New Patient FAQ

What conditions do chiropractors treat?
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 care is 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.

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, and are so defined in federal and state regulations. Following a consultation and examination, the doctor of chiropractic will arrive at a diagnosis under chiropractic care, or refer the patient to the appropriate health care provider.

Is chiropractic treatment safe?
Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal complaints. Although chiropractic has an excellent safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects.

The risks associated with chiropractic, however, are very small. 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. Current literature shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours.

Is chiropractic treatment appropriate for children?
Yes, children can benefit from chiropractic care. 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. Injuries such as these may cause many symptoms including back and neck pain, stiffness, soreness or discomfort. Chiropractic care is always adapted to the individual patient. It is a highly skilled treatment, and in the case of children, very gentle.

Are chiropractors allowed to practice in hospitals or use medical outpatient facilities?
Chiropractors are being recognized to admit and treat patients in hospitals and to use outpatient clinical facilities (such as labs, x-rays, etc.) for their non-hospitalized patients. Hospital privileges were first granted in 1983.

Do insurance plans cover chiropractic?
The majority of all insured American workers have coverage for chiropractic services in their health care plans. For example, the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management offers chiropractic coverage for federal employees in both the Mail Handlers and BCBS benefit plans.

What type of education and training do chiropractors have?
Chiropractors are educated as primary contact health care practitioners, with an emphasis on musculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment. Educational requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions. The typical applicant at a chiropractic college has already acquired nearly four years of pre-medical undergraduate college education, including courses in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, psychology and related lab work. Once accepted into an accredited chiropractic college, the requirements become even more demanding — four to five academic years of professional study are the standard. Because of the hands-on nature of chiropractic, and the intricate adjusting techniques, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical training.

In total, the chiropractic curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience. The course of study is approved by an accrediting agency that is fully recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

How is a chiropractic adjustment performed?
Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation is a manual procedure that utilizes the highly refined skills developed during the intensive years of chiropractic education. The chiropractor typically uses his/her hands to manipulate the joints of the body, particularly the spine, in order to reduce pain, and restore or enhance joint function. Chiropractic manipulation is a highly controlled procedure that rarely causes discomfort. The chiropractor adapts the procedure to meet the specific needs of each patient. Patients often note positive changes in their symptoms immediately following treatment.

Is chiropractic treatment ongoing?
The hands-on nature of the chiropractic treatment is essentially what requires patients to visit the chiropractor a number of times. To be treated by a chiropractor, a patient needs to be in his or her office. In contrast, a course of treatment from medical doctors often involves a pre-established plan that is conducted at home (i.e. taking a course of antibiotics once a day for a couple of weeks). A chiropractor may provide acute, chronic, and/or preventive care thus making a certain number of visits sometimes necessary. Your doctor of chiropractic should tell you the extent of treatment recommended and how long you can expect it to last.

Why is there a popping sound when a joint is adjusted?
Adjustment of a joint may result in release of a gas bubble between the joints that makes a popping sound – it’s exactly the same as when you “crack” your knuckles. The noise is caused by the change of pressure within the joint that results in gas bubbles being released. There is no pain involved.

Does the adjustment hurt?
The adjustment is a painless procedure. If a person is already in pain any movement of course can be uncomfortable, but the adjustments are designed to ultimately reduce and eliminate the pain.

What is a “subluxation”?
A subluxation is a misalignment of the bones that house and protect the spinal cord. Any misalignment puts unnecessary pressure on the nerve system and damages the nerve supply to different parts of the body. Vertebral misalignments that are left undetected and unadjusted for many years can lead to symptoms of pain, diseases, and an unhealthy expression of life.

Do I have to have x-rays?
The doctor will determine if films are necessary during the examination and then will discuss this with you. In most cases, however, x-rays are not needed. They may be needed, for example, in the case of a recent trauma to rule out a fracture.

How long will my first appointment take?
The first appointment is about 45 minutes with Dr. Shadrick, Dr. Gazda, or Dr. Herzog performing a complete exam.

Does the doctor get adjusted?
Yes. As a practitioner of chiropractic, the doctor is also a patient of chiropractic.

Can I adjust myself?
No. Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force, applied in a specific direction to a specific joint, it is virtually impossible to adjust oneself correctly and accurately. It is possible to turn or bend or twist in certain ways to create a “popping” sound that sometimes accompanies a chiropractic adjustment. Unfortunately, this type of joint manipulation is usually counterproductive, often making an already unstable spine even more unstable, and can sometimes be dangerous. Adjusting the spine is not for amateurs!

Is it OK to see a chiropractor if I’m pregnant?
Anytime is a good time for a better functioning nerve system. Pregnant mothers find that chiropractic adjustments improve their pregnancy and make delivery easier for themselves and their baby. Adjusting methods are always adapted to a patients size, weight, age, and condition of health. Working with expecting mothers is a passion of Dr. Gazda, and she is certified in the Webster Technique.

What is the difference between a chiropractor and an osteopath?
Chiropractors base their care on the detection correction, and prevention of vertebral subluxations (spinal misalignments). We use specific spinal adjustments to correct the spine, to improve nerve system functions and reduce nerve interference. Osteopaths use drugs, surgery, and other traditional medical therapies and only occasionally use manipulative procedures.

Is a good work-out the same as getting adjusted?
No. Exercise is an important part of good health, yet without normal spinal function a physical workout merely puts additional wear and tear on improperly functioning spinal joints. Dr. Shadrick has been working out with Durbrow Performance for years, and has never had more fun, or achieved better results. For more information, visit

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    Efffectve July 1, 2012:
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