Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic Care

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic care is the most widely utilized form of alternative medicine treatment in the U.S. It encompasses over 200 different hands-on and instrument-aided techniques, including some that cause no “popping” or cracking sound and some that are gentle enough even for infants. Chiropractic adjustments can safely and effectively relieve musculoskeletal pain, improve range of motion in joints, increase muscle activation, decrease muscle tension, and restore proper nerve signaling without the use of drugs or surgery.

Dr. Willetts’ Approach

In order to meet the needs of many different types of patients, Dr. Willetts uses a wide range of chiropractic and physiotherapeutic techniques, including Diversified, Activator, Sacro-Occipital, Logan Basic, Flexion-Distraction, Thompson drop, Western Medical Acupuncture, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (aka Graston technique), and kinesiology taping. As part of her customized treatment plans, Dr. Willetts also offers advice on posture, ergonomics, stress reduction, sleep habits, and rehabilitative exercises to improve muscle strength, stabilize joints, and help prevent pain from recurring.

What Conditions Can Chiropractic Help?

Decades of research have shown the effectiveness of chiropractic care in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain—particularly when combined with rehabilitative exercise. Some problems that chiropractic is especially good at alleviating are:

  • Low back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Tension headaches
  • Migraines
  • Shoulder pain
  • Hip pain

There is less evidence from research studies, but there are enumerable clinical accounts and compelling physiological reasons for think that chiropractic treatment can help in the care of many other systems of the body as well—e.g., aiding in the treatment of menstrual cramps, asthma, carpal tunnel, knee pain, TMJ disorders, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, ear aches (especially in children), IBS, GERD, and other disorders. Before embarking upon a trial of care to see whether chiropractic may aid you with any of these kinds of complaints, Dr. Willetts will take a detailed history and, if necessary, refer you to your primary care physician or another medical specialist to rule out problems that call for other forms of care.

How Long Will It Take?

Sessions last between 20 and 30 minutes, and many patients feel improvement within the first two or three visits. Most are initially seen between one and three times per week for three to six weeks, after which time a re-evaluation exam is performed to determine how well the treatments are working and what additional methods (such as home exercises) may be necessary to achieve the best possible results. The interval between treatments will increase as a condition responds. However, if you are not seeing signs of improvement within two or three weeks, Dr. Willetts will refer you to another health care professional for further evaluation and alternative methods of treatment.

Being in better alignment and having joints and muscles that function better feels good. For most people, so do the adjustments themselves. That’s why once they’re feeling better, many people choose to continue “wellness” or “maintenance” care—chiropractic visits on a less frequent basis to deal with small complaints before they turn into big ones and help keep them feeling great.

Is It Safe?

Chiropractic care is very safe. The most common side effect is mild soreness the day after treatment in the areas that were adjusted. You may also be more tired, especially after your first adjustment. Serious side effects are extremely rare, but no health care procedure is entirely risk-free. (For example, people who use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprophen—another commonly-employed option for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain—are three times more likely to develop gastrointestinal bleeding or perforation.) Apparent serious adverse effects are no more frequent under chiropractic care than with a visit to a conventional medical doctor for a similar complaint—fewer than one one thousandth of 1% of cases. In over 90 clinical trials on spinal manipulation in the past 40 years, there has not been a single case of a serious adverse effect. Using low-force techniques such as Activator and Logan Basic reduces the risk even further. For more information on the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic care, visit the American Chiropractic Association’s website or the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s Chiropractic page.