What’s up, Doc? Setting the Story Straight on Chiropractors

Although the chiropractic industry generates approximately $15 billion each year, there still seems to be a looming mystery and, sometimes even skepticism, surrounding the practice.

But why is that?

Chiropractors provide a tremendous service and improve the quality of life for tens of millions of men and women each year. In fact, on average, a chiropractor in Delray Beach will treat up to 50 patients in a given day.

Hopefully this combination of history lesson and FAQs will help better define the industry and quell any concerns, doubts and uncertainty that you may have.

When was chiropractic treatment first used?

Daniel David Palmer is considered the founder of chiropractic medicine, and while he had thoughts and concepts in mind, 1896 is the year that the practice was first officially recognized.

The Canadian-born Palmer was a staunch advocate for alternative medicine and believed the human body could, in most cases, heal itself. He was of the mindset that if a particular body part was in pain, it was simply not getting the appropriate amount of nerve supply, caused by a spinal misalignment. Palmer believed that adjusting the spine would restore the nerve supply to the affected body part(s) and reduce or eliminate the pain.

There are a couple variations to the story about how Palmer first enacted his theory, but they all center around a man named Harvey Lillard who was Palmer’s co-worker in Davenport, Iowa. As the story goes, Lillard was janitor in Palmer’s office building and he had back pain as well as hearing loss. Palmer have Lillard a spinal adjustment and, as it has been told, his back pain was diminished and his hearing was restored.

Palmer not only began practicing shortly thereafter but proceeded to open a chiropractic school. The rest, as they say, is history.

Although Palmer died in 1913 at the age of 68, there are now more than 70,000 chiropractors practicing in the U.S., alone, today.

What is the education and training process for becoming a chiropractor? Although a medical degree is not required to be a chiropractor, it takes a tremendous amount of medical knowledge, training and certification to become licensed.

The first requirement is to earn a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree from an accredited chiropractic college, which typically takes four years. Students will already have graduated, or are actively pursuing a degree, from a traditional college or university and will have likely focused in areas such as biology, chemistry and physics. A minimum of three years of undergraduate education is required for admission.

Chiropractic college topics of study include, but are not limited to, anatomy, nutrition, orthopedics, physiology, exercise, diagnostic imaging and neurology. This provides the necessary expertise is both the body’s musculoskeletal and nervous systems.

Students will also participate in extensive clinical technique and lab studies, including a great deal of hands-on experience. By the time a D.C. degree is issued, students will have successfully completed more than 4,000 of education and training.

Upon receiving a D.C. degree, aspiring chiropractors must then apply for and receive a state license in order to practice.

Do you need a referral to see a chiropractor? No, a referral from a medical doctor is not necessary for individuals seeking chiropractic care. However, since chiropractic care is covered by most health insurance plans, your provider may require a referral in order to authorize payment. They typically do not, but some providers to have a referral policy in place for all types of non-primary-care treatment, so it would be smart to check with your insurance company before visiting a chiropractor Delray Beach just to be sure.

Why do some people have dismissive attitudes toward chiropractors? While it’s true that many people scoff at the effectiveness of chiropractors and their techniques, the percentage of the population that feels this way is greatly overblown. In fact, the same argument can be made regarding professionals in every industry. For example, how often do we hear criticisms about mechanics? Waiters and waitresses? Politicians? Lawyers? Even actors, singers and other entertainers are regularly ridiculed.

The point is, scrutiny and question marks swirl around professionals in every industry. For chiropractors, the strongest contributing factors are likely the fact that chiropractors don’t have medical degrees and that alignment techniques don’t work for every back and neck issue.

Let’s take a closer look at these two attitudes.

While it’s true that chiropractors do not have medical degrees, their knowledge and training of spinal cord, back and neck is tremendous. Through schooling and training alone, they have spent a minimum of 4,200 hours preparing for this career, and are certainly qualified to analyze, diagnose and treat a variety of health- and pain-related issues. In fact, despite not being licensed medical doctors, it is not uncommon to see chiropractors in Delray Beach practicing in hospitals and other traditional medical facilities, nor is it rare to see medical doctors refer patients to chiropractors. True medical doctors see the importance and value of chiropractors, as do the more than 30 million Americans who visit them each year. You may have doubts, but that doesn’t mean they’re accurate.

As for chiropractors not being able to treat “every” back or neck issue, that’s true. But they also never claimed to be able to. There are some issues that can be treated by a spinal alignment and other chiropractic techniques, and there are some that aren’t. A good chiropractor Delray Beach will be upfront with you about that and will accurately assess your needs and determine whether or not they can help you.

What, exactly, is a chiropractic treatment? A chiropractors will use different techniques based on a patient’s specific issue. The broadest and most general explanation is that a chiropractor Delray Beach will use his or her hands, or a device if necessary, to properly align the spine or manipulate the body’s joints.

The goal of these techniques is to ensure the body is properly aligned, which improves blood flow and nerve function, while also reducing or eliminating inflammation — all of which help rid the body of pain and discomfort.