The title "DC" stands for "Doctor of Chiropractic".  "Doctor" literally means "teacher".  In keeping true to our title, we educate our patients about their conditions, how to improve their health and how to stay as healthy as possible. 

How well educated are chiropractors?

Candidates for entry into most chiropractic colleges are required to complete a four-year undergraduate program. Ten trimesters of Chiropractic College training (four years) must be completed to graduate. The first eight trimesters are primarily classroom instruction. Courses include human anatomy and dissection, branches of physiology, pharmacology, diagnostic imaging, nutrition, rehabilitation, spinal manipulation and medical patient management strategies. The ninth and tenth trimesters are completed through an internship under the direction of a licensed chiropractor. Upon graduation, most chiropractors enter private practice after successfully passing national and state board examinations.  Residency programs after chiropractic training are optional and include specialties in Orthopedics, Diagnostic Imaging, Clinical Studies, Rehabilitation and Research. A multitude of post-graduate lectures are also offered. 

What is the cracking noise that often occurs with manipulation?

Often when a joint is manipulated, it makes a "popping" sound. There is fluid inside all joints, and within this fluid there are bubbles. When the manipulation is performed, the bubbles pop, producing an audible sound. Although this is not necessary for manipulation to be effective, it is simply the sound of the joint suddenly moving or releasing from its restricted state. 

Are chiropractic adjustments safe?

In general, chiropractic treatments carry a very low risk of complication.  Approximately 25% of patients will experience short-term [24 hours] or local soreness following the initial adjustment.   This may represent short term muscle tension or low-grade inflammation from the treatment. The risk of serious, irreversible complication is rare.  Estimates for neck adjustments are between 1 in 400,000 to 1 in 5.85 million.  With regard to the low back, an estimate for serious complication is "1 in many million".  It is important that you discuss any specific concerns with your treating chiropractor prior to receiving treatment. 

Will manipulation hurt?

Most of the time, manipulation is very comfortable. Slight to moderate discomfort has been reported in about 1/3 of patients, with 10% reporting more noticeable discomfort. In the majority of cases, any discomfort that does occur is gone within 24 hours. 

I don't want to be adjusted. Is this a necessary part of the treatment?

Every patient is unique. Chiropractic adjustments are appropriate for certain conditions, but are not absolutely necessary. The signature treatment is the education you will receive about the spectrum of treatment options that are recommended for you. We utilize a number of different treatment modalities, and will select those which are specific to your condition. 

What types of problems do chiropractors treat?

Chiropractors are neuromusculoskeletal specialists.  Therefore, any disorder that involves joints, muscles, discs or nerves can potentially be appropriately addressed by a chiropractor. This includes:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Sciatica
  • Pregnancy-related low back or leg pain
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Work-related injuries
  • Shoulder, arm and leg pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Muscle tightness, weakness or imbalance
  • Numbness and tingling

How long is the typical visit?

Usually 30 to 60 minutes. 

How long does it usually take to get better from a back pain episode?

About 80% of people with lower back pain are 80% better within 2-4 weeks. 

If my M.R.I. shows a herniated disc can you help me?

Herniated discs are very common. It has been found that they are present in people who have no symptoms - even 20 year olds! Experts now say that spinal changes such as herniated discs and arthritis are related to age (like graying hair or wrinkling skin) not symptoms. It appears that the difference between a person with a herniated disc who has no symptoms and one who has symptoms has to do with how their body is coping or stabilizing their back. We specialize in enhancing your functional ability to stabilize your back so that the disc bulge is not as relevant. 

Can you help with a pinched nerve?

Yes. Pinched nerves in the neck or low back cause arm or leg symptoms such as numbness, tingling or weakness. We will perform the necessary examination to diagnose this condition. The first line of treatment includes ergonomic or lifting advice, physical therapy, and exercise. Often anti-inflammatory medicine prescribed by your medical physician is important too. About 20% of the time pinched nerve symptoms worsen in the first month or fail to resolve over a 1 to 3 month period. Such cases require additional testing such as with an M.R.I. and more invasive treatments such as epidural injections or surgery. We will make appropriate referrals in these instances.

 

Dr. Robert J. Reier
Dr. Robert J. Reier is a graduate of Loyola College in Baltimore. After completing his undergraduate studies, he attended and received his doctoral degree from The National College of Chiropractic, located in Lombard, Illinois.

Read more about Dr. Robert J. Reier

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