Chiropractors practice an alternative medicine for musculoskeletal and related areas that involve assessment, diagnosis and treatment methods. Practitioners must undergo training at specialized schools to be certified, and licensing is obtained through state licensing boards. Many health insurance plans cover chiropractic services, and chiropractors carry malpractice insurance, like mainstream medical professionals.

What do they do?

Chiropractors will treat patients through a variety of manipulations meant to align their spine. They use their hands to manipulate the muscles, joints, bones and connective tissue to restore mobility and alleviate pain. During an initial visit, the chiropractor may perform a physical exam and review your health history. They pay attention to patients with lower bone density to apply a gentler treatment. The popping sound commonly identified with joint manipulations is caused by the release of gas bubbles between the joints.

What conditions do they treat?

A chiropractor can treat a number of different ailments, though the most popular treatment is for chronic back pain. If you are constantly on your feet or sit for long periods of time, you may have an improper posture that leads to your spine being misaligned. If you are experiencing joint or muscle pain, a chiropractor could use spinal manipulations to relieve your pain by increasing blood flow and nerve conductivity to the affected joints and muscles. Other conditions include headaches, limited range of motion and sharp, shooting pain in your legs.

When should you go a chiropractor?

If you are experiencing any of the conditions above, you should consider seeking a chiropractor. Also, if you were involved in an accident recently, they may be able to help diagnose and treat a variety of injuries. Any treatments that involve invasive surgery or involve painkillers may have an alternative solution with a chiropractic treatment.

Healthy, active individuals can benefit from a chiropractor

Living an active lifestyle is an overall benefit to your physical and mental well-being. However, working out, playing sports or other physical activity will subject your body to additional stress. This can cause your spine to become misaligned. A chiropractor can offer guidance on nutrition and exercise, as well as techniques to relieve stress.

How often should you see a chiropractor?

The number of visits you will need for chiropractic treatment will vary based on your diagnosis and treatment requirements. Generally speaking, you will probably need to make a number of visits to treat your condition. Follow-up visits will be less frequent for maintenance care. A chiropractor may also prescribe herbal or dietary supplements and exercise as part of your treatment.

Before you see a chiropractor

Consult your doctor prior to visiting a chiropractor. Although you will not likely need a referral, they may have a recommendation for you to consider. Body manipulations may not be the answer for certain conditions, which your doctor will be better equipped to review. Your friends and family may also provide recommendations.

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