Chiropractic Examination and Diagnosis

Chiropractic examination and diagnosis differs from practice to practice. Even though chiropractors must undergo rigorous and extensive training, there are no accepted standards in place to regulate how a particular chiropractor will determine whether chiropractic treatment, typically manual manipulation of a portion of the spinal anatomy, is necessary. The traditional theoretical basis of Chiropractic practice is that the body possesses powerful self-healing ability and good health is related to proper alignment of the spine. There are several diagnostic methods patients can expect to experience when visiting a chiropractor for the first time.

Where Does It Hurt?

One reason diagnostic examinations differ among chiropractors is that a number of chiropractic practitioners take a scientific approach to chiropractic practice while others still adhere closely to the original philosophy of chiropractic founder Daniel David Palmer. This self-described spiritual healer postulated that the body possesses an “innate intelligence,” or “vitality,” which is a metaphysical relationship between the nervous system and overall good health. This vitality, Palmer concluded, is centered within the spine. Palmer used neither scientific methods nor observation to draw his conclusions, citing inspiration acquired from a deceased physician, Jim Atkinson. So-called “straight” chiropractors that follow this age-old philosophy may reject proven scientific diagnostic techniques and often find themselves at odds with the modern medical community.

Another group of chiropractors has historically been called “mixers,” because they choose to blend modern diagnostic and treatment techniques with the manual spinal manipulation that is the cornerstone of chiropractic therapy. Typically, an initial consultation with a “mixer” will resemble a visit with a medical doctor, with tests and questions that include:

  • A description of your symptoms – how long have you felt pain, tingling, or numbness? Where does it occur? Is there anything that makes it feel better or feel worse?
  • A patient history – work history, eating habits, past treatments, illness history, family psychological history
  • A physical examination – full-body range of motion tests, static and motion palpation techniques, X-ray

Minimally Invasive Alternative

If chronic neck or back pain from sciatica, a herniated disc, arthritis of the spine or another spinal condition persists after weeks or months of chiropractic therapy, it might be time to consider the minimally invasive alternative available at Laser Spine Institute. The orthopedic specialists at Laser Spine Institute use safe, effective minimally invasive techniques to perform outpatient procedures that may help you recover your health without the need for more invasive, traditional open back surgery. Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more, and to see if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.