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Getting back to basics

Because of the high cost of medical treatment and medications, getting rid of that pain in your neck can be a pain in the neck.

But a visit to the chiropractor can be a safe alternative that may be only a fraction of the cost of surgery.

Dr. Thomas Dunlap has been a chiropractor for 18 years and has his own Joplin practice, Dunlap Chiropractic.

"Primarily we deal with misalignments of the spine that cause pinched nerves, which can cause a variety of problems- anything from back pain, neck pain, headaches or numbness in the arms and legs," Dunlap said. "We treat a lot of people that are in car accidents and related injuries, falls and even sports injuries."

He said that there are many different ways to treat these injuries- everything from ice packs to computer technology that originated with the space program.

"The primary type of care offered through a chiropractic office is through chiropractic adjustments," he said. "Sometimes we employ anything from ice to heat... whatever is appropriate for the patient for their particular problem."

A visit to the chiropractor's office can vary from person to person, depending on the type of injury being treated. But most ailments can be treated in one visit, Dunlap said.

"With most people, it can range anywhere from just a couple of minutes to 15 to 30 minutes depending on the nature... and the severity of the problem," he said. "Some people take only one or two treatments for minor problems and other people take longer. And then some people enjoy getting adjusted and feel so much better with their treatment that they engage in a maintenance type of program where they come in once or twice a month."

Dr. Geoffrey Hilton of Joplin's Hilton Chiropractic, said that not only can chiropractic care help people with neck and back pain, but it can also be used to treat just about anyone.

"Children are marvelous," he said. "They respond so quickly because they are so resilient. They just bounce back really quickly, and they love it because there are no needles.

"We can treat women who are pregnant, too. Blood flow from the spine to the fetus is needed for proper functions and growth."

Dunlap said that chiropractic care is significantly safer than surgery and that most chiropractor visits are a fraction of the cost of a trip to the doctor.

"It is a huge difference, and that is one of the reasons that chiropractic is undergoing such a huge growth at this time," he said. "With increasing co-pays and increasing deductibles, many people are in a situation where they have no insurance, and they are finding that chiropractic is a very sound alternative."

He said that an increasing number of insurance companies are starting to cover chiropractic care.

"One thing that our doctors are trained to do is to make an assessment to see if someone should be treated in a chiropractic setting or in another setting," Dunlap said. "Most insurances cover chiropractic, Medicare covers for chiropractic, auto insurance covers for chiropractic and most work-comp covers chiropractic."

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