Chiropractic - FAQ
Do I need to be a Kaiser Permanente member to receive
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
No. You may contact the Center for Complementary Medicine directly
to learn more about the services provided or to book an
What is chiropractic?
Chiropractic 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
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.
What is chiropractic used for?
Research has shown chiropractic therapy can be effective in
treating lower back pain and to be helpful in treating neck pain
and headaches. The effects of chiropractic treatment on nonspinal
conditions, such as high blood pressure or ear infections, have not
been scientifically proven.
Will I receive any medication for my
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)
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
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
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