What is chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a holistic and vitalistic method of health care based on the principle that your body has an innate ability to heal, as long as there is nothing in the way. Much like you wouldn’t go to the hospital for a paper cut, chiropractors believe that as long as there is no interference, there are many other aches, pains, injuries, and disorders that can resolve without the use of drugs or surgery. Chiropractors work to make sure that the nervous system is functioning at 100% of it’s potential by removing subluxations – misalignments of the spinal bones and their surrounding tissues – so that you have the best opportunity to heal and express life at it’s fullest potential.
I thought chiropractic was just for neck pain and back pain…
Most people do, but it is so much more than that! The first thing to remember is that even though chiropractors move bones and work with muscles and ligaments, they are really just using them as tools to help the nervous system function better. Since we can’t touch the brain and nerves directly (and you probably wouldn’t want us too anyway!), we use these indirect methods to make big changes in your whole body. It is actually the nerves and brain that tell you about pain, so by stopping these pain receptors from being irritated, you feel better. But what many don’t know is that not all of the nerve is responsible for telling you about pain. The other parts of the nerve that don’t feel pain control your muscles, organs, and spacial awareness. So why would only the pain-sensitive portion be affected? It’s important to know that there are plenty of other signs aside from pain that are clues that your spine and nerves need a chiropractor…and just as important to know that more than muscles pain and headaches can improve after you are under care!
How did my spine get this way?
Years of wear and tear, poor posture, car accidents, sports, trips and falls all add up over time – not to mention stress, poor diet, and an unhealthy environment adding up, too. Maybe you sprained an ankle as a teenager and then spent time favoring that ankle when you walked. Years later your opposite knee and hip become a problem, all because of altered biomechanics. It’s important to remember that most of your problems did not actually arise over night from sleeping wrong or from bending over to pick up the newspaper. These issues are typically “the straw that broke the camel’s back” – something that had been coming on over time that you were able to ignore until pain was the final symptom…and the one people tend to do something about!
It says on your website that you adjust babies and kids – why would they need chiropractic care?
Have you been through the birth process lately? While the end result is often a joyous occasion, it is still a traumatic experience for mom and baby. A lot of force goes in to delivering a child in the average birth, so it is important to check their tiny spines for misalignments early on so they don’t enter into a lifetime of forming those compensatory patterns from day one. After birth, your child will be learning to roll, crawl, walk, and run. They are going to slip and fall and bump their heads. We like to stay with your growing child to handle each issue as it comes, so that they don’t end up with all those back pains, neck pains, and headaches that their parents have down the line!
What about my child with a sensory processing concern, ADD/ADHD, or autism spectrum disorder?
Remembering that chiropractic is looking at the nervous system and it’s ability to function fully is key when considering care for your child. Dr. Pamela Woodward has extensive training with the International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association and worked with ICPA Diplomate Dr. Drew Rubin to learn many extra techniques and methods for working with children that may need a little bit more nuanced approach to care. Every patient, including those with special needs, is treated as an individual even if that means extra time, research, or unconventional approaches to adjusting. Sometimes that means adjusting the patient in a different room or while playing with toys; other times it means that mom or dad may need to lay down with them for the adjustment – whatever works, we will do! Commitment from both the family and the doctor can have amazing results. We thank you in advance for adding us to your child’s team.
Is it safe for children and pregnant women to be adjusted?
Absolutely! Dr. Pam has many different techniques that she can utilize based on patient need and preference. They range from manual diversified adjusting to instrument-based adjusting to an array of non- and low-force techniques such as Sacro-Occipital Technique and Network. In children, we always opt for the gentlest approach possible so as not to overwhelm their tiny nervous systems – or their parents! In pregnant women, we are able to use pillows and adjustable tables to allow them to lay comfortably face-down. Dr. Pam is even known to let her patients just lay and relax for a bit before the baby arrives – which her 8-months-pregnant patients really appreciate!
I really don’t liked to have my neck “cracked” – can I still get chiropractic care?
Firstly, eggs get “cracked” – people get adjusted! And secondly, of course you can! Dr. Pam uses Activator technique on the majority of her patients. This is a method of adjusting that uses a small instrument to move the bone instead of the hands. The only sound you’ll hear is the click of the instrument. Alternately, some of her tables have drop pieces which allow another method of adjusting the spine without the typical rotational positioning of the neck or back.
What is that popping sound anyway?
That sound is called a cavitation. It occurs when the joint spaces between to bones are quickly opened just a small amount. This causes a quick change in pressure in the joint (hopefully you all remember your high school chemistry!) which causes the fluid in the joint space to change from a liquid to a gas. What you hear is the gas bubble forming and popping! Sometimes a cavitation will happen during an adjustment, sometimes it won’t – Dr. Pam has plenty of other ways of making sure the necessary structures were affected by the adjustment, so don’t get hung up on the sound effects!
How do I know if chiropractic is right for me?
When you come in to the office, Dr. Pam is happy to have consultation with you, free of charge, before you decide you would like to come under care. You will be able to discuss your condition and voice any concerns you may have or provide Dr. Pam with any other reports/opinions from additional health care providers. Once you decide you would like to proceed with care, Dr. Pam will take a thorough history and perform a full physical, orthopedic, and chiropractic exam. If there are any concerns following that exam, Dr. Pam may refer you out for x-rays or other imaging studies to rule out non-chiropractic conditions. After all of the results are compiled, the doctor will discuss her findings with you and recommend a plan of action. Based on that plan you can choose to whether to move forward with your adjustment. Dr. Pam is always willing to co-manage with other practitioners and encourages you to have a team of providers with your health at heart!
Does insurance cover chiropractic?
This is a surprisingly complicated question. The best answer is “sometimes”. It depends on your individual plan and whether you have in and/or out of network benefits. First Step Chiropractic is in network with Care First Blue Cross Blue Shield. If you have another insurance company, you may still be partially covered. As a courtesy, we will verify your insurance benefits for chiropractic/physical therapy, but we encourage you to follow up with your insurance company to be sure of your coverage.
I don’t have insurance/I have a high deductible/I ran out of coverage – can I still be seen in office?
Yes! In addition to paying insurance fees out of pocket, First Step Chiropractic participates with the Preferred Chiropractic Doctor program which allows us to offer patients reduced fees for care if they are paying out of pocket. This is a great option for families with high copays/coinsurance that are looking to get everyone under care. Dr. Pam will discuss all of your financial options and obligations on your second visit!