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10212 5th Ave NE

Seattle, Wa 98125



9:30AM - 6:30PM

10:00AM - 4:00PM

Frequently Asked Questions About Chiropractic and Chiropractic Care

  Q: What conditions can Chiropractic help?

  A:  This is a great question, and one which gets a variety of answers, depending on who you ask.  The mainstay of Chiropractic, is the vertebral adjustment, and the relief of back and neck pain.  We have widespread support within the medical community and insurance companies alike, and are considered the to be THE leader in providing care for pain relief and rehabilitation of back and neck pain.  Traditionally, however, Chiropractic has been used to treat a wide spectrum of health care issues, with varying degrees of success.  There are hundreds of stories of "chiropractic miracles" in which unlikely diseases, or perhaps better said "apparent" diseases have resolved under the care of a chiropractor.  These include such varied presentations as asthma, diabetes, thyroid disorders, deafness, and the list goes on.  That said, the body of research, and our emphasis is on Neuro-Musculo-Skeletal conditions, such as back, neck and joint pain, muscle pain, stiffness, and soreness.   

  Whether you've experienced whiplash in an automotive accident, thrown out your back when you've bent over to pick something up, or if you suffer from chronic back pain, what really sets Chiropractic apart from traditional Doctors, is our willingness, and our ability to take the time to reach out to you, to help you identify some of the things that maybe led to the injury in the first place, and help you devise a plan to improve your health that will keep you at work, keep you active in your free time, and empower you to be your best.  Our goal, as your Health Providers is to keep you on the ski hill, Keep you on the Field, on the Court, keep you gardening on the weekend, allow you to enjoy your time with your family, in short, allowing you to function at your highest level at home, at work and at play..  Whether that means keeping your independence in your later years, coaching your child's sports team, or even running a marathon, Chiropractic can improve your life in a lot of ways that might surprise you!

   Q:  How long does Chiropractic take to work?

   A:  This depends on a couple of factors.  The biggest factor determining the length of your care is the chronicity -  that is, how long the condition or underlying problem has been present.  Was the pain caused by an acute trauma, like a car accident, or a weekend sports injury, or is it more the result of a long standing patter of misuse or disuse?  We typically see the most rapid results when treating issues that are acute, things like a fall off of a ladder, or a sore back that showed up after a long game of golf.  When dealing with a condition that has been present for weeks, months, or years, we expect the course of treatment will last longer.  In any case, most patients will get a good idea of whether Chiropractic is working for them within 3-4 visits, and as always, the ultimate decider of whether to continue, or discontinue care lies with you.  See below for information about Care of Acute vs. Chronic conditions. 

    Acute Care  If you are visiting us for acute pain, something that typically arose suddenly, either from trauma, or even if you just 'woke up with it',  we would like to see improvement within the first few visits.  If we do not see improvement within that time, we would then, at your discretion take a closer look at soft tissue and/or muscle issues.  The majority of patients notice results within 10-14 days, if you don't notice improvement within this time period, we would then typically look toward reevaluating your case and incorporating the care of an  M.D., or perhaps an acupuncturist or massage therapist.

   Chronic Care


  If on the other hand you are visiting us for a chronic problem, we will expect the progress may be a little slower.  Obviously, if your pain is the result of a neglected condition that just never 'went away' or long term occupational influence, we don't, and shouldn't expect an immediate resolution of your symptoms.  In this case, we would expect to see some improvement within the first few visits, and we would expect to see even more improvement over the course of about 6-8 weeks, as we use a variety of techniques to treat long standing muscle and connective tissue patterns and to help develop new patterns of movement into your body. 

Q:  Do you work on anything but the back?

A:  Absolutely!  Our specialty is not limited to the back.  The public recognizes us as back doctors, but our training allows us to be exceptional "joint and nerve" Doctors as well.  In fact anywhere there's bones, joints or muscles, we are typically able to offer effective care.  We have extensive training working with the extremities, such as the hip, shoulder, elbow, knee, ankle, wrist and foot, as well as many aspects of rehabilitation, conditioning, and injury prevention.

Q:  I've heard doctors talking about Active vs. Passive Care, what do these terms mean?

A:  When Doctor's talk about active vs. passive care, especially in the arena of rehabilitation and physical medicine, what they are ultimately talking about is patient involvement in the rehabilitative process.  In a passive care model, the patient comes in for a visit, and the practitioner does things "for them", in an Active Care model, the Practitioner and Patient work together to design curriculum of treatment, including not just the Chiropractic Adjustment in the Clinic, but the rehabilitative "Homework" to support the adjustment, and help keep the patient well.  This homework may include stretching, coordination and balance training, and dynamic exercises, just to name a few.  Current research shows using and Active care model not only gets the patient better quicker, but keeps them better longer, and keeps them from having recurrence of their pain.  

  Q: I heard that Chiropractic Can help with headaches, is this true?

  A:  On of the biggest challenges in treating headaches, is first proving the patient with the correct diagnosis.  The International Headache Society lists over 100 different types of headaches.  That said, some headaches, such as tension or cervico-genic headaches can be very responsive to Chiropractic Treatment.  As always, you should have an idea after 2-3 treatments, whether the treatment is working.  If you do not feel it is working, then we would either consider examining another diagnosis, or referring you for further evaluation.

  Q: What is a Subluxation?

  A:  In Orthopedic terms, a "luxation" is the same as a dislocation, and so, orthopedically speaking, a sub-luxation is a "below" a dislocation, where the two sides of a joint, or articulation have not fully lost contact.  Chiropractic uses a subtler definition of Subluxation: a Chiropractic Subluxation is a partial loss of proper joint articulation, with corresponding alterations in range of motion, alteration of normal biomechanics, and local tissue changes such as soreness, stiffness, and swelling.

   Q:  How can Chiropractic help these so called "subluxations"?

   A:  Chiropractic employs a High Velocity, Low Amplitude impulse, called an "Adjustment" to normalize proper joint mechanics.  While many Chiropractors talk about "Alignment", what we are really talking about is function.  Joints can become "fixated", where they do not have full range of motion.  When we adjust 'fixated' joints, they are allowed to regain their normal biomechanical, histological, and neurologic function.  Since the vertebrae encase the spinal cord and provide means for spinal nerves to reach out to all areas of the body, to whatever degree the improper biomechanical alignment of the vertebrae may irritate the nervous system, restoring proper function of these vertebral segments can serve to decrease neurogenic discomfort.  

   Q: My Friend says Chiropractor's hurt you, is that true?

   A:  While there may be some slight discomfort or some residual pain after treatment, actual injuries are very uncommon.  We explain to our patients that it's much like working out for the first time: Muscles that haven't been used, or joints that are regaining their full function may be a little sore after the first adjust, but this usually abates as proper motion in the spine is regained.  For those patients who do experience some discomfort after the first few adjustments, we advise they might want to do some light icing to ease their discomfort.  Often with patients, we are adjusting an area  that may have had normal function for quite some time.  After being .............for so long, muscles, ligaments, and joint capsules will shorten to adapt to their new, though improper, position.  As these joints regain their proper function, there is sometimes some discomfort as the tissues re-accomodate their renewed function.  If you do experience any discomfort, don't ever hesitate to call us.  We're happy to listen to what's going on and often times, explain, and ease your concern.

   Q: What is the popping sound I hear when I get adjusted?

   A:  The synovial fluid in joints tends to accumulate dissolved nitrogen gas, in the same way that a Bottle of Champagne has carbon dioxide dissolved in it.  In a Chiropractic adjustment, as we open the joint, the pressure within the joint capsule decreases, and allows the nitrogen gas to be released or 'cavitate'.  This process is totally safe, and has many beneficial effects, including increased blood flow, increased mobility, and decreased muscle tension.

   Q: I heard Chiropractors make you keep coming back for weeks, months, or even years?

  A: This is perhaps one of the toughest questions to answer, as it has several explanations.  The duration and frequency of treatment is highly individualized based on patient's problem, general health patient compliance with at home care recommendations, and practitioner beliefs.  Sometimes this is, as explained above, due to poor communication about whether the condition being treated is acute or chronic and therefore needs a relatively shorter or longer course of treatment.  Other times, longer treatment schedules may be necessary for a variety of reasons.  Still there are the few unfortunate cases where the Chiropractor is seeking their own benefit instead of that of the Patient.  At Washington Chiropractic Center, our goal is to attain the Maximum medical Improvement in your condition in the timeliest manner possible.  When each patient reaches their Maximum Improvement, depends on the Patient, their diagnosis, the chronicity as well as other factors, but we are committed to acting first and foremost in the interest of our patients.  The one thing you can be sure, Our Assurance is that we will treat you only as long as is necessary and will continue to benefit your health.


  Q: What's the difference between Chiropractors and Osteopaths?

  A: Historically, Chiropractors and Osteopaths share very similar roots.  Both were founded in the late 1800's, both were founded by men who felt frustrated by the sometimes extreme measures employed by, then contemporary, medicine.  Philosophically, Osteopaths believed that the key to a healthy body lay in healthy circulation, and used Osteopathic Manipulation to correct "Osteopathic Lesions".  Chiropractors, on the other hand believed that the key to health was a healthy nervous system, and used Chiropractic Adjustments to correct "Subluxations".  In the modern era, Osteopaths have integrated strongly into the medical model, able to prescribe drugs, perform surgery and specialize in any field, just as M.D.'s.  While some Osteopaths still use Osteopathic Manipulation, they more often function interchangeably with M.D.'s.  Chiropractors, while they have updated much of their philosophy and practices to reflect advances in science, rehabilitation, and patient care, still use the Chiropractic Adjustment as the mainstay in their treatment of patients


We are located in the Northgate Professional Center, less than two blocks from the Northgate Transit Center, Thornton Place Apartments, and across the street from the Northgate Mall Parking lot on 5th Ave NE.

We are proud to partner with Group Health, Aetna, Regence, Premera, and most other Insurers.