Frequently Asked Questions

How is an adjustment performed?

A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a joint that is fixed, “locked up”, or not moving properly. This adds motion to the joint, helping the bones gradually return to a more normal position and motion. The purpose of this safe and natural procedure is improved spinal function, nervous system function and health. There are many ways to adjust the spine. Usually, the doctor’s hands or specially designed instruments deliver a brief and highly accurate thrust. Some adjusting methods are quick, whereas others require a slow and constant pressure.


Is chiropractic care safe?

Chiropractic care is safer than back surgery, muscle relaxers and even common aspirin! Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of neuro musculoskeletal complaints. Chiropractic has an excellent safety record. Although chiropractic has an excellent safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects.


Does it hurt?

Many patients feel immediate relief following chiropractic treatment, but some may experience mild soreness or aching, just as they do after some forms of exercise. Minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours.


Are all the patients adjusted the same way?

Regardless of the adjusting technique, chiropractic care is tailored to each patient’s age, condition and spinal problem. The doctor evaluates each patient’s unique spinal problem and develops an individual course of care. Some patients who complain of headaches may actually have a lower back problem that is causing a compensation reaction at the base of the skull. Other patients may be experiencing numbness and tingling in their fingers, when the actual problem is in the neck. Every patient presents a uniquely different spinal pattern.


What is that “crack” noise?

The crack heard commonly with chiropractic adjustment is not from the bone. The joints between your bones are lined with cartilage, this cartilage allows you to move your bones around smoothly and without irritation to the bones. The cartilage however needs a “lubricant” so it will not wear out. This lubricant is a clear fluid that is in all your joints. This is what swells up when you injure a joint like your knee or ankle. Therefore, when a chiropractor adjusts a joint, he/she momentarily separates the joint and pulls some gas from the fluid, and that little gas bubble then pops. This is the exact same kind of “pop” or “crack” when you crack your knuckles.


Do I have a pinched nerve?

Many patients consult a chiropractic physician because they think they have a pinched nerve. Because of the way your spine is designed, abnormal spinal function caused from physical trauma, emotional tensions, or chemical toxins can affect the delicate tissues of the spinal cord and nerve roots. This can result in numbness, burning, or a “pins and needles” feeling. While commonly associated with the spine, the pinched nerve (compressed lesion) is actually rare. Researchers suggest that only 10% to 15% of spine related problems are caused by direct pressure of bone on nerve tissue. More frequently, nerves are irritated (facilitative lesion). This is caused when nerve tissue is rubbed, scraped, stretched, or twisted by a loss of spinal curve, or irritated by malfunctioning spinal joints


Do I have a slipped disc?

Technically, a disc can’t “slip”. The intervertebral disc is a pad of cartilage-type material situated between spinal bones. Each disc serves as a connector, spacer, and shock absorber for the spine. A soft, jelly-like center is contained by outer layers of fibrous tissue. Healthy discs help allow normal turning and bending. Because of the way each disc is attached to the vertebrae above and below, a disc cannot “slip”. Trauma or injury to the spine, however, can cause discs to tear, bulge, herniate, or worse, rupture. This can be quite painful, as the soft center of the disc leaks, putting pressure on the adjacent nerve roots and spinal cord.


Can I adjust myself?

You cannot effectively adjust yourself. Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force, applied in a specific direction, to a specific spinal joint, it is virtually impossible to adjust oneself.


Can I speed the healing process?

While there aren’t any shortcuts to speed your body’s natural healing process, there’s a lot you can do to give yourself the best chance of a quick recovery. Learn proper sitting and lifting methods. Specific exercises may be suggested to help retrain the muscles that support your spine. Proper rest and nutrition are important aspect of the healing process, too. Make sure you get balanced meals, and if you’re overweight, now would be a good time to slim down and reduce unnecessary stresses to your spine. Perhaps most important of all, keep you appointments and follow your chiropractic doctor’s recommendations for optimum results.


Can I just get adjusted once and be all done?

When chiropractors adjust, there is more to the vertebral subluxation complex than just bones. The vertebrae in your back are supposed to move freely in all directions. There should not be any irritation in the small pain sensitive facet joint that are up and down the spine. However, trauma or other injuries may occur that prohibit the spine from moving correctly. Usually the bone is never the only thing which needs to be fixed. Other causes of irritation occur in the muscles, ligaments, nerves, tendons, and other surrounding soft tissues. Sufficient time is necessary for your body to begin the healing process and repeated adjustment help by decreasing muscle spasm and increasing joint mobility.


Do I need periodic Check-ups?

Periodic chiropractic checkups, like brushing and flossing, getting regular exercise, and eating wholesome foods is part of a healthy lifestyle. Spinal problems, neglected since early childhood, may require ongoing supportive care for optimum spinal function. These long-standing problems are often associated with muscle weakness, soft tissue damage, and degenerative changes to the spine. Most patients find that periodic chiropractic checkups help keep them in tip-top shape. Those who are active, have stressful jobs, or want to be their very best, find that a schedule of preventive visits is helpful in the maintenance of good health. Some patients seek chiropractic care only when their ache or pain becomes unbearable. While this style of “crisis management” is usually more costly and time-consuming, our office stands ready to help all patients, regardless of their health goals.


Is chiropractic treatment appropriate for children?

Yes, children are very physically active and experience many types of falls and blows from activities of daily living as well as from participating in sports. Adolescent scoliosis and many other conditions are treated as well. Many childhood health complaints that are brushed off as “growing pains” can often be traced to the spine. Regular chiropractic checkups can identify these problems and help avoid many of the health complaints seen later in adults. Naturally, chiropractic adjusting procedures are modified to a child’s spine. Most parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and seem healthier than other children.


Am I too old for chiropractic care?

More and more people are consulting chiropractic doctors, especially in their later years. With growing concerns about over-medication and the side effects of combining various prescription drugs, safe, natural chiropractic care is growing in popularity. Restoring better spinal function can help improve mobility, vitality, endurance and appetite. Many patients report improvement with arthritic symptoms and other chronic ailments often associated with the aging process.


Does chiropractic treatment require a referral from an MD?

No, a patient does not need referral by an MD before visiting a doctor of chiropractic. Chiropractors are first contact physicians.


Do insurance plans cover chiropractic?

Yes, they do. The majority of insurance carriers cover chiropractic services in their health care plans. In addition, there is a chiropractic benefit in Federal Workers’ Compensation, and members of the armed forces. If you were injured at work or in car accident, you are free to visit a chiropractor and if you qualify, the treatment will be at no cost to you.


Contact Us

Our Location

2611 N. Stevens St Tacoma, WA, 98407

Spine Illustration


Learn how we can help with your pain