Taking the Chiropractic Care to the next level: David J Lewis DC

1941 O'Farrell Street #108-A

San Mateo California 94403-1374


Is chiropractic care safe?

Because it is a drug-free, non-invasive, complementary alternative treatment, the very nature of chiropractic defines it as a practice with “do no harm” as its motto. Generally, chiropractic is widely accepted to be safe when performed appropriately by a trained, licensed practitioner. There are very few side effects from chiropractic treatment besides minor soreness, stiffness and fatigue, post adjustment, and these relatively minor effects generally pass within a few days. If you have any qualms about being treated by a chiropractor, it is always prudent to discuss this with your primary physician.

If you are experiencing back, hip, knee, shoulder, elbow or neck pain and are looking for a safe pain relief and resolution option, a licensed chiropractic facility may be your best bet for immediate results that get you back in action in a shorter period of time than traditional medical practices.

What is an adjustment?

Chiropractic adjustments, also known as chiropractic manipulations, manual manipulations, spinal manipulations, instrument assisted or spinal manipulations, translates to the action a chiropractor takes when applying measured force and controlled pressure to the vertebrae of the spinal column in order to realign and reposition the affected area of the spine which refers to the pain the patient is suffering from.

Adjustments are performed by chiropractors as a proven method that corrects an altered position of the vertebra with the added benefits of increased range of motion, reduced nerve impingement and improved ability of the affected area to function properly.

A basic description of a chiropractic adjustment would be the following:

A fast, short thrusting motion is applied to the vertebra in question. This may be followed by an audible crack or pop, which is caused by a release of body gases, which in turn releases joint pressure (think of how it sounds when you crack your knuckles). An immediate sensation of relief is experienced by the patient, who may also feel slightly sore or stiff post adjustment, due to surrounding muscles that are shortened and/or actively spasming, although this effect should dissipate quickly.

Does the adjustment hurt?

As described above, an adjustment generally doesn’t hurt, in the sense that the sensation experienced by the adjustment is in no way more painful than the pain which has brought the patient to the chiropractor in the first place. What may be felt is a feeling of pressure which is almost immediately released; a feeling of surprise at the force of the short thrusting action that defines an adjustment; and a slight soreness or stiffness post adjustment, due to shortened and/or actively spasming surrounding muscles which have been irritated by the spinal misalignment that is the source of the original pain.

What is a subluxation?

The definition of subluxation is as follows: A slight misalignment of the vertebrae, regarded in chiropractic theory as the cause of many health problems. In other words, the misalignment of the spinal column, sourced in one or more vertebra, as discussed in question number 2, can also be described, in medical terms as the subluxation. Subluxations can occur in several types of circumstances. Physical forces such as being in a car accident or falling down a flight of stairs can cause the physical force that results in a subluxation. Repetitive stress injuries such as occurs when a mailman carries his/her mailbag on the same shoulder year in and year out, can also cause a subliminal yet constant physical force that might result in a subluxation. Chemical forces such as a lack of calcium, which causes muscle spasms can also result in a subluxation. Finally, emotional forces are perhaps the most common cause of subluxation. Just living in the fast-paced, stressful environment many of us exist in today, can result in a subluxation that sends a message to our body seeking the help and relief a licensed chiropractor can offer.

Is it safe to crack my own neck or back?

In a word – NO. As described previously, the sound you hear after “cracking” your neck and/or back is the release of body gases that cause joint pressure. There is a capsule in each and every joint that contains synovial fluid, which acts as a lubricant ensuring that surface areas don’t rub against one another causing irritation as well as degeneration. Pressure can build up in these capsules, causing the sensation that it needs to be “popped”. Thus, the sound when you crack your knuckles. Accompanying this sound is the release of an endorphin, or “feel good” hormone, that also gives you a sense of relief and well-being. So far so good – why then shouldn’t everyone just “heal themselves” instead of paying a trained and licensed chiropractor?  Therein lies the answer: trained and licensed…for a reason. When a chiropractor adjusts you, they know the exact area of the body they are targeting with controlled force and pressure. When you crack or pop your own joints, you could go overboard and end up injuring yourself. From something as minor, as causing more pressure to build up in inexpertly adjusted vertebra to risking a stroke, the spectrum of damage is too high a price to pay for taking matters into your own untrained hands, at any point.

Is there a minimum or maximum age for a person to receive chiropractic care?

Chiropractic is a safe, drug-free, non- invasive complementary alternative treatment for people at every age and stage of their lives. From infants who are only a few weeks old, suffering from colic and immature digestive systems, to adolescents careening through chaotic developmental and growth experiences, to the elderly, needing support for joints and muscles that are experiencing the wear and tear of a life well lived, customized, age-appropriate chiropractic treatment offers pain relief options for everyone.

Can chiropractors refer patients to other specialists?

Because trained and licensed chiropractors are an acknowledged part of the network of healthcare professionals, they can and will refer patients to other specialists when they recognize risk factors and symptoms that fall outside their scope of treatment. Chiropractors may also work in tandem with other medical professionals to treat and resolve pain issues. Optionally, chiropractors may also refer patients to other complementary alternative treatment specialists, including acupuncturists, massage therapists and personal trainers. Finally, traditional medical doctors are referring their patients to chiropractors in cases when pain alleviation, management and resolution isn’t responding to traditional western medicine. In a world where medical insurance is a roller coaster of change and diminishing returns and doctors are being held financially responsible for the medical “results” of their patients; clients who return a multitude of times for the same complaint demand alternative therapies. When it comes to plausible treatment options, chiropractors have a proven track record and fast-growing reputation for result based practice.

Can chiropractors prescribe medication or perform surgery?

Doctors of Chiropractic are not licensed to write medical prescriptions or perform surgery in the United States. Doctors of Chiropractic can perform soft tissue therapies, prescribe and instruct corrective exercises and/or stretching regimes, and provide manipulations of the spine or joints in order that you avoid medication and invasive surgery. They may also offer joint bracing and/or muscle taping for support and improved function, and they may also be able to provide nutritional advice for weight control targeted at relieving joint pressure and pain and improving posture.

Should I continue chiropractic care even after I feel all better?

Human nature has a funny reaction to anything that makes them feel better. As soon as it works, they want to stop doing it! From finishing a prescribed course of drugs to physical therapy, from weight loss to psychology and yes, even chiropractic sessions, once the goal of decreased discomfort is accomplished, out goes the practice that improves our health.

The answer to this question may differ slightly from chiropractor to chiropractor: If you miss an appointment, all the good work that has happened won’t unravel. Your chiropractor isn’t going to hunt you down or demand that your buy an annual subscription. It all depends on your individual intent. If you simply want to resolve a specific pain issue and feel as if the work has been completed to your satisfaction, you may stop going regularly to your chiropractor…until you have another problem. If instead, your intention is to maintain the positive pain-free baseline you’ve reached through chiropractic, you may very well keep seeing your chiropractor regularly, for general wellness and prescriptive adjustments that keep you in top working order an prevent a subluxation from causing a chain reaction in your spine and joints.