Chiropractors are trained to do very careful case histories and
examinations to differentially diagnose problems that may require medical
care. A chiropractor often will co-manage patients with medical doctors
for patients who have conditions that require medical management on an
For example, in my practice, I co-manage many patients who have arthritis
with their orthopedist or internist. And the medical doctors may recommend
certain medications that are appropriate or other procedures. But at the
same time, I'll be seeing them chiropracticly. And the techniques I use,
uniquely, are able to restore range of motion and decrease inflation in
those joints, which will slow down the progression of the arthritis in a
way that the medications, actually, don't do. And so, the patient will
have the benefit of both of these therapies at the same time.
There are certain contraindications to chiropractic care. And if a patient
comes in with these conditions, the chiropractor will refer them for
medical care. And that would include things like joint instability or
severe ligament laxity, malignancies, aneurisms, or infections that are not
being appropriately treated. These are issues that will need to be
addressed by a medical doctor and are not appropriate for chiropractic care
in the acute phase.
Certain symptoms would necessitate further neurological evaluation and
perhaps a referral. These symptoms would include things like myelopathy,
loss of muscle mass, loss of muscle strength, loss of deep tendon reflexes,
progressive profound numbness in the arms or legs, loss of balance. Your
chiropractor may order an MRI, an EMG, or other diagnostic testing or refer
you to an orthopedist or neurologist.
One final thought is that chiropractors are very careful about using
techniques that are appropriate for each individual patient and their
condition. And there are certain conditions, and two that come to mind,
are osteoporosis, or bleeding disorders, or someone who's on
anticoagulation therapy. These are conditions that may be inappropriate
for traditional chiropractic adjusting, but there are non-forth, very
gentle, and very effective and safe chiropractic techniques that might be
appropriate for these patients. And this is how we treat patients with
these conditions in my office.
So if you have these conditions, have an open conversation with your
chiropractor about your condition, so that your chiropractor can choose the
technique that would be safe and effective for you.