Chiropractic - FAQ

Do I need to be a Kaiser Permanente member to receive chiropractic services?

The Kaiser Permanente Center for Complementary Medicine is open to everyone. You do not have to be a Kaiser Permanente member to come to our facilities and receive chiropractic, acupuncture, or massage treatment. Whether you are a member or nonmember, you will receive the same high-quality care.

Do I need a referral from my primary care physician?

No. You may contact the Center for Complementary Medicine directly to learn more about the services provided or to book an appointment.


What is chiropractic?

chiropracticChiropractic is a hands-on therapy based on the theory that subluxations in the spine may cause many medical disorders, especially disorders of the nervous system. Chiropractic medicine originated in the late 1800s in the United States.


Chiropractic treatments usually involve adjusting the joints and bones in a person's spine using twisting, pulling, or pushing movements. Some chiropractors use heat, electrical stimulation, or ultrasound to help relax the surrounding muscles before doing a spinal adjustment.


The primary theory behind chiropractic therapy is that correcting subluxation of the joints, particularly the bones of the spine, can help the body heal itself.


Will I receive any medication for my pain?

Chiropractic doctors rely on natural methods and do not dispense drugs. Your practitioner can show you how to use ice or heat packs to control painful symptoms.


Is chiropractic safe?

Chiropractic treatment is a safe treatment for certain conditions when performed by a licensed and experienced chiropractor who correctly diagnoses the problem. However, an incorrect diagnosis may delay appropriate medical treatment. Although very rare, stroke and spinal cord injury have occurred after cervical (neck) manipulation.


Other side effects may include minor pain or discomfort at the point of manipulation, headaches, and fatigue. Most of these effects go away within a day.


If the chiropractor makes an incorrect diagnosis, chiropractic treatment can be harmful. In rare cases, chiropractic treatment can worsen a herniated or slipped disc. Chiropractic students must have a minimum of three years (90 credits) of undergraduate study before applying to a chiropractic college. Upon completion of a four-year program, the chiropractic student receives a doctor of chiropractic (DC) degree. Chiropractors are licensed in every state and must pass a four-part examination with the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners.


Always tell your primary care doctor if you are using an alternative therapy or if you are thinking about combining an alternative therapy with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an alternative therapy.


How many adjustments will I need?

The number of adjustments varies with each patient and his or her individual health goals.


Can I have chiropractic care after back surgery?

Yes, but because surgery often causes instability above or below the involved level, make sure you talk to your practitioner about your procedure before your chiropractic treatment. Your practitioner will avoid the surgically modified areas of your spine.