If you are comparing treatments for various conditions, you may be considering visiting a chiropractor as an alternative or adjunct to your medical doctor. However, if the chiropractor cost is leaving you mystified, keep reading, so you can learn more about the topic and plan accordingly. There are many factors that go into how much a chiropractor costs and many things you can do that may affect the amount you pay.

chiropractor fees

A Range of Fees

To ask what a chiropractor costs is a bit like asking what it costs to go to the doctor. Everyone's situation is different, and of course, chiropractors are different too.

In general, chiropractic services can cost anywhere from about $30 to several hundred dollars per appointment. The average fee to see a chiropractor is approximately $65 per visit. Certain treatments may be more expensive, and the overall cost may be more if your chiropractor recommends that you need to return for repeat appointments periodically for a certain amount of time.

Let's take a look at factors that affect the cost of a chiropractic treatment so you'll have a better idea where your money is going.

Chiropractor Services

Just like when you go to your regular doctor, a visit to the chiropractor can require different diagnostic and treatment equipment. And just like at the doctor's office, you will pay for these various services whether directly or as part of your total visit cost.

MRI scanning

MRI scanning, also known as magnetic resonance imaging, gives a chiropractor in-depth information about your health, particularly your musculoskeletal system. While an MRI is more costly than many other diagnostic tools, it is very thorough and is often the gold standard for diagnosing numerous conditions. Your chiropractor will probably outsource the MRI scanning to an MRI center near you. MRI tests typically run between $100 and $400, although they may cost more than that in some areas.

Electromyography (EMG)

Surface electromyography, also known as EMG or SMG, measures your muscles’ electrical activity. This can give the chiropractor vital information about how your muscles are used or even muscle atrophy or reduced function due to joint or spinal problems. Electromyography tests usually cost at least $200 and may cost more.

Thermography

Thermography measures the heat and energy that your nerves and other soft tissues give off. The results appear on a map of the body and can indicate certain disorders or corroborate pain and discomfort. For people who cannot be exposed to radiation, such as with x-rays, thermography is a good alternative. A typical thermograph will cost between $200 and $500.

Radiography

Radiography is a general term that often includes several types of medical imaging,  from traditional x-rays that are still in use today to CT scans, also known as computerized tomography. Radiography is an ideal way to get a baseline image of your musculoskeletal system for comparison purposes to use as your treatment progresses. One advantage to x-rays is that they tend to be less expensive, between $50 and $150.

Adjustment tables

Adjustment tables look a bit like special massage tables, and they're used by chiropractors to both perform diagnostic procedures and adjustments (treatments) during appointments. Different techniques can be used while the patient rests on an adjustment table, such as massage and manipulation of the joints. While many chiropractors still use basic manual tables, some use more advanced computerized adjustment tables, which may result in a larger cost for your treatment.

Diathermy

Diathermy uses electromagnetic therapy to heat tissue in the body and help it relax. Often chiropractors use diathermy at the end of treatment after an adjustment as an extra therapy to enhance their work. Heated pads are placed on the skin, much like electrodes for an EKG. Some chiropractors include diathermy in their total treatment cost, while others charge extra for it. Diathermy is generally quite reasonable, and you can expect to pay between $10 and $50 per treatment.

Computerized adjustment

Some chiropractors like to use handheld digital devices that offer minute adjustments for ultra-accurate therapy. These computerized adjustment tools can help your chiropractor zero in on precise treatment areas and provide just the right amount of adjustment or other care. Like diathermy, computerized adjustment is sometimes included in the overall cost of care paid by the patient, but the total cost per appointment may be higher to reflect the use of this type of advanced instrument.

Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is water therapy, given most frequently in a pool or special bath. Sometimes hydrotherapy can be applied with special wraps as well. Some chiropractors alternate using hot and cold water to boost the circulation and provide pain relief. Hydrotherapy systems run the gamut of price and can cost anywhere from $50 to $500 depending on the treatment you receive.

Ultrasound therapy

Ultrasound therapy is an inexpensive treatment that provides great relief for many patients. By passing ultrasonic waves through the body, ultrasound therapy can relieve muscle spasms and even improve how your joints function. Ultrasound therapy is perfect for when you have tight muscle pain, inflammation or poor circulation. The cost of adding ultrasound therapy to an appointment is generally about $20 or $25 per session.

Chiropractic roller

A chiropractic roller table can offer different treatment from the regular adjustment table, and some doctors use it for massage or to provide traction. Although chiropractors generally don't charge per use for it, chiropractic roller table equipment may be reflected in the chiropractor's total fee.

Laser treatment

Laser treatment is often used in the chiropractor's office for sports injuries where there is pain or swelling. The advantage of laser treatment is that the chiropractor can direct pulses of light from the laser to highly specific areas of the body to provide targeted relief. Laser systems are generally pricey, so expect laser therapy to cost at least $200 per treatment.

Electrical muscular stimulation

Electrical muscular stimulation is another treatment that uses electrodes on the skin to transmit energy to the body from a machine. Like some other chiropractic treatments, electrical muscular stimulation can alleviate muscle spasms and help with swelling and pain. You may have heard of a TENS unit which stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulators. A TENS unit is the most widely used form of electrical muscular stimulation. Electrical muscular stimulation can be expensive, up to $250 per treatment, but it can also be as little as $20 per application.

Chiropractor Experience and Credentials

In addition to the various equipment used, the experience and credentials of a chiropractor can also be reflected in their fees, much like going to other health practitioners.

All chiropractors are required to do a certain amount of training, followed by practical work to become accredited. Many chiropractors go on to complete continuing education and updates to their initial training, which may allow them to charge more to their patients. Chiropractors who charge more typically also have more years of experience in treating patients, excellent patient reviews, the recommendation of their peers, and a greater investment in their office equipment and chiropractic technology.

While some patients may balk at paying more to see a chiropractor, remember these practitioners have put in years of education and hours of time learning about new chiropractic diagnostic and treatment modalities. A chiropractor who doesn't charge much per session but who doesn't give you any relief from your chief complaint isn't really a bargain, whereas a chiropractor who charges a bit more per session but who alleviates discomfort or improves the quality of your life is usually well worth it.

Geography

Just like with any other health profession, chiropractic costs are also affected by geography. If you live in an affluent area, expect chiropractic treatments near you to cost more. If you live in a rural area with only one or two chiropractors, you can likewise expect the price to be a little higher because they are in greater demand with little competition.

In urban areas where there are many chiropractors available in a small area, you may find chiropractors competing slightly for price. Where the chiropractor's clinic is located within any given city or town is another factor that influences how much they charge. Depending on your area, it may be more or less expensive to operate a chiropractic clinic in conjunction with a hospital or medical center versus privately in their own office.

Your Lifestyle

Believe it or not, your lifestyle can also affect what you wind up paying a chiropractor. For example, if you adhere to the recommendations that your chiropractor makes and take good care of your health, you may not need as many appointments as someone who is less vigilant about their own well-being.

In addition to chronic conditions that may require long-term chiropractic care, there are certain lifestyles or professions that may also lend themselves the chiropractic treatments that stretch over the course of months or even years, such as dancers, athletes, or other people who make their living engaging in physical labor.

Insurance

Nowadays many insurance plans cover at least part of chiropractic care because it has become an accepted form of complementary medicine. Even Medicaid, Medicare and federal health plans for the military typically cover chiropractic care, and if you have workers compensation programs on the job, they may also cover chiropractic.

It's a good idea before getting any chiropractic treatments to speak with your insurance provider to find out exactly what's covered and what is not. Questions to ask your insurance provider include:

While it's nice to have your insurance cover chiropractic care under most circumstances, the benefit of paying out-of-pocket is that you can choose the provider you like most and even try several chiropractors to find the one that's best for you.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many factors that influence the cost of chiropractic care. In general always ask first, so you know what to expect when it's time to pay. Know what your first appointment will cost, and at the end of that appointment ask your chiropractor what you can expect to pay for subsequent treatments and how often you will need to return.

If your insurance does not cover chiropractic care, and you are paying out-of-pocket, will you be required to pay for care upfront at each appointment, or will the chiropractor invoice you and if so at what intervals? What payment methods, such as checks, cash, debit cards, and credit cards, does the chiropractor accept?

If the chiropractor you really want to see is outside your budget, or if you have a limited selection of chiropractors available in your area, and you simply can't afford them, it's advisable to ask if the chiropractor offers services on a sliding scale or offers payment plans. For really expensive or long-term treatment some chiropractors have financing, much as you might pay for expensive elective dental procedures or orthodontic care. For this type of financing, expect to fill out some paperwork and to disclose some basic financial information. You may also need to verify your employment, particularly if the chiropractor is using a third party to provide financing.

It's great if a chiropractor can offer you affordable care, but be wary of discount chiropractors who provide cheap coverage to everyone. Always ask about a prospective chiropractor’s credentials (any good chiropractor will readily provide them), and avoid chiropractors who may be unqualified or even dangerous. Still have questions about how much seeing a chiropractor costs? Contact us at True Spine Chiropractic today, and we'll be happy to answer any questions you have.

The National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA) chiropractic method is a technique developed by Dr. Ralph Gregory. It focuses on the upper cervical area of the spine, more commonly known as the neck. Problems in this area of your spine can lead to a host of complications, making it a common target for chiropractic treatments. Here's what you need to know about the NUCCA method and how it works. 

History of NUCCA 

Back in 1941, Dr. Gregory first met Dr. John Francis Grostic. Dr. Grostic suffered from Hodgkin's disease, making correctiveadjustments in the upper spine challenging as not all chiropractors have theskills or expertise to perform such precise adjustments. After Dr. Gregoryprovided Dr. Grostic with an adjustment, the two became friends and beganworking together to refine Dr. Gregory's method. 

In the past, both doctors had practiced adjustments for the entire spine, but they shared a particular interest in the upper cervical spine. Working together, they developed a more accurate system for performing adjustments to the vertebrae of the neck, making use of advances in x-ray technology. However, this method was not as accurate as the two would have liked so they continued to innovate. 

They developed the original prototype for what is now known as a cephalometer, a device designed to establish a central skull line around which to base other measurements. This method was much more consistent than previous techniques and remains so to this day. As they perfected the device, they were able to learn even more about upper cervical spine alignment, enhancing their research even further. 

After Dr. Grostic's death in 1964, Dr. Gregory teamed upwith other chiropractors to form the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). The organization also established the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research Association (NUCCRA) to handle ongoing research and development in thechiropractic industry. 

NUCCA Chiropractic

About the Upper Cervical Spine

Your upper cervical spine plays a role in a variety of other areas of your body, not just the neck. These vertebrae protect your brain stem, which connects your brain to the rest of your central nervous system. Misalignment in this area can inhibit the nerves in your neck, making it difficult for them to send signals to the rest of your body. Your muscles may overcompensate for the misalignment, causing muscular and structural imbalances throughout your body. 

These imbalances can lead to a variety of undesirable physical conditions, including: 

Problems in your upper cervical spine can also impact your mental health, as can the physical conditions that result from them. These can include depression, anxiety and other mental health complications. 

While the NUCCA chiropractic method can't treat these mental conditions and physical ailments directly, it can remedy the problem that isthe root cause: misalignment in the upper cervical spine. As a result, you'lllikely see a reduction in or even complete elimination of your othersymptoms. 

The NUCCA Chiropractic Method 

The NUCCA method involves using a gentle touch to manipulate the bones in the neck to eliminate any interference in your spinal column. It is a non-invasive procedure so there is no need to prepare for the treatment or recover afterward. Your chiropractor will make use of innovative technology to map your head and neck to enable precise measurement and analysis of anymis alignment. 

Once your chiropractor has a firm understanding of your specific misalignment, there won't be any need for future x-rays. Instead, your doctor will be able to evaluate your posture in order to identify any lingering misalignment. If you have been seeing another chiropractor for frequent adjustments to the bones in your neck, you'll likely be able to free yourself of this obligation as well. Once your spine is in proper alignment, the rest of your body can begin to fall into place, normalizing your body's function and preventing the need for future corrections. 

What to Expect at an Appointment with a NUCCA Chiropractor

During your first NUCCA chiropractic appointment, the majority of your doctor's efforts will focus on getting to know you, your body and any negative symptoms you are experiencing. It is important to be as forthcoming and open as possible during this initial intake process. The more your chiropractor knows about your physical condition and overall health, the better they will be able to treat you, so don't be shy about speaking up. 

Your doctor may delve into your medical history as well. Past incidents like car accidents, surgeries and other injuries could have long-lasting effects that influence the alignment of your spine. It's important to take everything into account. After talking with your chiropractor for awhile, you'll move on to taking specific measurements for analysis. 

Diagnostic Testing

In most cases, your chiropractor will start with an x-ray of your head and neck area to view the specific alignment of your vertebrae. The goal is to determine whether there are any significant imbalances that require correction. From these x-rays, your doctor will be able to measure anymis alignment precisely in order to develop a treatment plan. Your chiropractor will also be able to use these measurements and x-rays to gauge your progress going forward as you have now established a baseline from which to work. 

In addition to x-rays, many chiropractors like to use other diagnostic tools as well to create a more complete picture. The Anatometer is a device endorsed by NUCCA that enables your doctor to evaluate your standing posture. Any misalignment or imbalance in your body will be revealed, giving your doctor a complete analysis of your entire body, not just your upper cervical spine. 

The Gravity Stress Analyzer is another commonly used tool that measures how your body distributes its weight between your feet. More weight on one side than the other can indicate imbalances that will require attention in the future. Some doctors also use hip calipers to measure the alignment of your hips. Any imbalances in this area can radiate outwards through your body, potentially causing issues in your spine or legs. 

Finally, your chiropractor will perform a test for what is known as "short leg phenomenon." This common leg-length imbalance is not actually caused by one leg being shorter than the other; rather, one leg can appear to be shorter if the hips are imbalanced. To check for this imbalance, your doctor will have you lie on an adjusting table so they can evaluate the lengths of your legs in comparison to one another. 

nucca

Evaluating Your Initial Diagnostics

After this initial round of diagnostic testing, it is time to determine whether you are a candidate for NUCCA chiropractic care. Although just about anyone can receive chiropractic treatments following the NUCCAmethod, it will be more effective in treating some conditions than others. Your chiropractor can advise you as to whether NUCCA chiropractic treatment makes sense for your particular misalignment. 

After approving you for NUCCA treatments, your chiropractor will get into the details of evaluating your x-rays and other diagnostic tests. This will involve mathematically analyzing your test results to determine the best course of treatment. Once you have agreed to begin your treatment, your chiropractor will perform your first spinal adjustment, to be discussed in the next section. 

After your adjustment, your doctor will take another set of x-rays to evaluate how your spine responded to the initial adjustment and determine if additional corrections are needed to get your neck into proper alignment. If you are concerned about having multiple x-rays taken and the effect of the radiation on your body, there is no need. NUCCA chiropractors utilize low-technique settings and install specialized filters to minimize your exposure. 

Your First NUCCA Chiropractic Adjustment 

For your initial spinal correction, the chiropractor will have you lie on the adjusting table. They will then direct you into a precise position through your head and neck to enable the doctor to manipulate your vertebrae. This position is completely unique to your treatment plan as it is based on the measurements from your x-rays. Even the positioning of your chiropractor during the adjustment is tailored to your specific needs. 

Once you and your chiropractor are in position, they will hold their hand near your ear, which is near the location of your first neck vertebra. Using a light touch and subtle motions, your doctor will carefully realign your spinal bones. You won't feel any rapid, jerking motions or heavy pressure, but you may feel a bit of light pressure under your doctor's fingers. 

In most cases, the adjustment will only take a few minutes to complete. It is surprising just how little the vertebrae actually have to be moved in order to alleviate pressure on your spinal nerves. You may not feel any different at first but you can rest assured that you will begin to feel the positive effects going forward, especially if you continue with treatment over the long term. 

Evaluating Your Follow-Up X-Rays

As mentioned above, your chiropractor will take another round of x-rays after your first adjustment. Your doctor will then be able to compare them against your initial x-rays to see how your body responded. In most cases, this will only occur after your initial correction as your doctor will then have a foundation to work from going forward. Future appointments can then focus on maintenance. 

If your chiropractor concludes that you need additional adjustments to get your spine into proper alignment, they'll likely readjust you, then check again. The better the initial alignment, the faster you will beable to recover from what ails you. Once your spine is properly aligned, your chiropractor will schedule you for a follow-up appointment. 

Every person's body is unique and heals in its own way, at its own pace. The goal of each follow-up appointment will be to evaluate how your body has responded to the adjustments. Your doctor will also determine if your vertebrae have begun to shift back towards misalignment, making additional adjustments as needed to get your spine aligned properly once more. 

The longer your spine stays in proper alignment, the easier it will be for your body to recover. Any future adjustments you'll need will be more minor than your initial adjustments as they are merely maintaining proper spinal alignment, not establishing it in the first place. With ongoing treatment, the ultimate goal is to get your spine so healthy that you no longer need adjustments at all! 

Who Can Receive NUCCA Chiropractic Treatments 

Because the NUCCA method employs such a light touch, this style of treatment is suitable for just about anyone, regardless of age and overall health. Getting regular NUCCA adjustments can help you maintain your health throughout your entire life. The treatment approach is uniquely tailored to each individual, minimizing the risk of any complications and enhancing your body's ability to keep itself as healthy as possible. 

Of course, not all health conditions can be treated with chiropractic care, so it is still important to keep up with appointments with your primary physician in order to monitor your whole health, not just the health of your spine. Working in tandem, traditional medical care and NUCCAchiropractic treatment will keep you in the best possible health for as long asyou live. 

Get Started with NUCCA Chiropractic Today

At True Spine Chiropractic, we are proud to follow the NUCCA method in delivering chiropractic care to our patients. If you are unsure whether NUCCA chiropractic is right for you, we will be more than happy to answer all of your questions. Using our convenient online booking tool, you can schedule your initial consultation right away! Our chiropractors are compassionate and caring, and we'll always treat you with dignity and respect. We welcome you to book your free, no-obligation consultation with us. Your doctor will go over the details of the procedure with you before getting started so you know exactly what to expect. Call or book online today!

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