Q & A

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is hands-on approach to health care that includes the diagnosis, treatment and therapeutic rehabilitation of the musculoskeletal system, the nervous system and the effects these systems have on a person’s general health. It is one of the safest, drug-free, non-invasive therapies available and is used most often to treat back pain, neck pain, pain in arm and leg joints, headaches and other neuro-muscular-skeletal complaints.

What does Chiropractic entail?

A hands-on practice, the most common therapeutic procedure chiropractors use is “spinal manipulation” or a “chiropractic adjustment”. Neuromuscularskeletal injuries can occur as a result of a single event, such as lifting a heavy object improperly, or through repetitive stress, such as sitting in an awkward position over an extended period of time. As a result, tissues can become inflamed and “hypomobile” (having diminished function and restricted in their movement). A manipulation or adjustment restores joint mobility and, in effect, resolves pain and muscle tightness allowing injured tissue to heal. A painful condition can also cause referred pain and dysfunction in another area of the body. By treating these three main body systems, that being the nervous, skeletal and muscular systems, chiropractic care positively impacts general overall health and body function.

Is an adjustment painful?

Most patients feel immediate relief following a treatment and some experience mild soreness or aching which typically fades within 12 to 24 hours. There may be some prolonged discomfort if muscles around the area affected have been significantly irritated. Cases of extreme injury can take longer to resolve as inflamed tissue requires time to heal and muscles which have been “frozen” are retrained.

What is the popping sound I sometimes hear when my chiropractor performs an adjustment?

Inflamed and injured tissues undergo both physical and chemical changes. As a result of manipulation or an adjustment, gasses which have built-up in the tissue and/or joint are released. The “popping” sound is caused by the change in pressure with the release of these gasses.

Is chiropractic treatment available for children?

Children, even infants, can benefit from chiropractic care. In fact, children respond quite well to chiropractic care. Children are normally very physically active and experience many falls and injuries in general. Chiropractic is a proactive way to correct early growth and movement issues as well as potentially reverse future adverse conditions resulting from untreated childhood injuries.

How long does an appointment take?

The first visit to a chiropractor takes approximately an hour for examination and analysis of the patient’s particular condition. It includes an exam, x-rays and in most cases, a thermal spinal scan. The second visit includes explanation of the results of the initial exam as well as recommendation of a treatment protocol and also takes approximately an hour. Once the initial evaluation is completed, ongoing treatments and/or adjustments take approximately 10 to 15 minutes, with periodic short (10 to 15 minute) re-exams to evaluate treatment effectiveness and overall restorative progress.

I’ve heard that once you start chiropractic care, you can never stop. Is this true?

No. Chiropractic care is proactive health care as well as restorative health care. Unfortunately, it is usually a painful condition that brings a person to a chiropractor. Over time as the painful condition is treated, muscles become retrained and tissues heal, a chiropractor will recommend monthly or even biyearly checkups. Just as you visit a dentist periodically to make sure your teeth are strong and healthy, a chiropractor wants to make sure your spine, muscles and joints are strong, healthy and moving as they should. As Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Or in chiropractic terms, the few minutes that a checkup takes outweighs the pain and problems that can result from a condition going unchecked.

Does my insurance cover chiropractic care?

Most insurance policies cover some chiropractic care. We recommend that you contact the customer service number on your insurance card and ask what chiropractic benefits are included with your policy. Once you become a patient, we will sit down with you to discuss your coverage and, if necessary, payment options.

Do I need a referral from my Primary Care Physician?

In most cases, no. The State of Maine has a law that allows you to self refer to a chiropractor is you have a fully funded HMO plan. PPO, POS, self funded and other plans may require a referral. Call the customer service number on your insurance card to check and see if one is required.

If I don’t have insurance, how much does chiropractic care cost?

Greater Portland Chiropractic offers a time-of-service payment plan to all of our patients with limited chiropractic or no chiropractic benefits. This plan offers all of our services at considerably discounted prices.

Is chiropractic effective?

Chiropractic helps to remove postural imbalances and structural misalignments that can accumulate in our bodies over time. Chiropractic works by restoring your own inborn ability to be healthy. For your body to remain healthy, your nervous system must function well. For your nervous system to function well it must be free of interference. By restoring spinal function with Chiropractic adjustments, nerve interference by misaligned vertebrae is removed, thus allowing optimal nervous system function and improved health.

Why should I see a Chiropractor?

Seeing a chiropractor is not only for back pain and neck pain. Chiropractic care is an excellent way to keep your body at its peak performance through nutrition, adjustment and overall wellness. In addition, chiropractic care has been known to help a wide range of conditions from fibromyalgia to diabetes.

What is Subluxation?

When a vertebrae becomes misaligned or moves out of its normal position, this is referred to in the chiropractic profession as a subluxation. Subluxations can be caused by a wide range of issues ranging from a minor slip or bump to a car accident or any sudden trauma. When a vertebrae is subluxated, it begins to put pressure on nerves, blood vessels and everything around it. This pressure comes with a price. The subluxation interrupts the natural pathways that the messages sent from the brain need to be clear in order to be completed properly.

How does chiropractic care work?

Chiropractic is an overall way of looking at the human body. It's based on the idea that the body is self-sustaining and self-healing. The body is in essence completely controlled by the brain through its connection via the spinal cord and the vast networks of nerves that make up the body. When this system is not functioning at its peak, the overall performance of the human body is lacking.

In the chiropractic world, drugs and medicine are not utilized as a form of treating a patient. While supplementation and nutrition are almost always a part of the bigger picture, drugs and prescriptions can be viewed as band-aids to treat symptoms rather than going to the source and treating the real problem.

While it's often perceived that the chiropractor is solely here to treat back and neck pain, this is simply a small piece of what the profession really is capable of handling. Chiropractors not only treat soft and hard tissue problems such as sciatica and joint pain, but are largely called on to deal with more significant issues. Some of these issues include fibromyalgia, allergies, insomnia, headaches and many more.

What is a chiropractic adjustment? Is it safe?

Adjustments, or manipulation as they're sometimes referred to is the minor movement of vertebrae in the spine. The objective of this movement is to realign vertebrae that have moved out of place for a number of reasons ranging from normal daily activity to trauma such as a car accident.

When these vertebrae are out of place, it has an overall systemic effect from muscular to the central nervous system. Without proper alignment and flow of all nerves and systems in the body from the brain, we can't function at our peak.

An adjustment is often a pressure from the chiropractor utilizing the hands or an instrument to move a vertebrae back into place. This happens with a quick movement and is often without discomfort. You may hear a noise that sounds like you're cracking your knuckles referred to as joint cavitation. It is the release of gases such as oxygen and nitrogen from the joint.

What can I expect from my visit to a chiropractor?

Going to the Chiropractor is a new experience for many of us. Maybe we've heard through a friend or have done some research online. It's possible that you are just fed up with living in pain and it's time to do something about it. In either case, your first visit to the chiropractor will really be about getting to know the chiropractor and discussing your history, current condition and goals.

What results can I expect from treatment?

Chiropractic is based on the idea of removing imbalances both structural and postural in an effort to allow our body to heal itself. For this to happen the network of nerves and signals from your brain, down your spinal cord, to the network of nerves must be allowed to flow freely without any interruption. Chiropractors have the ability and skill to remove these interruptions or misalignments and allow the body to perform as it was meant to.

If you've ever been in a car accident, played a sport, fell down or just bumped into something too hard, it's very possible that you are not functioning at your best due to a misalignment. While there are many potential mechanical or structural causes for misalignment, there are also chemical reasons. For instance, if you smoke or drink excessively or even just have a poor diet, the chemical issues in your body can eventually cause underlying conditions and disease to appear.

Allowing a chiropractor to get you back on track both chemically and structurally will bring your body back to the proper state it should be in to perform at its peak.

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