I’m running again.
For 15 years I’ve suffered from on and off again pain of my achilles tendon and hip flexor. I would start running (which is one of my favorite outdoor activities…when I’m in shape, that is!) and have to stop after a few weeks because of the pain and stiffness. Rest, tons of new shoes, physical therapy, a cast on my foot, stretching, yoga. I tried it all. Nothing worked.
After just a handful of visits to a chiropractor this summer, though, I am running. I am pain-free. 15 year old achilles and hip flexor injuries gone with a few adjustments? Really! I couldn’t believe it myself. I was so thrilled with the results and intrigued by chiropractic medicine, that I asked my friend and talented chiropractor, Dr. Alicyn Boehmer, how it all works (that’s her and her cute family below.)
If you’ve ever wondered what chiropractic medicine is, how it works, and what it treats…this interview is for you.
Rachel: Dr. Boehmer, what is the basic philosophy behind chiropractic medicine? How does the chiropractic approach differ from that of conventional medicine?
Dr. Boehmer: Chiropractic is based on the philosophy that recognizes that the brain and nervous system control and maintain the body in health. Interference to the nervous system can lead to a change in health, mostly seen in disease or loss of function. The main difference between chiropractic and conventional medicine is that we look for the cause of the disease, not the cure. We focus on eliminating the pain and not masking the pain with medications.
Rachel: I think most people assume that chiropractors just treat back problems. Can you set the record straight? What symptoms can chiropractors effectively treat?
Chiropractic helps with pinched nerves. If the nerve is being pinched it can cause numbness, tingling, and burning. What happens when you have a pinched nerve that affects an organ? You may have asthma, acid reflux, infertility issues, bed wetting or ear infections. If you are experiencing pain in your body, get checked by a chiropractor to determine if you have a pinched nerve. We help with headaches, migraines, carpal tunnel, mid-back tension, neck and low-back pain, sciatica, herniated discs, shoulder pain, knee pain, plantar fasciitis and more!
Rachel: I know some parents worry about the safety of chiropractic medicine for a child. How safe is it to adjust an infant or a child? Why do parents bring in their children?
Dr. Boehmer: Parents bring in their children for 2 reasons. They bring them for wellness visits to prevent disease and keep the immune system strong. They also come for treating colic in babies, acid reflux, ADD to relax the nervous system, ear infections and adjustments also help reduce fevers. The adjustments are 100% safe and natural. In our office we use the most gentle approach, using an activator, where the child will feel nothing without twisting or popping.
Rachel: At one point, you told me that the patients who aren’t helped by chiropractic usually didn’t finish out the course of their treatment. How many adjustments does it usually take to get well and why does it take so many for most people?
Dr. Boehmer: There are many factors that go into a treatment plan and how many visits it will take to stabilize a condition: how long have you had the pain, was the pain caused by trauma or just woke up with it, and is your spine straight or do you have a curve in your spine. If you are a quick responder your pain will start to go away between 1-8 visits, intermediate responders 8-16, and chronic conditions 16-24. If you tried chiropractic for a few visits and didn’t get the results you are looking for then you need to follow through with your treatment plan. If you break an arm you aren’t going to “try a cast for awhile and see if it works”. Don’t try chiropractic, follow through with recommendations.
Rachel: I know you use acupuncture on adults and children. What is acupuncture and what can it help with?
Dr. Boehmer: Acupuncture is a therapy used to promote health and alleviate pain and suffering associated with physical, mental, and emotional conditions. We use acupuncture in our office the most for headaches, sinus and allergy issues, pain control, addictions, knee and shoulder pain, elbow pain, and infertility. We use an electrical device so we don’t use the needles often in our office. The patient does not feel the electrical impulse and it’s just as effective as needles.
Rachel: Does health insurance usually cover the cost of chiropractic care from your experience?
Dr. Boehmer: Most insurances cover chiropractic up to 26 visit’s a year. Some people have a deductible, some have a copay. We always call ahead for benefits and let our patients know of any charges ahead of time.
Rachel: How does one become a chiropractor? What training is required?
Dr. Boehmer: Chiropractors acquire nearly 4 years of pre-medical undergraduate college education, including courses in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, psychology and lab work. Once accepted into an accredited Chiropractic School, we are required to take 30 credits a trimester and there are 10 trimesters. We have 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience, taking 3-4 additional years to complete.
Rachel: Any tips for maintaining proper spinal alignment in our daily lives?
Dr. Boehmer: There are many ways to improve health and spinal alignment in our lives. Here are a few tips:
- Ergonomics at the work place are important.
- Driving a car with correct posture.
- Sleeping positions and picking a good mattress and pillow are important.
- You should never sleep on your stomach.
- Exercise 3-4 times a week, including weight bearing exercises.
A huge thanks to Dr. Boehmer for taking the time to give us an overview of how chiropractic medicine works and what it can do for patients! You can follow Boehmer Chiropractic on Facebook here or find out more about her practice here.