Common questions about chiropractic and our practice

At Life Care Chiropractic and Wellness Center, we understand that you want to be well informed about any procedures or processes that will affect your body and your well-being. To help you with that, here is a list of answers to frequently asked questions about chiropractic and others services we offer.

Of course, you can always contact us directly with any questions or concerns you have. We’re here to help!

General

What is the cost of an initial consultation?

Depending on the level of exam required to properly diagnosis the condition, the cost for the exam is either $90 or $120.  Depending on your health insurance coverage, you may be responsible for all, part or none of the exam fee.  Additionally, if we participate with your insurance company, the fee is reduced to the contracted allowable amount as determined by the contract between us and the insurance company.  Depending on your health insurance coverage, you may be responsible for all, part or none of the allowable amount your insurance sets for the exam.  For example, you may have a deductible to meet before your insurance begins paying their part for services rendered.

 

We offer a medical discount plan for out of pocket or underinsured patients.  It is called ChiroHealth USA.  The program costs $49 for a  year and covers you and your entire household.  Chirohealth USA patients have a contracted fee schedule.  The exam fee is $60.  Chiropractic, physical therapy, orthotics and products within the office are also discounted according to the ChiroHealth USA fee schedule.

Is there any discount for being a referral or making a referral?

It is not legal to give discounts, gifts, free services or rewards for making referrals.  We do very much appreciate your referrals and do our best to show our appreciation to every patient every day.

What paperwork do I need to fill out before I arrive for my appointment?

You will need to fill out new patient paperwork that includes your name and contact information, some questions about the purpose of your visit, and some questions about your medical history.  We will need to take a copy of your insurance card if you have one and a valid ID.  There will be some papers to sign acknowledging our adherence to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 assuring the safeguarding of your medical information.  There will also be a few office policies to sign.

What happens if I need to miss or reschedule an appointment?

Once you have completed your first visit and signed our office policies, we ask you to follow our appointment policy.  We kindly ask that you give us two hours notice if you need to cancel or reschedule your chiropractic and/or PT appointment.  Missed appointments or failing to call within the 2-hour window will result in a $20 missed appointment fee.   For massages, we ask that you give us 24 hours notice to reschedule or cancel a massage appointment.  Failure to do so will result in the full massage fee applying to the missed visit.

Chiropractic Services

What is chiropractic?

As described by the American Chiropractic Association “Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic services are used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.”  Since the nervous system controls everything in the body and every single cell receives communication from the nervous system, chiropractic can also be used a wellness too to simply reduce stress and burden from the body allowing it to perform more optimally.

How does chiropractic work?

A chiropractor will do a thorough history of any patients symptoms or complaints, take a detailed medical history, perform range of motion tests and a postural exam as well as a thorough orthopedic and neurological exam.  The doctor may also do functional tests such as looking at a person rising from a chair, doing a squat, or even walking.  The information from the exams helps to determine areas in the spine that may be dysfunctional due to misalignment, fixation, disc herniations, arthritis, or other pathologies.  The doctor may also find contributing issues such as muscle weakness, flat feet, head forward posture or other findings that exacerbate the patient’s condition.  The chiropractor then uses this information to devise a treatment plan to help reduce pain, improve range of motion, strengthen or stretch muscles and restore function.  A key part of the treatment plan involves using different types of chiropractic manipulation to address the spinal or extremity issues.  The manipulation may be manual manipulation done with the hands, manipulations assisted by use of a tool or features on the table or even use of types of pressure points to gently manipulate.

Is chiropractic safe?

According to the International Chiropractic Association, “ Records form insurance and court cases have constantly shown that chiropractic is the safest portal of entry health care available to the public today. Although no healthcare procedures are 100% safe, chiropractic stands on its record of safety and effectiveness unmatched in healthcare.”

How broadly accepted is chiropractic in the medical community?
Because chiropractic has great evidence-based outcomes in getting people out of pain safely, cost-effectively and with high rates of patient satisfaction, chiropractic is generally accepted within the medical community.  There are some medical providers that do not have a lot of familiarity or experience with chiropractic who may impose discriminatory judgments or biases but usually that can be cleared up simply by education them more about chiropractic as well as keeping them in the loop if  they are comanaging the patient.
Is chiropractic similar to massage?

Chiropractic manipulation is completely different from massage therapy.  Chiropractic focuses on spinal alignment, the nervous system and joint alignment.  Although we may sometimes work directly on the soft tissue, the fundamental core of chiropractic involves gentle manipulation of the spine.  We do  however, see great therapeutic value in massage therapy which is why we offer those services in our office.

What is an adjustment?

As described by the American Chiropractic Association: “One of the most common and well known therapeutic procedures performed by doctors of chiropractic is spinal manipulation (sometimes referred to as a “chiropractic adjustment”). The purpose of spinal manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile – or restricted in their movement – as a result of a tissue injury. Tissue injury can be caused by a single traumatic event, such as improper lifting of a heavy object, or through repetitive stresses, such as sitting in an awkward position with poor spinal posture for an extended period of time. In either case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain, and diminished function for an individual. Manipulation, or adjustment of the affected joint and tissues, restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, allowing tissues to heal.”  The chiropractic adjustment also sends sensory information through the nervous system that favorably affects pain pathways.

Does a chiropractic adjustment hurt?

Generally, chiropractic adjustments do not hurt.   Some people get a little sore like they worked out at the gym for 24 to 48 hours after an adjustment.  Typically if this happens at all, it only happens after the first, possibly the second adjustment. 

Can I adjust myself?

No, although you may experience popping, clicking or movement in your spine or other joints by stretching or quickly jerking yourself into certain positions, these are not specific therapeutic chiropractic adjustments.

Are all patients adjusted the same way?

No.  Every  patient is different.  Some patients may have surgical or congenital spinal fusions that require special care.  Others may have other medical conditions that require a different technique.  Additionally, different patients have different types of complaints, symptoms and goals.  For example, we may have an athlete who needs to achieve maximum strength and flexibility while we may have an elderly person who needs to be able to simply rise from a chair.  The athlete may be able to tolerate a more aggressive treatment protocol while the elderly person might need a very gentle technique in both the chiropractic and PT parts of their care.   Also, when we treat infants, we use special tools and techniques to deal with their unique spines that haven’t fully developed their muscle tone and ligamentous elasticity.

Is it bad to “crack” your neck or back a lot?

It is not recommended to “crack” your neck and back habitually. Typically when a person tries to impose movement on their own spine, they are not specifically addressing misalignments and fixations and are more likely just moving already hypermobile compensations above or below their true problem area.

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

Absolutely.  Chiropractic care is very safe for pregnant woman throughout their entire pregnancy.  Studies who that women who receive chiropractic care during their pregnancy statistically have less hours of labor, less incidence of back labor, and less incidence of hemorrhage.  Of course they generally feel better during their pregnancy as well.  Many women experience back pain and even sciatica during pregnancy.  Chiropractic can help.  Dr. Sharman even has a special table where the belly piece drops out to accommodate pregnant patients.

Why do chiropractors take x-rays?

Chiropractors can take xrays or they may choose to send patients out for xrays, mri’s, diagnositic ultrasounds, or CT scans.  Imaging is done when medically necessary to gather additional information in order to better diagnosis the problem.

How long does a typical appointment last?
The new patient appointment is typically about an hour to an hour and a half including time to fill out paper work, the exam and treatment./su_spoiler]
How many sessions will I need?

It typically takes about 12 visits to make a significant change in a patient’s condition.  A re-exam is normally done after 12 visits to assess if further care is needed.

Massage

Do I have the ability to request a male or female massage therapist?
Yes
What do I do during my massage treatment?
Before your massage, you will briefly talk to the therapist about whether you have any problem areas and what you would like to achieve in your massage.  For example, some patients would like a full massage in one hour and some may want to focus on just their upper back and neck in one hour.  Some patients would like a very light relaxing massage and some want very deep pressure to work out specific knots in their problem areas.  The massage therapist will help you to communicate what type of massage you would like.  During the massage, you just relax.  The therapist will tell you when to turn and will check on you throughout the massage to be sure you are comfortable.
Will the massage hurt?

You are in complete control as to the amount of pressure you would like.  The massage can be as light or firm as you prefer.  A massage can be deep and somewhat painful if a person prefers the therapist to really get into some of the knots and trigger points.  However, the therapist would not go that deep unless you have requested this.  Most people prefer a medium pressure where it is relaxing but you still feels as though the tension is getting worked out of your muscles.

Do I need to be completely undressed for a massage?

You will undress to your comfort level.  There is always a sheet covering you.  The sheet is only pulled back in the area the therapist is working.  The sheet is never pulled back over private areas in the pelvic region or the female chest.  Some people prefer to keep their underwear on, some prefer not to keep them on.  When patients have low back pain that extends into the buttock area, they may want the therapist to work on the top of the buttock area and the sides of the glutes as that is where their problem is.  However, even in those cases, they sheet is never pulled back to fully expose the buttocks.  A person can also say that they don’t want a certain body part worked on such as their feet or their face.

Can I just have a massage and not a chiropractic adjustment?

Of course!  We are happy to serve you in whatever capacity you need or want.

Therapeutic and Rehab Services

How long does a typical appointment last?

The rehab portion of care typically  last 30 minutes.

What clothing should I wear for my physical therapy appointment?

You should wear clothing that allows you to stretch and move freely.

How many sessions will I need?

It typically takes about 12 visits to make a significant change in a patient’s condition.  A re-exam is normally done after 12 visits to assess if further care is needed.

Is physical therapy required or optional in terms of treatments?

Physical therapy is always optional.  For example some people  have budget or time constraints that cause them to limit their treatment plan.  However, if the doctor feels PT is necessary, the reasons will be communicated so that the patient can make an informed decision.   The doctor will also discuss the consequences of not doing PT when needed so that the patient  if fully informed.

Wellness Services

Do I need to have a chiropractic adjustment before I use your wellness services?

No.

How long does a typical appointment last?
One hour.
Are you a licensed nutritionist?

No.  Chiropractors do not have a separate license for any nutritional advice they give.  It is within their scope as a Doctor of Chiropractic to give nutritional advice.

Do you sell vitamins and supplements at your office?

Yes.

Insurance

What insurance does Life Care Chiropractic and Wellness accept?

We participate with Medicare and Carefirst.   We accept other insurances as out of network providers.  We typically call and verify your insurance on your first visit so that we may explain your benefits to you in detail.  If you benefits do not allow good coverage to you, we can also tell you our ChiroHealth USA, our medical discount program that can make your care more affordable.

Which of your services are typically covered by insurance?

Each insurance is unique.  Most insurances have some kind of chiropractic and physical therapy benefit.

Do I need to have insurance to use your services?

No we accept cash patients and even have a medical discount program for cash patients called ChiroHealth USA.  Joining this program makes the care much more affordable to out of pocket and underinsured patients.

Payment

What forms of payment does Life Care Chiropractic and Wellness accept?

We accept cash, check and credit card.

When is payment due?

Payment is due at the time of service.

Can I split a payment between two credit cards?

Yes.