Back pain? You’re not alone.
More than 18 million Americans visit a chiropractor each year for issues like back and neck pain and tension headaches.
What exactly does a chiropractor do? According to chiropractor Steven G. Yeomans, DC, their focus is on the “intimate relationship between the nervous system and spine.” Chiropractors work closely with patients to “reduce pain and improve the functionality of patients, as well as to educate them on how they can account for their own health via exercise, ergonomics and other therapies.”
If this sounds like something you need, talk to your primary doctor about whether they recommend chiropractic care. Before you schedule an appointment, you’ll want to confirm that seeing a chiropractor is covered by your health insurance.
Checking your plan’s coverage
Chiropractic care is included in many major medical plans and Medicare plans. To find out if your plan includes a visit, first look at your summary of benefits, which is an easy-to-understand breakdown of what your health care plan covers.
Your next step will be to check requirements. Chiropractors are considered specialists, which may have a higher office co-pay than your normal doctor. In addition, you may be required to get a referral from your primary care doctor. If you’re uncertain, call the member services number on the back of your card.
Finding a chiropractor
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network members can use the Find a Doctor feature to search for health care providers based on factors such as board certifications, quality ratings and office locations. For example, you may find it easier to keep your chiropractor appointments if the office is close to where you live or work.
Once you’ve narrowed your search down, you can compare up to six doctors side by side based on what’s important to you — everything from language spoken to extended office hours. You can even read reviews from other patients and see what they had to say about their experiences.
You also might feel more comfortable visiting a chiropractor who is recommended by someone you know. Ask around to see who your family, friends, or co-workers visit. You can also ask your current doctor if he or she has a recommendation.
Your first visit
An initial chiropractic consultation is very similar to that of a standard doctor’s appointment. You will likely complete a health questionnaire, answer questions about your health history and explain what pain or discomfort you’re experiencing.
The physical exam
It’s important for your chiropractor to understand how your body functions, which means you’ll be tested for:
- Range of motion
- Muscle tone
- Muscle strength
A chiropractor may take X-rays as well to study your bones and soft tissues. This helps the chiropractor understand any issues with your spine or other factors to consider with your treatment plan.
What is a typical treatment plan?
The central part of the treatment will be chiropractic adjustments, which is when the doctor manipulates your body at specific joints. If you can’t tolerate the manual adjustments, you may instead receive mild or non-force techniques.
Interested in learning about other specialists who can help you stay healthy and meet your goals? Check out these other blogs:
Photo credit: Michael Dorausch