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Chiropractic FAQ

Q. What is Chiropractic?

A. "Chiropractic is a branch of the healing arts which is concerned with human health and disease processes. Doctors of Chiropractic are physicians who consider man as an integrated being and give special attention to the physiological and biochemical aspects including structural, spinal, musculoskeletal, neurological, vascular, nutritional, emotional and environmental relationships." - American Chiropractic Association

In Oregon, Doctors of Chiropractic are licensed primary treating physicians which means they are trained to practice and function as first stop providers or portal of entry physicians. No referral is necessary. A Chiropractic Physician utilizes standard medical history, physical examination along with lab and/or diagnostic imaging to diagnose. Unique to Chiropractic Physicians is their extensive training in orthopedic and physical medicine evaluation / treatment which prepares them to provide comprehensive care in this area.

As primary care providers with specialized training in musculoskeletal medicine, Chiropractic Physicians typically play a dual role in clinical practice on a daily basis, generally striving to accomplish two related goals simultaneously in each patient:

1) Provide evaluation and treatment for acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain.

2) Promoting overall wellness and professionally-supervised patient-implemented preventive healthcare.

Q. What is a Chiropractic Sports Physician?

A. A Chiropractic Sports Physician is a title used by Doctors of Chiropractic who have gone through a post-graduate program by the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians. All Doctors who complete the program must successfully pass comprehensive board examination to obtain credentialing and must have yearly postgraduate continuing education to maintain their credentialing with the board.

Q. Do Chiropractic Sports Physicians practice differently than most Chiropractors?

A. A Chiropractic Sports Physician has undergone significant post graduate education and is evident with their evaluation and treatment of sports other common injuries. Treatment approaches usually consist of many other physiotherapeutic procedures and rehabilitation strategies.

Q. I have tried Chiropractic before and it has not helped me. Does Dr. McClintock do anything different?

A. Yes. Most people associate "Chiropractic" with "adjustments". Although many Chiropractors utilize adjustments / manipulation as their primary treatment tool for good reason as it is a very well researched and appropriate treatment for many mechanical type conditions, "Chiropractic" and "Manipulations/adjustments" are not the same (ie not synonymous). Chiropractors are licensed physicians with a very large scope of practice in Oregon. Adjustments / manipulations are just one of many tools a Chiropractic Physician may utilize to treat a particular condition.

If you have had a Chiropractor treat you and manipulation / adjustments were the primary treatment approach, consulting Dr. McClintock for a second opinion may prove to be beneficial. Dr. McClintock has had a unique and diverse education along with considerable clinical experience. The most important key to helping a condition is to accurately diagnose and identify contributing factors that are related to the condition as they are often the missing link to helping patients overcome their condition. Once an accurate diagnosis is made Dr. McClintock has a wide variety of Chiropractic Sports Medicine, Physical Rehabilitation and Functional Medicine approaches that he can review with you and together can create an individualized treatment strategy unique to your diagnosis and goals.

Q. What conditions do Chiropractic Sports Physicians treat?

A. Although Chiropractors are trained to diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions, many Chiropractors tend to focus more on spinal conditions like neck and back pain and is likely why the public generally associates Chiropractic with back and neck pain. However, Dr. McClintock diagnoses and treats a wide variety of conditions.

Q. What types of treatment does Dr. McClintock provide?

A. Dr. McClintock has a diverse educational and clinical background that has provided him with a set of skills that enables him to use a wide variety of treatment approaches. Once Dr. McClintock evaluates and diagnoses your condition he will review with you appropriate treatment options based on current medical literature and together an individual treatment strategy can be developed.

Q. How long does it take to get better?

A. Excellent question and should always be asked! There are many factors that must be considered to understand how long it will take to get better. Often these factors are overlooked and not identified and therefore when someone condition is not responding a quickly as they would like they often give up on treatment and go "shopping" for treatments or tend to continue with pain relieving medication to cover up the symptoms. Identification and understanding of contributing and complicating factors an important part of understanding how long it will take to get better.

Q. Is Chiropractic better than Physical Therapy?

A. When most people think of "Physical Therapy"they think of stretching and strengthening type exercise and when they think of "Chiropractic" they think of "adjustments" for neck and low back pain.

The professions are different. Physical Therapists are therapists trained to function in the healthcare system under doctors. Doctors of Chiropractic are "Physicians" with a much broader role in healthcare. This means Physical therapists are not able to diagnose as they are not trained in this area and they rely on Doctors of Medicine to diagnose. Due to most Medical doctors minimal training in evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries / conditions results with poor or incomplete diagnoses and guidance for the physical therapist.

Multiple research studies has confirmed that the combination of exercise and manipulation is better than either one alone for mechanical type spinal conditions. So when considering which type of professional to seek care from for neck and low back pain Dr. McClintock recommends the following:

  • Find a Doctor (DC, MD, ND) that does a thorough evaluation to provide you with a diagnosis and looks for contributing and complicating factors that may be unique to your condition.

  • Look for either a Doctor of Chiropractic that routinely incorporates specific exercises into treatment or works with a Physical Therapist who can provide you with an appropriate progressive exercise program.

Q. Why do most Medical Doctors often refer to Physical Therapists vs Chiropractic Physicians?

A. This is common practice by Medical Doctors not familiar with current research. Mostly this is due to habit as this is what was taught in most medical schools for decades. Currently, most Medical Schools have programs that educate young doctors on appropriateness of referring to Chiropractic Physicians.

Dr. McClintock has been fortunate over the years to work with General Practitioners, Orthopedic surgeons and Neurologist from the medical profession in the best interest of the patient. See our list of extended medical physicians who refer their patients to us.

Q. Is Chiropractic Covered by Medical Insurance?

A. Yes. Most health insurance companies have either done their own research or are familiar with research that supports the benefits of providing Chiropractic coverage. According to a 1994 federal study, 80% of healthcare plans that employers offer cover at least part of the cost of chiropractic. Feel free to contact our office so we can assist you in finding out your specific insurance coverage and answer any questions.

Q. Do I need a referral from my General Practitioner to see the physicians at Falling Waters?

A. Usually not. Doctors of Chiropractic are primary treating physicians and referrals are not usually needed. However, some insurance companies require you to have referral from your General Practitioner. Feel free to contact our office so we can assist you in finding out your specific insurance coverage and answer any questions.


Q. My Doctor told me I "pinched" a nerve in my back?

A. Nerves don't get really get "pinched". This is a common explanation that both medical and chiropractic doctors often use as it is easy for patients to relate to and satisfies there questions. Dr. McClintock believes it is helpful to spend time to educate patients on how and why conditions occur as it provides a foundation to help understand appropriate treatment and prevention recommendations.

The symptom of "pain" is caused by inflammatory proteins (prostaglandin, bradykinins, histamine etc) which are generated by an inflammatory process when tissue (muscles, ligaments, tendons, discs etc) is damaged. Depending what tissues are affected (come in contact with) the inflammatory proteins will largely determine the clinical presentation of symptoms. For example: if a person lifts something heavy or sits in a poor position all day and strains the ligaments and muscles (usually the deep low back stabilizing muscles) of the low back, an inflammatory process is initiated and the "inflammatory proteins" are set in motion often irritating local nerves, discs, ligaments and other muscles. Also, once a person experiences pain, many of the surrounding muscle tighten or "clamp down" in a neurological reflexive manner in attempt to stabilize the injured area. Unfortunately, this "clamping down" decreases local blood supply which compromises nutrient supply and waste (inflammatory proteins) removal ability of the damaged area and results with continued pain. Often, when this pain is intense and sharp is can FEEL like a nerve is pinched.

Q. Do I have a slipped disc?

A. No. Between each pair of spinal bones is a disc. Its fibrous outer ring holds in a jelly-like material. This soft center serves as a “cushion” for joint movement. Because of the way a disc attaches to the spinal bones above and below it, it can’t actually “slip.” However, a disc can bulge, tear, herniate and/or thin. But it can’t slip. See above answer to how the inflammatory process can effect different tissues.

Q. Can I see Dr. McClintock if I have a disc herniation in my back or neck?

A. Approximately 30-50% of people 30-50 years old have "disc herniations" that do NOT cause them pain or cause them to limit their regular activities. Often times when someone has significant pain or is not responding to treatment a MRI is obtained. If the MRI shows a disc herniation, the disc herniation is labeled as the cause of the problem and often times unnecessary surgery is unfortunately recommended.

If a spinal disc is herniated, it can possibly cause "physical / mechanical" pressure on local nerve roots causing significant and progressive neurological concerns and warrant surgical intervention. However, the majority of disc herniations DO NOT cause DIRECT physical compression of nerves. More commonly it is the inflammatory proteins that irritate local nerves and cause them to swell and produce neurological symptoms. If radicular (nerve root) neurological symptoms are present a Doctor (DC, MD, ND) should hopefully re-enforce this information and monitor your neurological symptoms for progression and discuss appropriate treatment options with you.

The criteria for surgical intervention for disc herniations is:

  • Progressive neurological deficit (worsening numbness, tingling or weakness)
  • Urinary retention or changes in bowel function
  • Chronic severe pain unresponsive to "appropriate" treatment

In the absence of the above criteria for surgical intervention, Physical Medicine strategies when provided appropriately can reduce pain and promote functional healing. Dr. McClintock has had excellent success diagnosing and treating lower back and neck disc hernitations. If physical medicine is not appropriate for your condition and surgical intervention is warranted Dr. McClintock will promptly refer you to a spinal surgeon.

Q. What is Chiropractic manipulation / adjustments?

A. Spinal manipulation (commonly called an adjustment) is a Physical Medicine procedure performed by a trained doctors hands that is applied to injured / dysfunctional spinal joints. When performed by someone professionally trained in spinal manipulation it is a safe and appropriate treatment tool that provides many beneficial effects:

  • Reduces pain
  • Allows good flexible healing
  • Promotes function when used with appropriate rehabilitation exercise

NOTE: The word "adjustment" is misleading as it implies that the spine is out of place and needs to be "adjusted" back to place. Spinal joints do not "go out of place" and therefor are not put back in place with spinal manipulation.

Q. Are Spinal manipulation / Chiropractic adjustments safe?

A. Yes. Current research confirms that spinal manipulation is one of the safest treatments for mechanical type spinal pain. A New Zealand government study found that adjustments are "remarkably safe." A thorough exam can identify the rare person for whom spinal manipulation may be unsuited. Statistics reveal that adjustments are safer than taking an common over-the-counter pain relievers.

Q. What makes the sound during spinal/Chiropractic manipulation?

A. Lubricating fluids separate the bones of each spinal joint. During spinal manipulation the joint is stretched which allows the gas and fluids in the joint shift and produce produce a "popping" sound. It’s much like opening a bottle of champagne or removing a suction cup. The sound is interesting, but is not a guide to the quality or value of the adjustment.

Q. Is "popping my neck" the same as Spinal/Chiropractic manipulation?

A. No. Some people can make their joints "pop" but that’s not spinal manipulation. When an area of the spine has limited motion and is producing painful symptoms "popping" your own neck only allows the movement to the areas beside the tight "locked up" area. Uncontrolled "popping" of joints around areas that do have reduced motion can result in the "popped" area becoming hypermobile (to loose) which can lead to instability and predispose to injury.

Spinal manipulation / adjustments are specific and can only be performed by someone trained in spinal manipulation. Even your Doctor of Chiropractic must consult a colleague to benefit from spinal manipulation.

Q. Will I receive any medication for my pain?

A. Maybe. Dr. McClintock has a broad educational and clinical background and does recommend some over the counter medications at therapeutic doses for certain conditions on a short term basis. If other medications may benefit your condition, Dr. McClintock will refer you to and work with your Medical Doctor to help your condition.

Q. What if my policy does not cover services by Dr. McClintock?

A. Your health affects everything you do and everyone you know. It is your most valuable possession. Yet, each of us places a different value on our health. It’s convenient/helpful when an insurance company or third party helps pay the bill, however your insurance may not cover certain services provided by Dr. McClintock. At Falling Waters, Dr. McClintockhas formed a "time of services cash discount" that can make evaluation and treatment very affordable.