Top Chiropractors 2013


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Watching your back — and everything else: Chiropractors offer cost-efficient, patient-centered care

How many times have you heard friends say that they only got relief from their back problem after they saw a chiropractor? They've tried every medication, every back-strengthening exercise, every shot they could stand, and maybe even surgery. Yet once they were under the care of a chiropractor, their whole outlook changed. Most of the time, they regret being stubborn and waiting so long to make that first appointment.

Almost everyone knows someone who's been to a chiropractor for back pain, but did you know that chiropractors are also important primary care practitioners? While public interest in complementary and alternative medicine has risen in the past 20 years, chiropractors are the natural choice for addressing many factors that affect overall health — including nutrition, exercise, and pain. Maintaining good health through the proper use of the body is what chiropractors are trained to do. As more Americans rethink medicine and look toward natural healing, it seems only fitting that chiropractors are fulfilling their need.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, an estimated 8.6 percent of adults in the United States use chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation. Studies have shown that health care plans that offer reimbursement for chiropractic services show lower insurance payments than those plans with medical-only options. When reining in health care costs is on the national agenda, it makes sense both fiscally and physically to seek out the benefits of chiropractic care.

In Michigan, there are approximately 3,000 chiropractors licensed to diagnose, treat, and prevent neuromusculoskeletal disorders. According to the Michigan Association of Chiropractors, the care involves manipulation and adjustment of the joints, and therapy to promote spinal integrity. Chiropractors treat individuals for pain including headaches, joint pain, neck pain, low-back pain, and sciatica. They also treat osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, sprains and strains, and a variety of other non-neuromusculoskeletal conditions.

The chiropractic philosophy is based on the idea that when nerves emerging from the spinal cord are compromised — known as a "subluxation" — the affected individual might experience pain, disability, and an overall decrease in their quality of life. A chiropractor uses a spinal adjustment or manipulation to try to restore normal nerve function, paving the way for the body to heal itself.

Although back pain is the primary reason why people make an initial visit to a chiropractor, it's not the only reason they stay. Wellness visits on a regular basis are shown to help those with a desire for improved athletic performance. Chiropractic care also has the potential to help reduce headaches, enhance the immune system, and help curb high blood pressure.

While the nervous and musculoskeletal systems are the primary concern for the chiropractor, he or she is most interested in the interrelationship among other body systems. Misalignments can lead to many problems and are often not considered by mainstream practitioners when diagnosing the source of their patients' complaints. Chiropractors try to help the body correct these conditions itself, or offer a patient advice on getting treatment from other health professionals.

Chiropractors follow a similar course of study to that of allopathic (M.D.) and osteopathic (D.O.) doctors, but chiropractors use no medicines or surgery. A chiropractor may use massage, mobilization, heat, cold, ultrasound, light (e.g., infrared), water, traction, decompression, taping, and rehabilitative exercises, in addition to low-velocity or high-velocity manipulations or adjustments of the spine. Interestingly, in the past decade, chiropractors are increasingly in practice with or working in consultation with M.D.s or D.O.s specializing in neurosurgery, orthopedics, and physical medicine and rehabilitation. After all, many doctors have personally benefited from chiropractic care.

Chiropractic care is reimbursed by many private insurance companies as well as government health care programs, including Medicare and workers' compensation.

It is recognized by many established medical groups, including the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health. Studies in peer-reviewed journals continue to produce data that points to the effectiveness of chiropractic care. For most of us, you need only look to a friend who has a chiropractor they are longing to recommend to you to see that it works.

Most chiropractors are general practitioners, but they can also specialize in:

Acupuncture — A family of procedures that stimulate points on the body using a variety of techniques. The technique that is most commonly used and has been studied scientifically uses thin needles inserted into the skin that are manipulated by hand or with electricity.

Diagnostic Imaging (Radiology) — The interpretation of X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) to assess the condition and location of bones and tissue inside the body.

General Practice — This type of chiropractor is like an internal medicine, family practice, or pediatric physician who can oversee a patient's overall health. Chiropractors refer patients for conditions they are unable to help.

Neurology — This specialty is concerned with the brain, spinal cord, and nerves.

Nutrition — All chiropractors are knowledgeable about nutrition and its effects on health, but this subspecialist has completed additional education and certification.

Occupational Health — This specialty focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs that maintain and enhance employee health, improve safety, and increase productivity.

Orthopedics — Orthopedic chiropractors focus on the prevention and correction of disorders and conditions of the bones and associated muscles, joints, and ligaments.

Pediatrics — About 3 percent of American children had seen a chiropractor in the past year, according to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey.

Physiological Therapeutics and Rehabilitation — Whether the body has been damaged from a sports injury, a stroke, or a motor vehicle accident, these specialists can help with returning it to optimal function.

Sports — Proper body mechanics, and strategies to increase athletic performance and help with injuries are an important part of this specialty's practice.

Hour Detroit's Top Chiropractors list is based on a peer-review survey conducted by Professional Research Company of Royal Oak, Mich. Participants cast thousands of votes honoring excellence in chiropractic services. Professionals are screened and selected through the verification of licensing and review of any infractions through various applicable boards, agencies, and rating services. Inclusion in the listings cannot be purchased. It is solely the result of PRS's research. For further information, visit or e-mail PRS at