Q: My sister went to a chiropractor for the first time. She was really confused by the terms being used and did not know what she was supposed to be asking for. In the end she was asked to sign up for one year of treatment and pay for it all that day. Can you help us to understand how to better understand the use of chiropractic?

A: When you’re visiting your chiropractor you may hear terms that you’re not familiar with. As is the case with any of your health care providers, you should feel free to ask questions about anything you don’t understand. Following are some terms you might hear at the office:

  • Subluxation: a partial dislocation of a joint and the term used for the misalignment of a vertebral (spinal) or other joint of the body
  • Manipulation or Adjustment: the technique of applying hand pressure to the spine to correct alignment or motion restriction of vertebrae and eliminate any obstruction a misaligned vertebra may be causing with a nerve that emanates from the spine.
  • Disc: a gelatinous pillow-like element that cushions the vertebrae. A disc can get damaged and cause pain in the spine or arm or leg by compressing spinal nerves
  • Paraspinal muscles: they are the muscles that are next to the spine and help keep it aligned and can become spastic when the joints it moves are dysfunctional
  • Relief care: this is a treatment plan focused at reduction of pain and return of daily activities that were initially affected by and injury or pain
  • Corrective care: in this approach of treatment, the goal of the chiropractor and patient is to attempt to remove mechanical imbalances that create reoccurring problems and pain. It takes longer than pain relief because the focus is to attempt more permanent change of faulty muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints
  • Maintenance care: basically this is preventive chiropractic care, regular visits designed to prevent or reduce the incidence of a problem. This type of care is not typically covered by insurance and is an out of pocket, but reasonable, expense

Remember, ask your chiropractor—or any other health care provider—about the meaning of terms or words you don’t understand. The above are just some that I find commonly need further explanation. Treatment types should be based on your goals – not what your chiropractor thinks your goals should be or on his goals for you. So get on the same page with them early. And remember that some chiropractors practice more like an osteopath or PT while others have philosophical practices that more resemble a faith healer or energy healer. Neither is right or wrong in general, but are very different and one or the other may not be what you are looking for… so ask! If you don’t feel right with the answers, it is ok to talk to another chiropractor and see if they have a better suggestion.

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Voted Best Morgantown Chiropractic Office 2018, 2019, and 2021!

Voted Best Morgantown Chiropractic Office 2018, 2019, and 2021!