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Frequently Asked Questions

If you have never been to a chiropractor before, you may have questions about what becoming a patient involves.

(Click a question to read its answer below.)

Common Chiropractic Questions

What is chiropractic, and how does it work?

Chiropractic physicians practice a hands-on, drug-free approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. One of the primary therapies used is spinal and extremity manipulation (or chiropractic adjustment). The main goal of a joint manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force to joints that have become hypomobile or restricted as a result of tissue injury. This type of injury can be caused by a variety of things including a single traumatic event, accident, improper lifting or through repetitive stresses such as poor posture or prolonged sitting.

Injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that cause diminished function, inflammation and pain. The manipulation or adjustment of the joint(s) restores mobility, decreases pain and muscle tightness allowing the area to heal. Chiropractic adjustments are safe and rarely cause discomfort. Patients may experience mild soreness following treatment (as with some forms of exercise) which usually resolves within 12-48 hours.

What is involved with evidence-based chiropractic?

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) published Clinical Practice Guidelines for Low Back Problems in Adults. In this article, spinal manipulation proved to be one of the safest and most efficacious forms of treatments. The AHCPR concluded that “spinal manipulation hastens recovery from acute low back pain and recommends that this therapy be used in combination with or as an alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.”

“In a subgroup of patients with acute nonspecific LBP (low back pain), spinal manipulation was significantly better than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and clinically superior to placebo.” SPINE Volume 38, Number 7, 2013

“Manipulative therapy and exercise can reduce symptoms of cervicogenic headache, and the effects are maintained.” SPINE Volume 27, Number 17, 2002

“SMT (spinal manipulative therapy) is effective for the treatment of chronic nonspecific LBP (low back pain). To obtain long-term benefit, this study suggests maintenance SM after the initial intensive manipulative therapy.” SPINE Volume 36, Number 18, 2011

“Low back pain improved after acupuncture treatment for at least 6 months. Effectiveness of acupuncture was almost twice that of conventional therapy (combination of drugs and exercise).” American Medical Association, 2007

“The American College of Physicians (ACP) released updated clinical guidelines for treatment of low back pain. The evidence-based recommendations urge physicians and patients to skip drug therapy as a first-line treatment for nonradicular lower back pain. Instead The ACP recommends opting for treatments that include non-drug therapies, such as massage, acupuncture, spinal manipulation, tai chi, and yoga to treat acute or subacute pain.” American College of Physicians, 2017

What type of education do chiropractic physicians receive?

Today’s chiropractic academic training is the equivalent of standard medical training. Chiropractic education includes a particular emphasis on anatomy, physiology, neurology, orthopedics, pathology, radiology, spinal and extremity manipulation, physical therapy techniques, clinical nutrition and natural medicine.

The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, maintain high standards in chiropractic education. An individual must accomplish the following to become a licensed doctor of chiropractic (D.C.)

  • Complete a four-year Bachelor of Science degree that includes pre-med prerequisites at an accredited undergraduate university.
  • Complete a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and clinical internship at an accredited four-year chiropractic university.
  • Pass national and state boards exams through The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners.
  • Take yearly continuing education, which is required to maintain current licensure status.

Common Chiropractic Myths

Once I go to a chiropractor, do I have to go for life?

No. The number of treatments required is completely dependent on your condition and health goals. Dr. Backhaus will never “sell” you a lifelong plan, and in his opinion, you should avoid any chiropractors that do. Your body will tell you when it needs attention — when it does, he is here to help you.

Does chiropractic work for everything?

No. The research indicates that chiropractic primarily affects the mechanics of the spine and extremity joints as well as the firing of motion/position receptors in those joints. Since the spinal adjustments are working directly on the central nervous system, there is a significant effect on neurological feedback to the brain and spinal cord from adjustments that can help with a variety of issues.

Do you accept insurance?

Yes. Dr. Backhaus is in-network with most insurance plans except Medicaid. If you do not have chiropractic coverage with your insurance plan and are paying out of pocket, we will be happy to work out a payment plan or discount when applicable.

Which ages of patients do you treat?

All ages, from infants to elderly. Treatments vary depending on the age, health status and condition of the patients.

Chiropractic and Medical Care

Do you work with other medical professionals?

Yes. Dr. Backhaus will readily refer patients to the appropriate health care provider when chiropractic care is not suitable for the patient’s condition, the patient is not responding to care as expected or the condition warrants co-management with other health care professionals.

Should I see a chiropractor, M.D., physical therapist or massage therapist?

A chiropractor is an ideal first line of care whether you are suffering from a chronic condition or new pain/injury. A referral is required only with HMO health plans. At your initial visit, you will go through a detailed history and examination. After, Dr. Backhaus will recommend treatment options, referral for diagnostic testing or imaging, or referral to an appropriate health care provider if needed. Treatment is usually started at the initial visit unless otherwise contradicted from the history or exam.

Together, you and Dr. Backhaus will decide what is the ideal treatment plan that best fits your health needs and goals. If you have additional questions, you can schedule a complimentary in-person or phone consultation with Dr. Backhaus.

Do you have questions that weren’t answered here?

Reach out to us for more information or to schedule your visit.


Modern Chiropractic Chicago FAQ | (312) 208-1550