Chiropractic Myths/Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is Chiropractic and can it help me?
Chiropractic is a healing art and science that asserts disease stems from the inability of the nervous system to maintian a healthy functioning body due to misalignments in the skeletal structure producing pressure on the adjacent nerves. Chiropractic is also a drug-free and non-invasive (non-surgical) form of correcting back problems and many other related conditions. Basically, chiropractors are pinched nerve specialists.
Chiropractors are trained and licensed to treat the spine without the use of medications. The types of conditions that may respond to chiropractic care are numerous and include the most common ailments in our society such as low-back pain, headache, migraines, and muscle strains, just to mention a few. Basically, any condition that could benefit from restoring the proper nerve transmission to the affected area could benefit from chiropractic care.
So, will all conditions respond to this type of treatment? Simply put, no. If you have a broken arm, you need an orthopedist. If you have a damaged organ that could be beyond natural repair or a malignancy, you need a medical specialist to address those problems. The good news is that chiropractors spend more time being trained in x-ray and general diagnosis than general medical practitioners. If you have a condition that cannot be helped with chiropractic, chiropractors can detect such conditions and refer you out to the proper specialist.
At Blue Ridge Family Chiropractic, we enjoy treating severe herniated disc/pinched nerve cases, degenerative disc disease, Fibromyalgia and allergy-related cases with Gonstead Chiropractic and N.A.E.T. (Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique).
Q. What level education is required to become a Doctor of Chiropractic?
Chiropractors complete the same two year pre-med requirements as medical doctors. They then attend an accredited college of chiropractic for four years where each chiropractic student receives a total of over 4,000 hours of instruction in the field of health sciences. Chiropractors receive instruction in human anatomy (the study of the parts of the human body) physiology (the study of how the organs in the body work) biochemistry and nutrition, as well as extensive training in radiology (take and diagnose x-ray) as well as chiropractic technique, physical therapy and diagnosis of disease.
Compare a chiropractor's education to a medical doctor's:
In addition, each chiropractic student is required to perform a clinical internship program as a student-doctor within an approved chiropractic college clinic. A chiropractor must also successfully pass a National Board examination before graduating and a State Board of Chiropractic examination before he or she can become a licensed practitioner.
Before attending chiropractic college, Dr. Levesque received a Bachelor of Science degree from Old Dominion University. He then graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic (located in the birthplace of chiropractic and the first chiropractic school) in 1996. He also did an extra internship before graduating with Dr. Charley Ward, D.C. in Elizabethton, TN. He also does continuing education with the Gonstead Seminar of Chiropractic and has over 700 total seminar hours.
Q. Are different types of chiropractic treatment available?
Yes. In fact, there are numerous. Chiropractor's refer to these different ways to apply a chiropractic adjustment (the moving of a vertebra to relieve pressure on a nerve) as "Techniques." Most of these techniques rely on the direct physical application of a directed force into the troubled area of the spine to get the vertebra to slightly change position. There are other techniques that rely on the stimulation of different muscle sites to help influence a better alignment of the misaligned vertebra (bones that make up the spine) or that use tractioning (mild pulling) to relieve pressure on the spine and improve alignment of the vertebra.
Dr. Levesque mainly uses a technique called Gonstead for extremely accurate and effective treatment of herniated discs, pinched nerves and other complicated spinal problems. Gonstead procedures are the result of extensive clinical research by Dr. Clarence S.Gonstead, founder of the world famous Gonstead Clinic of Chiropractic in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin and his associates.
Doctor Gonstead’s fifty-five years of continuous practice and over four million chiropractic adjustments resulted in the most complete method of biomechanical analysis available for use by today’s doctors of chiropractic. So why don’t all chiropractors use this technique? Because the analysis takes more time and mastering the art of delivering a specific adjustment takes a LOT of practice and dedication.
Dr. Levesque also practices a technique called N.A.E.T. (Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique). This method of treatment focuses on eliminating allergies and boasts nearly permanent correction to allergies of all types and intensities. The treatment is painless, easy to go through and completely natural and is used at Blue Ridge Family Chiropractic on patients of all ages.
Q. Are there chiropractors who specialize?
Yes, some chiropractors do specialize but many choose to be general practitioners and simply add a specialty to broaden their practice. For instance, some chiropractors love to care for children and may take special certified courses to become chiropractic pediatricians. There are similar programs in chiropractic for radiology (advanced X-ray diagnosis) orthopedics (advanced bone and joint studies) neurology (advanced neurological studies) nutrition, and sports injury.
Chiropractic colleges train students to become proficient with multiple chiropractic techniques to offer numerous options for a wide range of care scenarios. If the student wants to specialize, they can seek out further education. Dr. Levesque decided he would rather be a master of one, rather than a 'jack of all trades' and a master of none; so he specialized in the Gonstead Method early in his career. After being in practice for 3 years, he learned N.A.E.T. as requested by one of his patients seeking help for her allergies.
Q. Will x-rays be necessary?
X-rays are taken because pictures of the spine help your doctor determine your diagnosis. X-rays have also helped doctors find other very serious problems such as diseases of the spine (or contraindications to treatment) that could be missed without them. They also give clues as to what to expect in the amount of treatment that may be needed and even the type of treatment that may be best for you. In fact, the way the vertebra (bones of the spine) have formed, can have a significant impact on your treatment. The only way this important information can be gathered, is by x-rays.
As a Gonstead chiropractor, Dr. Levesque uses x-rays to also ensure the most accurate correction of your spine possible. At Blue Ridge Family Chiropractic, we take full-spine, weight bearing, standing x-rays to best analyze the mechanics of your spine. Fortunately, modern x-ray technology has greatly reduced the exposure of radiation a patient now receives during an x-ray exam. We do not however, routinely take x-rays of children or babies and we never take x-rays of females suspecting pregnancy.
We find in most cases, the more accurate the correction is to a spinal problem, the faster and more completely the patient gets better. Seeing your spine on an x-ray allows us to become extremely precise with our treatments, Gonstead Chiropractic Adjustments.
Q. Does chiropractic treatment hurt? What does an 'adjustment' feel like?
Let's answer the second part of that question first. Will an adjustment hurt? Most often, the answer a patient would give is no. In fact, many patients relate a strong feeling of relief when an adjustment is made. There are some cases, such as ones that are very acute or involve arthritic joints, where an adjustment may cause initial discomfort. Sometimes we recommend ice prior to or after an adjustment in these cases. This helps any discomfort to dissipate and also helps the adjustment to work better by reducing the inflammation in the joint.
The Gonstead Chiropractic Adjustment is a gentle procedure meant to specifically re-align segments of your spine. The 'adjustment' is what a chiropractic treatment is called. The Gonstead chiropractic adjustment is made with your doctor's hands directly on your spine. After a careful study of your x-rays and consideration of your symptoms and current health condition, a position is chosen to recieve the adjustment using specific equipment in the doctor's office. A slight pressure is applied to a precise location in your spine and a light, gentle thrust is made to correct your spine. It feels as if you've 'popped' one of your knuckles.
In most cases, there is significant relief within the next several days if not immediately. For more information about what our treatments feel like, visit our 'Your First Visit' page on www.blueridgefamilychiropractic.net.
Q. Is chiropractic expensive?
In most cases, it generally takes a series of Gonstead Chiropractic adjustments or N.A.E.T. allergy elimination treatments to find relief or correct your problem. At Blue Ridge Family Chiropractic & Diagnostics, we charge by the visit, so the more treatments you need, the more expensive your care. Most of our chiropractic patients (pinched nerve cases) are doing a lot better within 3-10 treatments. Generally, our allergy elimination patients take more treatments, however this is very case-dependant.
Compared to medical care, the costs of diagnostic tests and treatment are much lower with chiropractic care. Over the long run, chiropractic care is much more cost-effective than medical care for the family budget. At our clinic, we allow patients to make payments, offer reasonable and affordable payment plans and are glad to work with your insurance policies. Our fees and payment plans are also affordable to those who do not have insurance. At Blue Ridge Family Chiropractic, we have made it a point to make our care affordable to everyone regardless of income level.