Frequently Asked Questions

What is chiropractic?

Gentle and Effective Health Care
Chiropractic is a branch of the healing arts which is based on the scientific principle that our nervous system controls or influences the function of all 11 trillion interconnected cells in our body. It is a health profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of those disorders on the nervous system and general health. It is a natural, drug-free, non-surgical approach to health care. The profession's central interest has always been the relationship between impaired movement of the spinal vertebrae and the nervous system. The term "chiropractic" comes from the Greek word "cheiro and praktikos" meaning "done by hand."

Treatment
Treatment is delivered through joint adjustment or spinal manipulation, supplemented by physiotherapeutics, exercise and nutrition.

Chiropractic Philosophy
The chiropractic philosophy is centered on the belief that the body has a natural or innate ability to heal itself. The chiropractor assists the body by removing interference from the nervous system through manipulation and allowing the body to heal itself. The focus of chiropractic is on treating the underlying cause of the problem rather than treating just the symptoms.

Effective For All Joints
Chiropractic care is not limited to your spine. Today's chiropractors are educated and trained to treat any joint in the body, including elbows, wrists, knees, ankles, toes, hips and even the jaw. Any place in the body you can find a joint, you can be adjusted.

Importance of Aligned Spine
The spinal cord has 31 pairs of spinal nerves which exit form the spinal column (back bone). The brain and spinal cord are encased by the 24 movable spinal vertebrae and skull. Limitation to the nervous system can occur when spinal biomechanics are compromised, and thus not functioning properly. Spinal nerves which exit the vertebrae of the spine not only innervate the muscles, ligaments, bones and tendons, but also innervate all of the internal organs and have both a direct and indirect effect on your health picture.

Effect of Compromised Nerves
Even a slight displacement of the vertebrae, which doctors of chiropractic call a “subluxation,” can cause interference with the spinal cord and nerves. This can lower the body's resistance to disease and cause aches, pains, headaches and other disorders.  

What can I expect on my first visit?

Arriving at a doctor's office for the first time can be a nerve racking experience. Paperwork to fill out, new faces and names to learn, and getting to know your way around the office; this can hit the senses all at the same time causing overload.

In contrast, at O'Malley Health & Wellness Center our aim is to remove any stresses causing unnessesary tension and make you feel totally comfortable in our office. On our homepage you will find a link to download and print up the new patient forms necessary for your visit prior to arriving at our office. This will let you fill them out in the comfort of your home.

Your first visit consultation provides time for you to get acquainted with the doctor and privately discuss your current heatlh concerns and condition.  A complete history of your complaints will be taken, including when they first started, what happened, previous injuries, prior treatments, your past medical history and family history.  All questions are designed to help determine the nature of your illness so that we may help you.   Also, insurance companies require that we gather comprehensive information regarding your condition and/or injury.  A complete physical examination (computerized postural analysis, screening tests, orthopedic tests, neurologic tests and spinal examination) will be performed.  X-rays may also be taken as they can reveal fractures, spinal misalignments, degenerative changes, joint and bone disease, congenital anommalies and other underlying causes of your condition so please dress comfortably. The first visit is typically an hour long appointment.  Physiotherapeutic modalities (ice, heat, electric muscle stimulation, biofreeze pain gel) may be used on this visit to provide some relief.

On the following day or within days of your initial visit, you will be in for a report of findings (which is about 30 minutes) in which we will review all exam findings and explain fully what can be done to ensure the improvement of your condition.  This is typically when you receive your first adjustment/spinal manipulation at our office and when further recommendations for care are made.

Will my insurance cover chiropractic care?

Most insurance plans are accepted at our office.  A great number of our patients have insurance coverage that covers a portion of their care.  We accept Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, First Health, GIC, Harvard Pilgrim, Mass Health, Medicare, Multiplan, PHCS, Tufts, United Healthcare, Auto Accidents and Workers Compensation. Since there are so many plans and coverage varies widely, please call us to find out if your plan covers care in our office. 

If you have no insurance or you have little or no chiropractic benefits on your insurance plan, there is still a way for you to receive the care you need; flexible payment programs can be arranged. Many patients pay directly for care as they discover chiropractic to be extremely cost-effective and affordable.

At O'Malley Health & Wellness Center we're convinced that a small amount of your time and money to care for your most important assets -- your health -- will be far less time consuming and expensive than trying to recover it. If you feel you do not have enough time or money to take care of yourself, please contact us-- we can help! The last thing we want is for you to come to our wellness center in crisis. So please, we would like to encourage you to take your health very seriously.

As the old saying goes, "If you don't have your health, you don't have anything." Unfortunately, too many people won't discover how true that statement is until it is too late. Call our office today to schedule an appointment.  

What kind of education & training do doctors of chiropractic have?

Before entering chiropractic college, one must complete, at a minimum, a 2 year pre-professional study with many chiropractic colleges and universities requiring a 4 year undergraduate basic science degree.  Chiropractors receive a post-graduate education that includes evaluation and care for the body with special emphasis on neuromusculo-skeletal diagnosis and treatment.  Preparation for the practice of chiropractic is concentrated on three areas of learning; basic training in the biological and health sciences (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, biomechanics, clinical and radiological diagnosis); specialized training in the chiropractic discipline (theoretical studies, practice of specific techniques, diagnosis and applications); and extensive clinical and practical training with patients.  A one-year clinical internship must be completed prior to graduation in order to attain the Doctor of Chiropractic degree.  Chiropractors must also pass four demanding national board examinations in order to practice. 

Just like medical doctors, chiropractors are professionals that are subject to the same type of testing procedures, licensing and monitoring by state and national peer-reviewed boards. Federal and state programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Workers' Compensations programs cover chiropractic care, and all federal agencies accept sick-leave certificates signed by doctors of chiropractic.

The biggest difference between chiropractors and medical doctors lies not in their level of education, but in their preferred method of caring for people. Medical doctors are trained in the use of medicines (chemicals that affect your internal biochemistry) and surgery. Consequently, if you have a chemical problem, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, or an infection, medical doctors can be very helpful. However, if your problem is that your spine is mis-aligned or you have soft tissue damage causing pain, there is no chemical in existence that can fix it. You need a physical solution to correct a physical problem. That is where chiropractic really shines. Chiropractors provide physical solutions -- adjustments, exercises, stretches, muscle therapy -- to help the body heal from conditions that are physical in origin, such as back pain, muscle spasms, headaches, and poor posture. Another distinction is the fact that it is completely appropriate to receive chiropractic care even if you do not have symptoms. Unlike standard medical doctors, whom you visit when you have a symptom to be treated, chiropractors offer adjustments to improve spinal alignment and overall well-being before symptoms develop.

Do I have to keep coming back for treatment?

This statement comes up frequently when the topic of chiropractic is discussed. It is only partially true. For people simply choosing to get out of pain or discomfort for the moment, our techniques and policies certainly allow you to do just that. Many people choose to have their problems corrected, which takes more time and commitment, depending on how severe and long-standing their condition is. 

You only have to continue going to the chiropractor as long as you wish to maintain the health of your neuromusculoskeletal system. Going to a chiropractor is much like going to the dentist, exercising at a gym, or eating a healthy diet: As long as you keep it up, you continue to enjoy the benefits. Many years ago, dentists convinced everyone that the best time to go to the dentist is before your teeth hurt, that routine dental care will help your teeth remain healthy for a long time. The same is true of chiropractic care for your spine. It is important to remember that, just like your teeth, your spine experiences normal wear and tear as you walk, drive, sit, lift, sleep, and bend. Routine chiropractic care can help you feel better, move with more freedom, and stay healthier throughout your lifetime. Although you can enjoy the benefits of chiropractic care even if you receive care for a short time, the real benefits come into play when you make chiropractic care a part of your wellness lifestyle.

At O`Malley Health & Wellness Center, we make the greatest effort to inform you of all your options, so you can make a more informed decision with your health.  Only you can make the ultimate decision of how long and to what extent you will benefit from chiropractic care.

Is chiropractic safe?

Chiropractic has an excellent safety record.  The risk factor as reported by most sources is estimated to be one million to one.  At our office, we take a thorough history and utilize other screening procedures to insure that everyone we treat are good candidates to receive care.  We also alter our techniques, when appropriate, based on the individual`s needs.

Are the adjustments painful?

The majority of patients do not report any pain or discomfort with chiropractic adjustments.  A few patients may experience a minor amount of discomfort during the adjustment, which lasts only seconds in an effort to correct misalignments that may have been present for years.  The discomfort some may have following their first few adjustments can be compared to the soreness experienced after beginning a new workout program.   

Why is it important to restore the curve in my neck?

Your neck was created with a built-in shock absorber called a curve or lordosis.  This curve acts like a spring and absorbs the shock of your head resting on your neck.  Once your neck loses its normal curve, the ligaments supporting your neck become stretched and your neck, upper back and shoulder muscles tire easily as they attempt to hold your head in the proper position.  Initially, this results in achiness in the neck and upper back, as well as tension-type headaches.  If left uncorrected, painful conditions such as muscle spasms, disc herniations, fibromyalgia, chronic headaches, early degenerative changes and arthritis can arise.   

Why should I have chiropractic care during my pregnancy?

Establishing pelvic balance and alignment is another reason to obtain chiropractic care during pregnancy. When the pelvis is misaligned it may reduce the amount of room available for the developing baby. This restriction is called intrauterine constraint. A misaligned pelvis may also make it difficult for the baby to get into the best possible position for delivery. With a balanced pelvis, babies have a greater chance of moving into the correct position for birth, and the crisis and worry associated with breech and posterior presentations may be avoided altogether. Optimal baby positioning at the time of birth also eliminates the potential for dystocia (difficult labor) and therefore results in easier and safer deliveries for both the mother and baby. Potential benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy include:

  • Maintaining a healthier pregnancy
  • Controlling symptoms of nausea
  • Reducing the time of labor and delivery
  • Relieving back, neck or joint pain
  • Prevent a potential cesarean section

During pregnancy, there are several physiological and endocrinological changes that occur in preparation for creating the environment for the developing baby. The following changes could result in a misaligned spine or joint:

  • Protruding abdomen and increased back curve
  • Pelvic changes
  • Postural adaptations

All chiropractors are trained to work with women who are pregnant. Investing in the fertility and pregnancy wellness of women who are pregnant or trying to conceive is a routine treatment for most chiropractors. There are no known contraindications to chiropractic care throughout pregnancy.

Dr. Kathleen O'Malley is certified in the Webster Technique for pregnant women, which has been proven to balance the pelvis in preparation for birth. Dr.O'Malley has been trained to work with pregnant women and uses pillows and tables that adjust for a pregnant woman's body and uses techniques that avoid unneeded pressure on the abdomen. You will also be provided with exercises and stretches that are safe to use during pregnancy and compliment any adjustments made to your spine.

Is Chiropractic care safe for children?

The idea of chiropractic care for babies and children is new for many people, but it has been going on for over 100 years.  The I.C.P.A. has initiated a ground breaking study on the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic care for children. The preliminary results are outstanding and show that chiropractic care is safe for children. Even more significant is that parents reported three unexpected imporvements with their children's care:

1- Improved sleeping
2- improved behavior and attitude
3- improved immune system function.

So how does Chiropractic help children suffering from a condition which does not seem related to their back? (e.g. Asthma, Colic, Ear infections, ADHD, Crohn’s Disease, etc.)

You may be surprised to learn that Chiropractic care is not the treatment of any particular condition. The purpose of Chiropractic is to make certain the body functions without interference. In order to understand what this means you first understand the following four principles.

  1. The body is a self-healing organism, designed to heal itself.
  2. This mechanism is controlled by the nervous system and as long as nothing interferes with that function, we experience optimal health.
  3. If something interferes with the nervous system, our ability to heal ourselves is interrupted.
  4. The mission of Chiropractic is to remove that interference and restore health.

In dealing with children who are affected by conditions such as Asthma, Colic, ADHD, or Ear infections our primary mission is to help the child’s body function optimally. This is achieved by restoring the system which runs it, the nervous system. So, Chiropractic is not directed at any condition, rather, it is directed at the interference to the child’s health, Subluxation.

 Articles & News Clips

1. Why should children have chiropractic care?

2. Can chiropractic care help ADHD?

3. Can ear infections also be treated?

         Is Chiropractic all I need to do to keep myself healthy?

No, unfortunately it is not that simple. We should all live a balanced life to obtain optimal health. Many factors determine our overall health. These include: diet, exercise, proper rest, emotional and spiritual support, and a properly functioning nervous system. If one of these areas is disrupted, you may not experience optimal health.

Should I be evaluated after a minor accident?

Even what seems to be a minor automobile accident can have major ill effects on your health.  It may be weeks, months, even years before the problem shows up.  When an automobile is struck by another or involved in a crash, thousands of pounds of force can be exerted upon the neck and spine of the passengers.  The head, which is very heavy compared to the neck, is thrust toward the hitting vehicle.  The muscles often stretch and react with a violent muscle spasm in the opposite direction.  The painful result is damage to the muscles, ligaments, nerves, and at times, broken bones.  Treatment is necessary to realign the spine and restore integrity to the affected ligaments , muscles and joints.

What other treatments do chiropractors give?

At O'Malley Health & Wellness Center we use natural therapies including heat and cold. We also use other forms of physiologic therapies include electrical stimulation, ultrasound and traction.

What conditions benefit from chiropractic care?

Although chiropractic is used most frequently to relieve low back and neck pain, studies have found it to be effective for a variety of conditions, including headaches, arm and shoulder pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, ear infections and infantile colic. Other commonly seen conditions at our office include forward head posture, sciatica, disc problems, hip pain, whiplash and other auto-related injuries, chronic muscle tightness and scoliosis.

Following is a basic list of just some of the conditions that have been corrected through proper Chiropractic care:

Pain: Chronic Pain • Arm Pain • Shoulder Pain • Hip Pain • Elbow Pain • Leg Pain • Back Pain • Neck Pain • Foot Pain • Heal Pain • Knee Pain • Wrist Pain • Bursitis • Carpel Tunnel Syndrome • Headaches • Migraines Muscle Spasms • Numbness • PMS • Sciatica • Scoliosis • Sinusitis • Slipped Disc • TMJ • Whiplash • Golf Related Pain • Arthritis Pain

General: Allergies • Dizziness • fatigue in muscles or tendons • Muscular aching, burning, throbbing, shooting, stiffness or stabbing • Muscle twitching • Numbness and tingling sensations • Tingling, burning or aching feelings in the calves, thighs, or feet • Restless legs/feet • Lack of energy • Morning stiffness • Wake up not feeling refreshed • Difficulty concentrating • Difficulty thinking • Memory loss • Recurrent migraine or tension-type headaches • Depression • Anxiety • Constipation, diarrhea, abdominal gas, nausea, or heartburn • Strong urge to urinate, or pain in the bladder • Abdominal pain • Diarrhea and/or constipation • Swelling in fingers or toes, or any type of joint swelling.

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms we invite you to call our office and make an appointment today.  

Articles & News Clips

1. Could a neck adjustment lower your blood pressure? 

2. Are you Toxic? 

3.  "It’s the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me!”  TV host Montel Williams, who suffers from MS, explains after less than two weeks of chiropractic care. 

4.  Check out these patient testimonies about receiving Chiropractic care for their Vertigo as seen on WCVB channel 5 Chronicle Wednesday on December 3rd....