Q1: Are x-rays necessary? Is it always a "must" in order to commence chiropractic care?
A: In our clinic, X-rays are not a "must" for everyone. The necessity for x-rays is largely dependent on two factors:-
1. The results of your physical examination during your first initial consultation visit, and
2. Your medical and trauma history leading up to the symptoms/complaints that you are currently experiencing.
Once the above is done, the doctor will then decide if you will require an x-ray. If you do, the doctor will explain to you the reasons why he requires them.
If however, you are still not comfortable with doing x-rays, discuss your concerns with the doctor. If the doctor feels he may be able to commence treatments without x-ray, he will let you know. In such instances, the techniques employed for treatment will usually not involve "spinal manipulation" as the primary treatment protocol. Other treatment techniques such as cranial or quantum neurology may be employed instead.
Q2: In what instances will the doctor require an x-ray?
A: Generally, it is when the patient has a history of relatively severe physical trauma/injury; or other conditions like a suspected slipped disc; a suspected fracture; suspected severe degeneration or a fusion of the spine. In such instances, the doctor may prefer to correlate his physical examination findings with an x-ray in order to give you the best care recommendations. Rest assured that when the doctor request for an x-ray, it is because they do not want to do a "guess" work on your spine. Treating your spine with an appropriate care protocol is not a trivial matter; and especially with possible conditions such as those listed above, the doctors will want to ensure that only the best recommendations are given to you.
Q3: How harmful are x-rays anyway?
A: Not quite as harmful the way alot of people envision it to be. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, did you know that a typical round-trip flight from New York City to Los Angeles (5hrs one way) on a commercial airline will expose you to about 10 mrem? That is roughly equivalent to the amount of radiation you would be exposed to for a chest x-ray (10 mrem). Rems are a measurement of the biological effect from exposure to radiation. To put this in perspective, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission estimates that the average American absorbs 620 mrem per year. Nobody really knows or talks about that simply because air-travels is such an accepted way of life. Yet when it comes to examining the spine, there is an auto-pilot reaction to refrain from doing an x-ray. Which is sometimes quite puzzling to us, considering how important spinal health should be to everyone.
Q4: I am thinking of getting my children under chiropractic care. Do they need x-rays too, assuming they have no history of any physical trauma or injury?
A: Babies, pregnant women, children and people under remission from illnesses like cancer, generally will not need an x-ray done.
Q5: You mean babies and pregnant women can also get chiropractic care?
A: Absolutely YES! Have you noticed how some babies who were born with assisted deliveries like vacuum and forceps births have somewhat mis-shapened (or “conical”) head. Research has shown that vacuum births can equate to approximately 220lbs of pulling pressure on the skull, which often times leads to some bruising on the head. Our society has learnt to accept it as a norm for babies to look that way after such assisted deliveries. But in chiropractic, we recognise that such birthing experience can be traumatic for both the mother and baby. The need to release the "pressure" within the skull and to unlock any "fixation" that such difficult birthing experience may cause is the chiropractor’s main focus when treating babies. In our clinic, Dr Andrew Ching is certified in a specialised cranial adjusting technique called CATS which can help release any “fixation” in the skulls of babies and in the process.
As for pregnant women, chiropractic has been known to help alleviate lower back ache commonly experienced by expectant moms because of the increase weight their bodies are subject to carrying. Some chiropractic techniques can also help mommies with breech-position babies. Dr Andrew has successfully worked with several mommies in such predicaments.
The treatment techniques employed for expectant moms, babies and women who are not yet pregnant are all obviously different.
Q6: I am planning to get pregnant soon. Is it still safe to undergo chiropractic care?
A: There is no better time to start your chiropractic care than now. Just as how readily we understand the need to start taking folic acid and other supplements to nourish our body and ready it for pregnancy, the same understanding should be applied "chiro-practically" to ensure your body is “structurally” ready to "house" a growing foetus in your body. It is common for people to have uneven hips, rotated hips, both of which will not help you with the extra load you will be carrying in your tummy. Worse yet, if you have any misaligned vertebrae in your lumbar or sacral region that has been causing you discomfort or some pain before pregnancy, these symptoms will only worsen when you are carrying the extra weight in your body. This may eventually place more pressure onto your pelvic floor muscles.
Knowing this now, wouldn't you agree that it is only wise to get these misalignments in your body corrected before you start planning for pregnancy?
Q7: Do I have to take up a treatment package to commence chiropractic care?
A: Our clinic does not believe in making such demands on our patients. The choice and prerogative is always that of the patient. After going through the initial examination/consultation and report of findings, the doctor will give you his best recommendations in terms of your specific treatment and exercise protocol, which will explain the frequency and duration of care specific to your individual needs. With a treatment plan, obviously “discounts" will be accorded and this can translate into huge cost-savings in the long run. Most of our patients find this option most cost-effective, as it offers them more costs savings overall.
However, it is always YOUR CHOICE as a patient on how you like to go about managing your care regime both in terms of schedules and finance. If you are more comfortable to go on an “ala-carte” basis and seek our services on a pay-per-visit (PPV) basis, you are more than welcome to. Just be reasonable enough to understand that we cannot accord you the same discounted rate (given to those patients who take up packages) if you choose to go on a pay-per-visit basis. We deem this as fair and sensible and are glad that our existing PPV patients agree as well.
So be assured that you will NOT be forced into buying packages like spas or like how we have been told some clinics may do. To reiterate, the treatment recommendations we give you is based strictly on your examination findings (and x-rays findings if you had one done). It is ALWAYS your choice and decision to decide how you want to manage your careplan. Tell us what works and what does not and we will assist you from there.
Q8: What are your packages like? How many sessions of treatments are there?
A: It varies from individuals to individuals, depending on several factors, namely:
1. The phase of degeneration your spine is in;
2. The amount of trauma it may have gone through over the years;
3. The number of misalignments in your spine and the gravity of these misalignments;
3. How long you have had the problem;
4. Is it an acute or chronic condition; and
5. Finally, what are your personal HEALTH OBJECTIVES?
Meaning, do you want to just get "out of pain" (the "effect” or “symptom"); or do you want a more long-term solution that addresses the root cause of the problem (the "cause"). Let us know what your objectives are and we will work with you on that.
Q9: Can I seek treatment on a Pay-Per-Visit (ala carte or PPV) basis rather than on package?
A: Of course you can. We do not force treatment packages on anyone. Our recommendations are based strictly on your individual examination findings. Please see Q7 for more info.
Q10: Is it true the frequency of visits at the beginning of the treatment regime has to be more intensive?
A: Generally yes, especially if you have never undergone chiropractic treatments before. The reason is simple. Chiropractic is all natural. No surgery, no medication. After each adjustment, one would generally feel good and not as “tight” or “fixated” as before. But after some time, it is very natural for the body to pull itself out of alignment again. Why? Simply because your body is so used being in that old postural pattern that it just wants to go back to that old way. Think of it from a dental perspective, if you wore braces to straighten out your teeth, you would know it is a long-drawn process that can take several years. Now assuming your teeth has just started to straighten out nicely after a few months of daily use, and against the dentist’s advice, you decided to remove your braces prematurely after only half a year. What do you think will happen to your teeth? Well, obviously it will start to get misaligned again. It's common sense, isn’t it?
So apply the same theory and understanding for your spine. How would one, two, or three treatments, far and few in between, supposed to help you hold your corrected alignment? Just as your posture and spine took years to become what it is today, your healing is also a process that will take some time to obtain correction.
When your doctor recommends a more intensive frequency in the initial period, understand that it is not to get more money out from you, as some people would have you believe. But rather, it is just simply how your body heals and strengthens itself bio-mechanically. It will take some time for your body to build and establish the strength and muscle memory to hold itself in the corrected alignment.
Think of the very first time you cycled, bowled, golfed or swam. Was it immediate that your body adapted to the stance, strokes and movements required for a particular sport at the first few attempts? We are pretty sure it took several attempts and frequent practices spanning weeks or even months to perfect the strokes. Why? Because the body is built in such a way that it needs some time and repetition to establish that muscle memory and strength to support those movements. How much time requirved varies from person to person. Apply this same understanding in regards to your spine and posture. Why should it be any different? Again, your biceps, triceps or perhaps even six-pack would have taken you alot of regular and intensive workout sessions right? They wouldn't have appeared after just 2-3 sessions at the gym, would they?
Q11: I have seen some chiropractic clinics run very attractive discounts up to 90% or more off their services. Why are the services in Arc of Life Chiropractic not priced or offered this way?
A: Good question. We are well aware of some clinics advertising their services on commercially-driven coupon-based discount websites which extend seemingly generous discounts. We can totally understand from the perspective of the consumer (patient) how such offers can seem like an absolute good bargain – that is only if the criteria to look for a chiropractor is based solely on cost and cost alone.
At Arc of Life Chiropractic, we place value and confidence in the services we offer. And as a professional healthcare provider, we want to remain professional in the way we present and offer our service to our valued patients. Hence, we have decided a long way back to avoid jumping on the bandwagon of offering such promotional tactics that in our opinion, are bordering on being gimmicky. As healthcare professionals, we do not think it is the right image and impression for our clinic to participate in such schemes. Your spine is such an important part of your body. It is the master controller of your entire body’s system. Do you really want to entrust the care of your spine on the basis of solely a good bargain? Or would you rather be prudent and seek out the services of a professional with extensive experience, recognised credentials and from a clinic built on strong referrals and genuine testimonials from those who have sought their services.
The choice is yours.
Q12: There are so many chiropractors in Singapore. Are all chiropractors the same? Do they all use the same techniques? How do I make my selection on whom to go to?
A: There are many types of chiropractors and many different types of techniques. Just like in massage, you have swedish, shiatsu, javanese, lymphatic, deep tissue, etc.... There is no "best" type of massage, just as there is no "best" type of chiropractic technique; but rather, an individual preference on the part of the chiropractor as to which techniques he/she chooses to specialise in while in college.
In our clinic, our doctor specializes in a variety of techniques and would often cross-merge them to better manage a patient's condition.
In searching for a right chiropractor, besides checking his credentials, qualification and experience level, it is important that you are able to communicate with your doctor and that he listens to you, explains clearly with clear information on your problem and the proposed solution. It is a two-way street and you need to also communicate your personal health objectives and cooperate by disclosing relevant information pertaining to your past medical and trauma history. This helps us manage your case notes and better able to structure your proposed treatment regime. Are you comfortable with the doctor? If you have any questions, ask him. It should be an open door. Is he limited in what he does and what he shares with you? If your doctor has no time to address your concerns or brushes them aside, he may not be the right fit.
Be cautious of chiropractors who constantly discredit other chiropractors based on differences in techniques, interpretation and practice management styles. Be also cautious of those who advertised themselves as being the "best" or the "top" in Singapore. Being the "best" or "top" chiropractor cannot be something self-proclaimed in a paid-for advertisement. It should be something your patients would automatically speak of you. It would be a doctor who has good rapport with his patients and a clinic base built from strong referrals from those patients.
Q13: How are the treatments done?
A: Treatments are all done by hand. (Chiropractic means "done by hand" in Greek). It is not a massage, but rather a spinal manipulation delivered through a quick yet gentle force into precise segments in your body or spine. In our clinic, although our focus is on the spine, we work on the TOTAL BODY CONCEPT. We do not view one part without a co-relation to other parts of the body. Your spine, muscle and ligaments in your body are all related. What happens to one can affect the other and as such, the examination in our clinic is very thorough and comprehensive.
Once we have identified exactly which vertebrae and which related muscle and/or nerve root needs to be worked on, we will work out a treatment protocol as well as a rehabilitative exercise protocol. Treatments (which are called "adjustments") will not be done on the entire spine as surely, not your entire spine is misaligned. Instead, only specific segments that need to be adjusted will be treated. After several adjustments, once your body has somewhat stabilised, we will start teaching you certain rehabilitative exercise to help you strengthen your muscle in order to hold the corrected alignment for longer periods of time. In this way, we can then work towards weaning you off the frequency of your visits as your body strengthens and is better able to hold the corrected alignment for longer periods of time.
Depending on what needs to be adjusted, you will need to lie either face down, face up, or on your side for certain chiropractic manipulations. The doctor will advise you. There is no need to undress. And if you are wearing a skirt, we have blankets to cover you as well. For ladies, there is therefore no need to always wear pants for your treatments. Unless of course it is your preference.
For some patients who require it, the doctor may sometimes use an activator (a small handheld gadget that helps to deliver a more precise line of drive into the body) or some other electronic and/or rehabilitative equipment during treatment. Periodic reviews are also conducted to monitor the patient's progress.
We hope to have addressed your most commonly asked questions. If you still have any unanswered queries, do feel free to drop us an email at info@ArcOfLifeChiropractic.com.sg