Frequently Asked Questions About Chiropractic Care


What is chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a health care profession concerned with the neuro-musculoskeletal system and how disorders of the spine, muscles and nerves affect overall health. Chiropractors treat and help prevent problems of the spine as well as restore joint function and support optimal nervous system function. Chiropractic care uses natural treatments that do not involve medication or surgery to achieve optimal health and function.

Are chiropractic treatments safe?

Yes. Chiropractic care offers one of the safest types of treatment for many disorders of the neuro-musculoskeletal system (that is, the way the spine, nerves and muscles work together for proper functioning of the body). Chiropractic care involves drug-free, non-invasive therapies, thus avoiding many of the potential problems associated with surgery or medication use. Although there are some risks with any type of treatment, the risks associated with chiropractic care are extremely small. The risk of serious complications from chiropractic treatment is estimated to be less than one in 1 million treatments—less than the chance of being killed by a lightning strike—and these adverse effects are generally related to a pre-existing condition. Always give your chiropractor your complete health history, as this information affects the type of treatment you receive.

What is a chiropractic adjustment?

The most common chiropractic treatment is spinal manipulation therapy (SMT), also called chiropractic adjustment. The goal of spinal manipulation is to restore the body to its proper function and mobility. In a chiropractic adjustment, the chiropractor applies a carefully controlled force in a precise direction to a specific joint of the spine that is not moving properly. This helps the joint regain proper motion, enabling the vertebrae to return to a normal position. Chiropractors specialize in a variety of spinal manipulation techniques. Adjustments may be made by the chiropractor's hand or with the aid of a specialized instrument, and they may consist of very quick, accurate thrusts or slow, constant pressure. Spinal manipulation therapy has been shown to improve spinal and nervous system function as well as overall health.

Do chiropractic adjustments hurt?

Chiropractic adjustments do not typically cause discomfort. Patients may feel some pressure during adjustments to certain joints, but this should not be painful. Most patients will feel less pain and more movement, and state that they can “stand up straighter” after a chiropractic adjustment. Some patients experience minor aches, soreness or stiffness in muscles or joints after treatment. These will most likely disappear within a few hours or days. If the area of treatment was injured in the past, this could affect how an adjustment feels, and you may be more likely to be sore. However, the soreness often decreases with further treatments.

Why is there a popping sound during an adjustment?

Sometimes, but not always, there is a popping or cracking sound during an adjustment. This is nothing to worry about. It's just the release of pockets of air that have become trapped in the joints. When the spine is stretched or pushed during an adjustment, it's not unusual for gases to escape from the joints with an audible “pop”—the same effect when you crack your knuckles.

Is it bad to “crack” your own back?

It's not wise to “crack”, or adjust, your own spine, and it's definitely not okay to have a friend or other nonprofessional do it for you. Chiropractors are licensed professionals who are carefully trained to perform spinal adjustments safely. They apply pressure to specific joints in a very precise way. Without training, you cannot adjust yourself accurately or safely. You could cause your spine to become less stable, and you risk injury to joints, ligaments, discs, muscles and nerves. So leave spinal manipulation to the experts!

What type of education and training do chiropractors receive?

In the U.S., Chiropractors are educated in nationally accredited four-year graduate school programs that require a minimum of 4,200 classroom, laboratory and clinical practice hours. Chiropractors receive extensive training in anatomy, physiology, neurology, microbiology, endocrinology, the biomechanics of the body (how joints and muscles move the skeletal system), diagnostic imaging, nutrition, exercise and rehabilitation. They must pass four national board examinations and complete state licensing requirements. The classroom hours required to become a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) are comparable to those needed to become a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO).

Do chiropractors take x-rays?

Chiropractors may use imaging such as x-rays, CT scans and MRIs to aid in diagnosis. It is important to see the internal structure and condition of the spine because certain disorders such as arthritis, bone spurs, disc problems and abnormal development or curvature of the spine (as in scoliosis) can only be properly seen with imaging.

Do chiropractors prescribe medication?

Chiropractors are not licensed to prescribe medication in most U.S. states. The philosophy of chiropractic is to promote wellness through natural techniques that do not require pharmaceuticals. The profession positions itself as a “drug-free, non-surgical science.” Chiropractic aims to avoid the side effects of medications and believes that the human body has the innate ability to heal itself in most instances. The goal of chiropractic care is to target the underlying cause of a problem rather than just medicating the symptoms. Of course, if medication or surgery is necessary in a particular instance, such as for severe pain, chiropractors will work in conjunction with other health care providers to develop the necessary plan of action needed for the well-being of their patients.

Is it okay to see a chiropractor if I'm pregnant?

Chiropractic Care for Pregnancy Pain.

Yes, chiropractic care during pregnancy can benefit both you and your baby. Loosening ligaments and changes to a pregnant woman's posture can put pressure on the pelvis and back, which can result in pain in the lower back, hips and knees. Changes in posture may also lead to a painful inflammation of the sciatic nerve and water retention in the ankles. Regular chiropractic treatment during pregnancy can alleviate the added stress on your spine that comes with pregnancy and weight gain. It can relieve pain in the back, hips and joints, and maintain pelvic balance for an easier pregnancy. Chiropractors are trained to treat pregnant women, and they use special techniques and tables that avoid placing pressure on the abdomen; they can also recommend exercises and stretches that are safe and beneficial during pregnancy.

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "I've been coming to see Dr. Bob since 1984 for my back pain. After each visit, the vast improvement lasts about one whole month. Even after all these years, Dr. Bob continues to provide outstanding care for me, my children, and my grandchildren. I've referred several people to HealthWise Chiropractic, so they too can see the results I have. My favorite part of my visits is the friendliness and professionalism of the staff and doctors and, of course, the results I get that improve my daily living."
    Danny S.
  • "About ten years ago I was at the gym, I bent over and couldn't get up, the pain was horrible. I contacted Healthwise and Dr. Mike gave me an emergency appointment that evening. He did a complete physical and x-ray before he started any treatment. After my first treatment I was able to stand up and walk with minimal pain. With a few visits I was back to normal. I continued treatments as needed for the next several years.
    I see Dr. Bob regularly to stay fit and pain-free. He tests my strength and weakness to determine the best treatment. Our open discussion led him to help my acid reflux. I now exercise and walk as is essential for a septuagenarian.
    I told Dr. Bob that I was starting to get knee pain that I thought was arthritis; I didn't think chiropractic care could help. He told me about new equipment to help. I look forward to improvement.
    I was a skeptic of chiropractic care, now I would recommend HealthWise to anyone with chronic/simple pain. It worked for me. It can work for you!"
    Sherry B.
  • "I was very miserable with constant pain in my leg while knowing it had something to do with my back. My friend surprised me with an appointment with Dr. Bob. After being treated by Dr. Bob I knew right away it was exactly what I needed. I learned a lot through my conversations with the doctor. I am really thankful to Dr. Bob and his staff."
    Ed L.
  • "I had a very limited understanding of chiropractic care until I tried it for the first time 12 years ago. I came in with severe pain in my neck, which prohibited me from moving my head. I was greeted by a kind staff, had an exam and x-rays done on my first appointment followed by an adjustment. I felt so much better after my first adjustment and by following the treatment plan my headaches and migraines improved. My overall health has improved because of chiropractic care. Dr. Bob helps make sure that I am taking the right supplements to optimize my health and fitness performance. They have helped me with allergies, knee and shoulder pain, and earaches. I had no idea when I began my chiropractic journey just how much help the doctors and staff at HealthWise would be at improving my quality of life."
    Britt H.
  • "I have been a patient at HealthWise Chiropractic for over 20 years. In the past and currently I am seeing Dr. Bob, however, I have seen all docs at Healthwise. My general issues are usually seasonally related to sinus and allergies. Recently I have been receiving treatment for my hip and lower back. Dr. Bob zeros in on trigger points and quickly relieves my pain. He is a wealth of knowledge and offers help and suggestion on my health issues. The staff is friendly and helpful. I leave feeling better and I believe helps to keep my body aligned and energized. I have also come in after falls, injuries and surgeries. I truly believe my adjustments at the time added to a quicker recovery."
    Liz B.
  • "I have been a patient of Dr. Bob for two and half months. . I see him for an adjustment every two weeks. I started seeing a chiropractor for the first time in January 2021 while working in Florida for my continued lower back pain and chronic bilateral hip bursitis. Because my pain was mostly relieved with continued adjustments, I decided to continue with treatment when returning to Wisconsin. I have been very happy with my continued pain relief/adjustments at HealthWise. I highly recommend anyone with chronic back and neck pain to try chiropractic adjustments here at HealthWise. It will make your life better."
    Marianne V.
  • "Really enjoyed the different things that they can do for you and your pain management. Would highly recommend."
    Rhiannon P.
  • "I enjoy coming, getting readjusted and any additional therapies. It has made my life healthier and less stressful. If I have questions, they are answered at that visit. The staff is very professional, personable and friendly. I always look forward to my next visit with them. I am glad to be part of Healthwise Chiropractic family:)"
    Marcella L.
  • "Dr. Mike is fantastic! He is very personable….will take time to really to your needs… I enjoy my visits…the maintenance has helped tremendously…..and he is there when the emergency pops up! Excellent Chiropractor!"
    Ann W.

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