EDUCATE AND UNDERSTAND
Frequently Asked Questions About Chiropractic
Doctor Sklar cares for patients of all ages, with a variety of health conditions. Typical conditions seen by Dr. Sklar and most chiropractors are back pain, neck pain and headaches. He also cares for patients with a wide range of injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, which includes the muscles, ligaments and joints. These painful conditions may involve or impact the nervous system, which can cause referred pain and dysfunction distant to the region of injury. Furthermore, Dr. Sklar offers advice to patients on diet, nutrition, exercise, healthy habits, and occupational and lifestyle modification. Finally, Dr. Sklar is considered an elite chiropractic physician, as he has spent over half of his career as a Medical Director in a regional cancer hospital treating patients for side effects related to chemotherapy, radiation treatment and surgical oncology.
Dr. Sklar’s Philosophy is to treat patients and their complaints as individuals. He does not treat each condition as a recipe. There is not a cookbook when it comes to human beings and their pain,. There are guidelines, and recommended protocols.
Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest nondrug, noninvasive forms of health care available for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal complaints. Although chiropractic has an excellent safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects. The risks associated with chiropractic, however, are very small. Many patients feel immediate relief following chiropractic treatment, but some may experience mild soreness, stiffness or aching, just as they do after some forms of exercise. Current research shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours.
Neck pain and some types of headaches are treated through precise cervical manipulation. Cervical manipulation, often called a neck adjustment, works to improve joint mobility in the neck, restoring range of motion and reducing muscle spasm, which helps relieve pressure and tension. Neck manipulation, when performed by a skilled and well educated professional such as a doctor of chiropractic, is a remarkably safe procedure.
Some reports have associated high-velocity upper neck manipulation with a certain rare kind of stroke, or vertebral artery dissection. However, Dr. Sklar typically does not perform this types of adjustments. Moreover, if high velocity manipulation is indicated, the patient will be screened for any underlying conditions that would contraindicate this manipulation. Finally, best evidence indicates that the incidence of artery injuries associated with high-velocity upper neck manipulation is extremely rare—about one to three cases in 100,000 patients who get treated with a course of care. This is similar to the incidence of this type of stroke among the general population.
If you are visiting your doctor of chiropractic with upper-neck pain or headache, be very specific about your symptoms. This will help your doctor of chiropractic offer the safest and most effective treatment, even if it involves referral to another healthcare provider.
When discussing the risks of any healthcare procedure, it is important to look at that risk in comparison to other treatments available for the same condition. In this regard, the risks of serious complications from spinal manipulation for conditions such as neck pain and headache compare very favorably with even the most conservative care options. For example, the risks associated with some of the most common treatments for musculoskeletal pain (i.e. over-the-counter or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and prescription painkillers) are significantly greater than those of chiropractic manipulation.
Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that overuse and abuse of prescription opioid pain medications is among the leading causes of accidental death in the United States.
Doctors of chiropractic are well trained professionals who provide patients with safe, effective care for a variety of common conditions. Their extensive education prepares them to identify patients who have special risk factors and to ensure those patients receive the most appropriate care, even if that requires referral to a medical specialist.
A referral is usually not needed to see a doctor of chiropractic (DC); however, your health plan may have specific referral requirements. You may want to contact your employer’s human resources department—or the insurance plan directly—to find out if there are referral requirements. Most plans allow you to just call and schedule an appointment with a chiropractor.
Yes, children can benefit from chiropractic care. Children are very physically active and experience many types of falls and blows from activities of daily living as well as from participating in sports. Injuries such as these may cause many symptoms including back and neck pain, stiffness, soreness or discomfort. Chiropractic care is always adapted to the individual patient. In the case of children, it is very gentle. Dr. Sklar has been treating his own son with chiropractic care for over 26 years from 6 weeks old. His son is very healthy, active and pain free. Additionally, his son has never had an ear infection nor has he ever needed to be prescribed anti-biotics.
Dr. Sklar spent more than half of his career at the Medical Director of Chiropractic Services in a well known Philadelphia hospital that specialized in cancer patients. He was a member of the Medical Executive Committee. There he was a voting member on other physicians credentials, hospital polices and procedures.
Yes. Chiropractic care is included in most health insurance plans, including major medical plans, workers’ compensation, Medicare, some Medicaid plans, and Blue Cross Blue Shield plans for federal employees, among others. Chiropractic care is also available to active-duty members of the armed forces at more than 60 military bases and is available to veterans at more than 60 major veterans medical facilities. Moreover, if insurance is a barrier to you receiving chiropractic care from Dr. Sklar, the office will do all it can to create an affordable treatment plan so you do not need to forgo pain relief over financial burden.
Doctors of chiropractic are educated as primary-contact healthcare providers, with an emphasis on diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to the musculoskeletal system (the muscles, ligaments and joints of the spine and extremities) and the nerves that supply them. Educational requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among the most stringent of any of the healthcare professions. The typical applicant for chiropractic college has already acquired nearly four years of pre-medical undergraduate college education, including courses in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, psychology and related lab work.
Once accepted into an accredited chiropractic college, the requirements become even more demanding — four to five academic years of professional study are the standard. Doctors of chiropractic are educated in orthopedics, neurology, physiology, human anatomy, clinical diagnosis including laboratory procedures, diagnostic imaging, exercise, nutrition rehabilitation and more. Because chiropractic care includes highly skilled manipulation and adjusting techniques, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical technique training to master these important manipulative procedures. In total, the chiropractic college curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience. The course of study is approved by the Council on Chiropractic Education, an accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Since the start of chiropractic treatments, approaches and techniques have evolved. The tradition of “hands on” treatment is still favored among practitioners and patients. However, there are many ways to apply hands on chiropractic from the high velocity thrusts to more gentle and specific delivery methods of care. Additionally, through decades of research, many types of instruments have been developed that create safe and effective avenues to deliver chiropractic adjustments and just as important happy pain free chiropractic patients.
The hands-on nature of the chiropractic treatment is essentially what requires patients to visit the chiropractor a number of times. To be treated by a chiropractor, a patient needs to be in his or her office. In contrast, a course of treatment from medical doctors often involves a pre-established plan that is conducted at home (i.e. taking a course of antibiotics once a day for a couple of weeks). A chiropractor may provide acute, chronic, and/or preventive care thus making a certain number of visits sometimes necessary. Your doctor of chiropractic should tell you the extent of treatment recommended and how long you can expect it to last. It is important to understand there are many different experiences patients have from any type of provider to provider. For instance, some dental patients spend years trying to find a dentist they trust, a dentist that does not hurt or in search of a primary doctor that listens with compassion and concern. Chiropractic is no different. Life time chiropractic patients have experienced chiropractors that have hurt them and chiropractors they will never leave. Chiropractic can be used as a non-pharmacological pain reliever or embraced as part of a health and wellness regimen. It is the choice of the patient. A key thing that Dr. Sklar likes to point out is “pain takes time to go away, but staying well is time worth spent.”
Adjustment (or manipulation) of a joint may result in the release of a gas bubble between the joints, which makes a popping sound. The same thing occurs when you “crack” your knuckles. The noise is caused by the change of pressure within the joint, which results in gas bubbles being released. There is usually minimal, if any, discomfort involved.