergraduate degree
  • Four years of study in an accredited chiropractic school
  • Hands-on training
  • Experience treating in student clinics

States then require licensing in order to practice. Chiropractors are well-educated, well-trained, and ready to improve public health and wellness.

What Do Chiropractors Treat?

Chiropractors treat a wide range of conditions. Through chiropractic treatment, the following ailments and conditions might be healed or improved:

  • Back pain
  • Neck Pain
  • General discomfort
  • Joint stiffness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Headaches

A chiropractic adjustment isn’t confined to treating only these conditions, but these are common reasons why people seek alternative healthcare options in the first place. Patients want to give their body the ability to heal itself, and chiropractors can be key players in this journey.

When Is It Time to See a Chiropractor?

The timing of when to see a chiropractor is different for everyone, but some of the most common conditions that push people to set up a visit include:

  • Ongoing pain, especially in the back or neck
  • Discomfort that interrupts sleep or productivity at work
  • Migraines or debilitating headaches

Though these are most common, the truth is that when you’re ready to reduce pain or focus on building the best healthcare plan possible, it’s time to see a chiropractor. Because chiropractic care focuses on complementary and integrative health, the best time to see a chiropractor is now. It can be part of a treatment plan when you’re suffering, but it can also be part of a prevention plan when you’re not. If you’re feeling pain, the time is now. If you’re generally healthy, the time is now. Now is always the right time to focus on better health.

What to Expect During Your Visit

The key to enjoying the process is knowing what to expect. Will it hurt? Will it work? Though each session is different according to the needs of the patient, you can expect a few basic staples:

  • You can expect the chiropractor to give you an assessment and a treatment plan.
  • You can expect care that is specific to your body and health needs.
  • You can expect a chiropractic adjustment that may twist or turn the body in unexpected ways, but that is usually and typically safe and secure.

If you’ve never been to the chiropractic clinic before, it can feel intimidating, but overall, you can expect it to feel much like other healthcare visits: professional, beneficial, and productive. There is very little physical discomfort, a lot of new sensations, and endless opportunities to feel the numerous benefits that come with chiropractic care.

Is Treatment Safe?

When it comes to your body and health, the most important aspects of healthcare are effectiveness and safety. Chiropractic care is highly effective for multiple health conditions, but is it safe? Here are some ways to know you’re in the best of hands:

  • Chiropractors must be educated, trained, and licensed.
  • Chiropractors understand the musculoskeletal system and its role in the body.
  • Chiropractors care about your pain. They want to relieve it, and they have no desire to create more.

Chiropractic adjustments happen every day, and as with all medical treatments, there’s some level of risk. For chiropractic care, the risk is minimal. According to the American Chiropractic Association, chiropractic care “is one of the safest non-drug, noninvasive forms of healthcare …”

Is there risk? Yes, though minimal. Is it safe? According to research, chiropractic is an incredibly safe option for healthcare; the probability of injury is 40 incidents per 100,000 subjects, compared to 153 incidents in the primary care cohort. Is it effective? Research shows that chiropractic care (especially at the outset of pain) can greatly reduce the need for opioids (painkillers) as a means of treatment; this reduces the opportunity for dangerous opioid addiction.

Chiropractic successfully treats pain and other conditions on a regular and ongoing basis. Safe and effective -- chiropractic care is the option you need for the best health.

The Joint Chiropractic and Staff

The Joint Chiropractic is the best option for quality chiropractic care from medical professionals who actually care about your health and well-being. Experienced and knowledgeable chiropractors will help you feel safe, comfortable, and at home.

Getting care is convenient and accessible -- two ways you know the chiropractors at The Joint really care about your health. If you’re ready to make chiropractic care a part of your future, The Joint Chiropractic should be your next stop.

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