Tel: (860) 482-5479459 Prospect St,Torrington, CT

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is Chiropractic?
What type of education do chiropractors receive?
Why is there sometimes a “popping” sound when a joint is adjusted?
Is treatment painful?
How long will it take to resolve my problem?
What is involved with the initial exam?
How long is each visit?
If I do not improve, what happens next?
What is dry needling?
When is acupuncture utilized?
How does dry needling work?
How does acupuncture work?
What is myofascial release and how does it work?
Do you have working relationships with other specialists?
What chiropractic techniques are used in the office?
How much does treatment cost?

What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a healthcare profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches. Doctors of Chiropractic, also known as chiropractic physicians, practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to healthcare that includes patient examination, diagnosis, and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic tools and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises as well as to provide nutritional, dietary, and lifestyle counseling.

The most common therapeutic procedure performed by Doctors of Chiropractic is known as “spinal manipulation” also known as “chiropractic adjustment.” The purpose of manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile – or restricted in their movement – as a result of a tissue injury or compromise. Tissue injury can be caused by a single traumatic event, such as improper lifting of heavy objects, or through repeated stresses such as sitting in an awkward position or with poor spinal posture for an extended period of time. In either case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain, and diminished function for the sufferer. Manipulation, or adjustment of the affected joint and tissues, restores mobility thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, and allowing tissues to heal. In many cases, such as lower back pain, chiropractic care may be the primary method of treatment. When other medical conditions exist, chiropractic care may complement or support medical treatment by relieving the musculoskeletal aspects associated with the condition.

Doctors of Chiropractic assess their patients through clinical examination, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging, and other diagnostic methods to determine when chiropractic treatment is appropriate or when it is not appropriate. Chiropractors readily refer patients to the appropriate health provider when chiropractic care is not suitable for the patient’s condition, or the condition warrants co-management in conjunction with other members of the healthcare team.

What type of education do chiropractors receive?
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 a four-year premedical 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 Chiropractor are educated in orthopedics, neurology, physiology, human anatomy, clinical diagnosis including laboratory procedures, diagnostic imaging, exercise, nutritional rehabilitation, and more. 

Because chiropractic care includes highly skilled manipulation/adjusting techniques, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical technique training to master these 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 an accrediting agency that is fully recognized by the US Department of Education.

Why is there sometimes a “popping” sound when a joint is adjusted?
Adjustment (or manipulation) of a joint may result in a 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 in pressure within the joint, which results in gas bubbles being released; this is also known as cavitation of the joint.  It is notable that an audible release with manipulation is not necessarily required to obtain clinical benefit because any mobilization to a fixated joint is helpful, however when a joint cavitates, it usually means there has been a certain degree of release of pressure and tension within the joint.  The phenomenon is similar to popping the top off a carbonated beverage.  There are dissolved gasses within the fluid, and when the cork is released, a sudden pressure change occurs and gas comes out of the solution resulting in an audible noise.  There is usually minimal, if any, discomfort involved with manipulation and joint cavitation, and more often some immediate sense of reduced pressure and better mobility is appreciated by the patient.

Is treatment painful?
Chiropractic care including spinal adjustment, extremity mobilization, and physiotherapy is not supposed to be painful, and if you are in pain with treatment, it should be communicated to the doctor and modifications of the therapy can be made. Everyone’s pain tolerance and perception of pain is different, but chiropractic is typically very well tolerated by patients and usually very therapeutic. When a patient presents in acute severe pain, sometimes any movement to the affected part will be painful, but your pain will always be considered with caution and respect to minimize any discomfort during the examination and treatment process.

How long will it take to resolve my problem?
Most routine problems resolve rather readily, sometimes in as little as one to six treatments. However, some patients have more chronic or complex conditions may take longer to resolve. Healing is a process and each person’s healing capability is going to be different, so communication is essential to determine reasonable therapeutic goals, outcomes, and expectations. Any condition that does not seem to respond to typical levels of expectation may need to be investigated in greater detail with further testing, and Dr. Downs will advise you regarding the rationale for further testing.

What is involved with the initial exam?
The initial exam involves reviewing your intake paperwork and consulting regarding your past medical history and current clinical complaints. The history of injury as well as relevant data regarding family history, social history, lifestyle history, medication history, and past history of surgery and injury will all be addressed in the consultation and this will be followed by a physical examination which will incorporate predominantly neurologic, orthopedic, and chiropractic parameters of evaluation. Women will usually be gowned and undergarments can remain on, while men will usually be shirtless and may or may not need to wear shorts depending upon the area being evaluated. During the exam, relevant findings will be discussed and their implications regarding the diagnosis and condition will be reviewed. If further imaging is needed immediately, x-rays and/or other studies will be ordered at that time. Otherwise, some introductory treatment will usually be provided in the first visit after your examination is complete. You should allow 40 minutes to one hour for your first visit at our office.

How long is each visit?
You should allow 40 minutes to one hour for your first visit to our office. Subsequent visits will typically vary from 10 to 30 minutes depending on how much treatment is done and what modalities may be utilized during your visit.

If I do not improve, what happens next?
If your condition is amenable to chiropractic intervention, you should see steady improvements within the first one to three weeks of treatment. If you are not improving, we will re-evaluate your situation and decide what further testing is appropriate to more thoroughly investigate your problem. Further testing may include x-rays, CT scan, MRI, lab tests, or other diagnostic protocols to obtain more detailed data about your condition. If, based upon the examination findings, you need to see a different specialist, Downs Chiropractic will initiate that process for you and contact the specialist’s office to express our concerns and provide them with the background necessary to proceed with your care.

What is dry needling?
See our separate discussion of dry needling. Dry needling has become increasingly vital in our office as a method of treating pain, muscle tightness, and musculoskeletal dysfunction. It is supplemental to the chiropractic adjustment and the two combinations provide a very powerful tool for managing a number of different conditions.

When is acupuncture utilized?
Acupuncture tends to be utilized when other forms of pain management are not working. In an effort to help a patient overcome pain, it is helpful to have a variety of options available in attempting to resolve the problem. Acupuncture is just another tool that we have available in trying to solve clinical issues. Sometimes patients specifically request acupuncture and we are pleased to be able to provide that.

How does dry needling work?
See our discussion of dry needling by clicking here.

How does acupuncture work?
See our discussion of acupuncture by clicking here.

What is myofascial release and how does it work?
Myofascial release is a form of massage therapy that focuses upon releasing tightness and tension of the fascial layers which hold the muscles together. This is a special type of massage therapy that not all massage therapists are certified in, and it is available here through Jeff Forman.

Do you have working relationships with other specialists?
Yes. Being in practice in Torrington since 1986 has yielded quality relationships with a variety of other specialists. We typically work closely with the radiologists, orthopedists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, and rheumatologists in particular, but may also contact your primary care doctor or other specialist depending upon your clinical needs and findings. Other specialists refer patients here on a regular basis as well, reflecting their comfort and confidence with how we manage our patient care and business in general.

What chiropractic techniques are used in the office?
The primary and most commonly used technique in the office is diversified technique, which is a hands-on manual style of manipulation rendered throughout the spine and extremities. Cox Technique, or flexion/distraction, is often utilized for lower back conditions. We also have the ability to do SOT blocking, activator methods, and extremity manipulative techniques as well. These techniques can also be accompanied by a variety of physiotherapy modalities, acupuncture or dry needling, and myofascial release to facilitate better results and to supplement the chiropractic adjustment.

How much does treatment cost?
The initial visit can range anywhere from $50.00 to $125.00 depending upon the length of the visit and the complexity of your condition. Followup visits range anywhere from $45.00 to $75.00, again depending upon length of the visit and complexity of your condition. The majority of these costs are typically covered by insurance, as we accept Medicare, and participate with Blue Cross Blue Shield, ConnectiCare, and some Cigna plans. If we do not participate in your plan at our office, a fee-for-service/time of service discount can be arranged.