Frequently Asked Questions

Many people like yourself are unsure if chiropractic care is right for them. Here is a list of commonly asked questions from my patients.

   1. What is chiropractic?
   2. What happens to my nerves that makes chiropractic care necessary?
   3. What is a subluxation?
   4. What is a fixation?
   5. What causes subluxations and fixations?
   6. Can subluxations and fixations clear up on their own?
   7. How do I know if I have a subluxation or fixations?
   8. How does chiropractic care work?
   9. What is an adjustment?
  10. What other forms of treatment do you use in your office?
  11. Does insurance pay for chiropractic care?
  12. How safe is chiropractic care?
  13. How long does a chiropractor go to school?  What type of education does a chiropractor receive?
  14. What can I expect during my first visit?
  15. How long will I need chiropractic care?

What is chiropractic?

Chiropractic is the art and science of treating pain and disease and maintaining your health without the use of drugs or surgery.

Chiropractic care is based on the scientific fact that your nervous system, consisting of your brain, spinal cord, and all the Nerves, control the function of every cell, tissue, organ, and system of your body. If there is any interference with these nerve impulses, you become more susceptible to suffer needlessly from pain, disease and ill health.


What happens to my nerves that makes chiropractic care necessary?

Your spinal column consists of 24 moveable bones, the vertebrae. Between the moveable vertebrae are your discs, which are soft, flexible "shock absorbers" that are made up of an outer cartilage portion and an inner "liquid" center. (Think of a jelly bismark with the dough as the cartilage and the jelly as the inner liquid.) Your vertebrae need to move in order to stay healthy. But, sometimes some of the individual bones of your spine become "stuck" and don't move like they're supposed to move. This can be caused by emotional or psychological stress (worry, negative thoughts, a hectic schedule, etc.), physical trauma (slips, falls, sports injuries, injuries at work, car accidents, repetitive motion, chronic poor posture, etc.) or chemical imbalances (drugs, alcohol, pollution, toxins, allergies, etc.)

The signals and messages from your brain pass down through your spinal cord. The signals then pass through your spinal nerves as those nerves exit from your spinal cord through small openings formed by your discs and the moveable vertebrae of your spinal column. Because of the anatomical arrangement of your spinal column and your spinal nerves, the spinal nerves can get rubbed, pinched, irritated or choked when the vertebrae in your spinal column get "stuck" and don't move properly. This is called a "subluxation" or a "fixation". When this happens your nerves don't function as they should.

This abnormal functioning of your nervous system can affect the tissues, organs, and other systems of your body. This can increase your susceptibility to pain, disease and ill health.


What is a subluxation?

A "subluxation" is a term that refers to an abnormal position or abnormal motion of some of the bones of your spine. This condition is also known as a "fixation".

The word "subluxation" is an older term that comes from the medical word "luxation". A luxation is a dislocation of a bone. The prefix "sub" means "almost" or something less than. In other words, a subluxation is an abnormal position of a bone but is less than a complete dislocation.


What is a fixation?

A fixation is essentially the same as a subluxation. While the term "subluxation" refers to the abnormal position of the vertebrae, the term "fixation" refers to abnormal movement or lack of movement of the vertebrae in your spine. The detrimental effects to your health are the same regardless of the term used to describe this condition.


What causes subluxations and fixations?

The causes of subluxations (or fixations) can be put in one of three groups. Physical causes include slips, falls, sports injuries, injuries at work, car accidents, repetitive motion, chronic poor posture, etc. Emotional causes include stress, worry, negative thoughts, a hectic schedule, etc. Chemical causes include drugs, alcohol, pollution, toxins, allergies, etc.


Can subluxations and fixations clear up on their own?

Sometimes. When the subluxation is not too severe or hasn't been there for too long your body has the ability to self-correct these malpositions or improper movements.

A subluxation that does not clear up on its own within a week needs chiropractic care.  At Breitenstein Family Chiropractic, we believe in adjusting the subluxated segment as well as using physical therapy.  The adjustment will put the bones back into proper place but without fixing the tight muscles with physical therapy, those tight muscles will pull those bones right back out of place.


How do I know if I have a subluxation or fixations?

Like the early stages of heart disease or tooth decay, subluxations can be present before warning signs or symptoms appear. You can have subluxations and not even know it. Since a subluxation or fixation is a decrease or absence of normal joint movement, chiropractors can detect this abnormal movement by using their hands to palpate or test the movement (or lack of it) in your joints during your examination. X-rays may also provide critical information about your spine's structure, any degenerative processes that might be present, abnormal curves, and other spinal conditions that can affect your well being.


How does chiropractic work?

Your body has an inborn ability to be healthy and, under normal conditions, your nervous system controls all the cells, tissues, and organs of your body, thus allowing your inborn healing ability to resist disease and ill health. The chiropractic approach is to locate interferences (a subluxation or fixation) to your proper nerve function and correct them (the spinal adjustment).


What is an adjustment?

An adjustment is the art of applying a specific thrust in a precise direction to the joints in your body that are out of position or are not moving properly. This adds motion to your joints and helps the bones gradually return to a more normal position and motion. This time tested and safe procedure helps to improve your spinal function, improve your nerve function and improve your health.


What other forms of treatment do you use in your office?

In addition to your spinal adjustments, other forms of treatment may include: electrical muscle stimulation, moist hot packs, ice packs, trigger point therapy, soft tissue massage, manual cervical traction, ultrasound,  Flexion and Distraction treatment, acupuncture, neuromuscular rehabilitation, foot orthotics, and nutritional therapy.


Does insurance pay for chiropractic care?

Yes! Virtually all insurance policies pay for necessary chiropractic care. This includes health insurance policies, car insurance policies, workers compensation policies and Medicare. The best way to find out exactly how much of your care will be covered by your policy is to bring your insurance card with you on your first visit. You may also fax it to our office prior to your first visit. We will be happy to check your coverage for you.


How safe is chiropractic care?

Chiropractic care is amazingly safe! The risk of a complication from a chiropractic adjustment is so rare that it cannot be accurately measured but can only be estimated. Those estimates range from one in one million adjustments to one in 100 million adjustments. These odds are so small that they might not mean much until they are put in perspective.

Chiropractic care is your best and safest first choice for health care!


How long does a chiropractor go to school? What type of education does a chiropractor receive?

Chiropractors are well educated and the education lasts 9 years after high school.

A four year undergraduate degree emphasizing biology, chemistry, physics and other sciences is required for entrance to chiropractic college. Once in chiropractic college, the five year chiropractic curriculum consists of classes in anatomy, embryology, histology, biochemistry, radiology, neuroanatomy, physiology, biomechanics, psychology, first aid, microbiology, endocrinology, neurophysiology, nutrition, public health, pathology, kinesiology, pharmacology, laboratory diagnosis, physical diagnosis, physical therapy, neurology, orthopedics, dermatology and more.

The last year of school is spent treating patients under the close supervision of the colleges clinicians right on campus.

After graduation, we are required to continue our education in order to keep our license.  We have to take 50 credit hours per year until we decide to retire.  This way we can stay up to date with the all the latest techniques.


What can I expect during my first visit?

Most, if not all, of your first visit to our office is diagnostic. It is very important for Dr. Breitenstein to determine what is causing your problem and to decide if the problem you have will respond to chiropractic care. If Dr. Breitenstein doesn't believe chiropractic can help you, she will help you find someone who can.

You will be asked to fill out a thorough health history form so that Dr. Breitenstein can have a good picture of your past health. Then, after receiving your history and discussing your specific health problem with you, the necessary orthopedic, neurological, chiropractic, or other examinations are performed.

Treatment may or may not begin on your first visit. If x-rays are needed to rule out anything potentially damaging with an adjustment, then treatment will begin on the next visit after x-rays have been obtained.


How long will I need chiropractic care?

Everyone is an individual and each person's health problem is different from the next. Therefore, each treatment program, both the type and the length, is different for every patient.

For a good portion of your life, you've probably been taught that if you feel okay you are okay, but this is not necessarily true. Your pains and other symptoms are warning signs of something more serious going on. For example, when someone has a heart attack the chest pain and shortness of breath are a warning sign of the more serious condition (the blockage of the artery) that is underlying. The best treatment is the one that attempts to correct the underlying cause of the condition so that you don't relapse. This takes longer than simply patching up the problem with simple pain relief.

In general, most patients are under care for several weeks in order to achieve maximum results. Of course, how long you decide to benefit from chiropractic care is always up to you.