general questions


  • What conditions do chiropractors treat?
  • How do I select a doctor of chiropractic?
  • Does chiropractic treatment require a referral from an MD?
  • Are chiropractors allowed to practice in hospitals or use medical outpatient facilities?
  • Do insurance plans cover chiropractic?
  • What type of education and training do chiropractors have?
  • How is a chiropractic adjustment performed?
  • Is chiropractic treatment ongoing?
  • Why is there a popping sound when a joint is adjusted?
  • What Is a spinal adjustment?
  • When should spinal adjustments be given?
  • What do spinal adjustments do?
  • The non-spinal adjustment
Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) care for patients of all ages, with a variety of health conditions. DCs are especially well known for their expertise in caring for patients with back pain, neck pain, and headaches; particularly with their highly skilled manipulations or chiropractic adjustments. They also care for patients with a wide range of injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, involving the muscles, ligaments and joints. These painful conditions often involve or impact the nervous system, which can cause referred pain and dysfunction distant to the region of injury. The benefits of chiropractic care extend to general health issues, as well, since our body structure affects our overall function. DCs also counsel patients on diet, nutrition, exercise, healthy habits, and occupational and lifestyle modification.
One of the best ways to select a doctor of chiropractic (DC) is by getting a referral from a friend, family member, colleague, another health care provider or state chiropractic association.
A referral is usually not needed to see a doctor of chiropractic (DC); however, your health plan may have specific referral requirements. You may want to contact your employer's human resources department, or the insurance plan directly to find out if there are any referral requirements. Most plans allow you to just call and schedule an appointment with a DC.
Chiropractors are being recognized to admit and treat patients in hospitals and to use outpatient clinical facilities (such as labs, x-rays, etc.) for their non-hospitalized patients. Hospital privileges were first granted in 1983.
Yes. Chiropractic care is included in most health insurance plans, including major medical plans, workers’ compensation, Medicare, some Medicaid plans, and Blue Cross Blue Shield plans for federal employees, among others. Chiropractic care is also available to active-duty members of the armed forces at more than 60 military bases and is available to veterans at 36 major veteran’s medical facilities.
Doctors of chiropractic are educated as primary-contact health care providers, with an emphasis on diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to the musculoskeletal system (the muscles, ligaments and joints of the spine and extremities) and the nerves that supply them. Educational requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions.

The typical applicant for chiropractic college has already acquired nearly four years of pre-medical undergraduate college education, including courses in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, psychology and related lab work. Once accepted into an accredited chiropractic college, the requirements become even more demanding - four to five academic years of professional study are the standard. Doctors of chiropractic are educated in orthopedics, neurology, physiology, human anatomy, clinical diagnosis including laboratory procedures, diagnostic imaging, exercise, nutrition rehabilitation and more.

Because chiropractic care includes highly skilled manipulation/adjusting techniques, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical technique training to master these important manipulative procedures.

In total, the chiropractic college curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience. The course of study is approved by an accrediting agency that is fully recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation is a manual procedure that utilizes the highly refined skills developed during the doctor of chiropractic's intensive years of chiropractic education. The chiropractic physician typically uses his or her hands, or an instrument, to manipulate the joints of the body, particularly the spine, in order to restore or enhance joint function. This often helps resolve joint inflammation and reduces the patient's pain. Chiropractic manipulation is a highly controlled procedure that rarely causes discomfort. The chiropractor adapts the procedure to meet the specific needs of each patient. Patients often note positive changes in their symptoms immediately following treatment.
The hands-on nature of the chiropractic treatment is essentially what requires patients to visit the chiropractor a number of times. To be treated by a chiropractor, a patient needs to be in his or her office. In contrast, a course of treatment from medical doctors often involves a pre-established plan that is conducted at home (i.e. taking a course of antibiotics once a day for a couple of weeks). A chiropractor may provide acute, chronic, and/or preventive care thus making a certain number of visits sometimes necessary. Your doctor of chiropractic should tell you the extent of treatment recommended and how long you can expect it to last.
Adjustment (or manipulation) of a joint may result in the release of a gas bubble between the joints, which makes a popping sound. The same thing occurs when you "crack" your knuckles. The noise is caused by the change of pressure within the joint, which results in gas bubbles being released. There is usually minimal, if any, discomfort involved.
In basic terms, the spinal adjustment or spinal manipulation refers to the process in which the doctor of chiropractic skillfully applies controlled force into one or more "subluxated" vertebrae of the spine. The adjustment is also frequently used in the pelvic region to normalize the sacroiliac joints. The adjustment is usually delivered using the hands or through the use of a specialized mechanical tool.
Spinal adjustments are applied to certain vertebrae of the spine which are no longer in their proper position or where functioning has become impaired. Vertebrae which lose their normal position or proper motion are commonly termed vertebral subluxations. The chiropractor uses a number of unique tests and procedures to determine which, if any, vertebrae are subluxated. If subluxations are found, immediate correction is generally indicated. Since like cavities subluxations are not always painful during the initial stages, even those who are not experiencing back or neck discomfort should receive periodic spinal checkups.
Adjusting helps correct vertebral subluxations. Correcting subluxations reduces pain and inflammation, reduces muscle spasm and tension, normalizes spinal biomechanics and more importantly, can remove nerve irritation and interference which can improve overall health and wellness of the individual. Chiropractic adjustments are the only way to eliminate vertebral subluxations and only the chiropractor is trained to detect subluxations and deliver the chiropractic spinal adjustment to correct subluxations.
In addition to adjusting the spine and pelvis, almost every other joint of the body can be adjusted by the chiropractor. This includes the joints of the hands and feet, wrists and ankles, elbows and knees, shoulders and hips, ribs and the jaw. In fact, some chiropractors are even trained in techniques to adjust the joints (sutures) of the skull.

Like the joints of the spine, joints in the extremities can also become misaligned and fixated. Chiropractic adjustive techniques can restore and enhance extremity joint functioning that can increase the life of the joint and keep wear and tear to a minimum. This is of special interest to athletes who generally demand optimal joint performance from highly stressed joints. Adjusting provides an immediate increase in joint range of motion and also supplies the joint with nutrients, as motion is the only way to bring nutrients into the joint cartilage and flush wastes products out.
Chiropractic, Newark, NJ

Frequently Asked Questions


What is chiropractic care?

Chiropractic care is a health care profession based on interactions of the spine and nervous system, as well as the surrounding muscles.

Are chiropractors doctors?

Yes. Doctors of Chiropractic (also known as chiropractors) are not medical doctors, but go through a similar education process to become licensed in the field of chiropractic care. In fact, educational requirements for chiropractors are among the most stringent of any health care profession.

What types of pain do chiropractors treat?

Chiropractors are known for their expertise in caring for patients with back pain, neck pain, and headaches. They also treat sports injuries and other disorders involving muscles, ligaments and joints. The benefits of chiropractic care go beyond this and extend into general health as our core body structure affects overall function and health.

What is a chiropractic adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a specific, controlled force in a precise direction that is applied to a spinal joint not moving properly or “locked up.” The purpose of this natural and safe procedure is to correct structural alignment and eliminate interference in the nervous system. For the patient, this means improved spinal function, reduction in pain, and an overall improvement in health and wellness.

Do adjustments hurt?

Chiropractic manipulation is a highly controlled procedure that rarely causes discomfort because minimal force and gentle pressure are used. In fact, most patients feel relief immediately following treatment. Any reported soreness after an initial adjustment has been described as similar to that associated with starting a new exercise program. Drinking plenty of water, using an ice pack, and engaging in light stretching after your first visit can help ease any discomfort promote healing.

Are adjustments safe?

Chiropractic care is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of most back and neck problems. Spinal adjustments are extremely safe when performed by a licensed chiropractor.

Are all patients adjusted the same way?

Each patient’s care is unique and therefore customized to meet their specific condition and needs. Your chiropractor will modify adjustments based on your size, weight, age and health condition.

Will a chiropractic adjustment completely remove back pain?

For many, back pain can become chronic if left untreated. Chiropractic care has been shown to ease and even eliminate back pain for many patients.

Can I see a chiropractor if I am pregnant?

Many pregnant women find that chiropractic adjustments improve the pregnancy experience and make delivery easier. Adjustments are adapted to accommodate the stage of pregnancy and the unique needs of each patient.

Is back pain common?

More than 80 percent of people experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. In fact, it is one of the most reported reasons people miss work and is the second most frequent reason patients visit the doctor.

Will I be required to remove my clothing at my appointment?

Some procedures may require you to remove some pieces of clothing, however most do not. If you have any questions or concerns, bring them up immediately with your chiropractor.

Can I learn to adjust myself?

Chiropractors are trained to adjust in a very specific location and direction. As a result, it is virtually impossible to adjust oneself correctly and accurately.

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