The most often asked questions about chiropractors, chiropractic or ICC.

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What is chiropractic?

Chiropractic is based on the scientific fact that your body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism. The brain, spinal cord, and all the nerves of the body control these important functions. The skull protects the delicate tissue of the brain. The moving bones of the spine protect the vulnerable communication pathways of the spinal cord and nerve roots. If the nervous system is impaired, it can cause malfunction of the tissues and the organs throughout the body. Doctors call this the Vertebral Subluxation Complex. Vertebral, meaning the bones of the spine. Subluxation, meaning less than a total dislocation. And complex, meaning consisting of more then one part. Chiropractic is the science of locating offending spinal structures, the art of reducing their impact to the nervous system, and the philosophy of all things natural.

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What conditions do chiropractors treat?

Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) care for patients of all ages, with a variety of health conditions. DCs are especially well known for their expertise in caring for patients with back pain, neck pain and headaches…particularly with their highly skilled manipulations or chiropractic adjustments. They also care for patients with a wide range of injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, involving the muscles, ligaments and joints. These painful conditions often involve or impact the nervous system, which can cause referred pain and dysfunction distant to the region of injury. The benefits of chiropractic care extend to general health issues, as well, since our body structure affects our overall function. DCs also counsel patients on diet, nutrition, exercise, healthy habits, and occupational and lifestyle modification.

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Is chiropractic treatment safe?

Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal complaints. Although chiropractic has an excellent safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects. The risks associated with chiropractic, however, are very small. Many patients feel immediate relief following chiropractic treatment, but some may experience mild soreness, stiffness or aching, just as they do after some forms of exercise. Current research shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours.
Neck pain and some types of headaches are treated through precise cervical manipulation. Cervical manipulation, often called a neck adjustment, works to improve joint mobility in the neck, restoring range of motion and reducing muscle spasm, which helps relieve pressure and tension. Neck manipulation, when performed by a skilled and well-educated professional such as a doctor of chiropractic, is a remarkably safe procedure.


How does chiropractic work?

Chiropractic works by restoring your own inborn ability to be healthy. When under the proper control of your nervous system, all the cells, tissues, and organs of your body are designed to resist disease and ill health. The chiropractic approach to better health is to locate and help remove interferences to your natural state of being healthy. A common interference to the nervous system is dysfunction of the 24 moving bones of the spinal column. A loss of normal motion or position of these bones can irritate or impair the function of the nervous system. This can disrupt the transmission of controlling nerve impulses. With improved spinal function there is often improved nervous system function. Your chiropractic doctor can help remove interferences that may be impairing normal health. Since the primary focus of your care is improved nervous system function, chiropractic can have a positive effect on many health conditions not normally thought of as “back” problems.

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What type of education and training do chiropractors have?

Doctors of chiropracticare educated as primary-contact health care providers, with an emphasis on diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to the musculoskeletal system (the muscles, ligaments and joints of the spine and extremities) and the nerves that supply them. Educational requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions. The typical applicant for chiropractic college has already acquired nearly four years of pre-medical undergraduate college education, including courses in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, psychology and related lab work. Once accepted into an accredited chiropractic college, the requirements become even more demanding — four to five academic years of professional study are the standard. Doctors of chiropractic are educated in orthopedics, neurology, physiology, human anatomy, clinical diagnosis including laboratory procedures, diagnostic imaging, exercise, nutrition rehabilitation and more. Because chiropractic care includes highly skilled manipulation/adjusting techniques, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical technique training to master these important manipulative procedures. In total, the chiropractic college curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience. The course of study is approved by an accrediting agency that is fully recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

New Chiropractic Patients

What Should I Expect During My 1st Chiropractic Appointment?

The initial chiropractic visit consists of a thorough health history and physical examination followed by a diagnosis and treatment. Let’s talk about what you can expect from your first chiropractic visit in greater detail, one component at a time.

During your visit, Dr. Ryan Russell will conduct a physical examination to evaluate your condition(s)—the examination will be comfortable and non-invasive. Physical exams can test muscle tone, muscle strength, posture, range of motion and neurological integrity.

Depending on your unique condition(s), the chiropractor may also use additional diagnostic tools to more accurately understand what needs to be treated. The most common diagnostic tools are x-ray and MRI. Any tests that can’t be performed at Integrative Chiropractic in Hoover will be referred to a proper diagnostic center.

Once Dr. Russell gathers the results from your physical examination and any diagnosis tests that may have been made, he will discuss your treatment options. If Dr. Russell believes that chiropractic can help you, he will begin treatment immediately. However, if he feels that your health needs would be better met by a different healthcare provider, a referral will be made.

Dr. Russell and his staff care deeply about each of their patients, and every visit will be centered around your unique needs – your first visit is no exception to that rule.

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How Should I Prepare for My First Appointment with a Chiropractor?

1. Download and complete our New Patient Forms. These forms are available at our office should you not be able to complete them beforehand. If you are completing paperwork at our office, please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time.
2. We recommend that you wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes to your first visit.
3. Bring any past test results you have, if applicable.*
4. Bring any imaging studies and reports (x-rays, CT scans, MRIs) that have been performed, if applicable.*

*If you do not have these reports, we can help you request them from the facility that performed the test(s). Please call us at 205-637-1363 or email Bobbie at

Does Health Insurance Cover Chiropractic Care?

Absolutely! A common misconception of chiropractic is that it is a luxury which is not covered in your health insurance policy. Actually chiropractic appointments, care and massage therapy are often covered in full, or at least partially, with most health care policies. There are a few ways that you can find out if your chiropractic care will be covered by insurance.

  • Call Integrative Chiropractic Center: Finding out whether your insurance is accepted or not is the first step many will need to take. Call us and provide information about your insurance policy, as well as the insurance providers with whom we have worked in the past.
  • Check Your Health Insurance Policy: If you’re not sure whether or not your insurance policy covers chiropractic, then you need to look over your policy. Your insurance agent should be able to help you find out whether you are covered in your current policy or not.
And, What If I Do Not Have Health Insurance?

Our number one goal is to take care of you and help you be well. At ICC, we are strong believers in the efficacy of chiropractic care, and we do our best to ensure that everyone can afford visits to see Dr. Russell.

Is Chiropractic Treatment Safe for Pregnant Women?

Many pregnant women have been treated at Integrative Chiropractic Center by Dr. Ryan Russell, D.C. In fact, many of our pregnant patients have experienced “pregnancy relief” from a chiropractic adjustment, particularly low-back pain. Chiropractic care is absolutely safe for pregnant women, as well as her baby. One particular benefit of chiropractic during pregnancy is the lack of medications used in our treatments.

Chiropractic Treatments & Care

Who Should Receive Chiropractic Treatment?

Nerve interference can affect anyone, which is why people of all ages experience relief and improved health through chiropractic care. A qualified doctor of chiropractic will best determine the appropriateness of care for you or your family.

One misconception about chiropractors, of the many that exist, is that chiropractic care benefits only a small, niche group of people. This belief is most-likely the result of a lack of understanding about what chiropractic care is. However, years of in-depth research indicates that seeing a chiropractor can help many individuals, with a large array of health problems or pains. Are you one of them?

The benefits of chiropractors extend to reach persons of all ages young or old, male or female and with all types of lifestyles. A list of people that chiropractors can help is almost as long as the list of health issues chiropractors treat. That being said, we will highlight just a few of the most common health issues treated by chiropractic and types of patients seen by chiropractors to treat them.

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What is a Chiropractic Adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a specific, controlled force in a precise direction that is applied to a spinal joint not moving properly or “locked up.” The purpose of this natural and safe procedure is to correct structural alignment and eliminate interference in the nervous system. For the patient, this means improved spinal function, reduction in pain, and an overall improvement in health and wellness.

Do Chiropractic Adjustments Hurt?

Chiropractic manipulation is a highly controlled procedure that rarely causes discomfort because minimal force and gentle pressure are used. In fact, most patients feel relief immediately following treatment. Any reported soreness after an initial adjustment has been described as similar to that associated with starting a new exercise program. Drinking plenty of water, using an ice pack, and engaging in light stretching after your first visit can help ease any discomfort promote healing.

How Long Will I Need Chiropractic Care?

Spinal problems neglected from early childhood may require ongoing supportive care for optimum spinal function. These, long standing problems are often associated with muscle weakness, soft tissue damage, and degenerative changes to the spine. Most patients find that periodic chiropractic checkups help keep them in tip-top shape. Those who are active, have stressful jobs, or want to be their very best, find that a schedule of preventive visits are helpful in maintenance of good health. Some patients seek chiropractic care only when their ache or pain becomes unbearable. While this style of “crisis management” is usually more costly and time consuming, our office stands ready to help all patients, regardless of their health goals. How long you decide to benefit from chiropractic care is always up to you.

What is Mix Fix Set Chiropractic Treatment?

Once your case has been reviewed, a specific treatment protocol will be utilized called, MIX, FIX, and SET.  The soft tissue (spinal discs, ligaments, muscles, ect) slowly begin to adapt to the abnormal spinal position, essentially “locking” the spine in place.  This makes it necessary to “unlock” the spinal position from the maladapted soft tissue (MIX), so the spine can be repositioned by specific adjustments (FIX), and finally the soft tissue can be re-trained (SET) to hold the spine in the new straighter position.

Mix, Fix, Set focuses on the complete spine, as opposed to smaller sections. This allows for a more comprehensive approach to care and treatment. Developed by CLEAR Institute, Mix Fix Set is revolutionizing chiropractic. And, Dr. Ryan Russell, DC at Integrative Chiropractic is the only practitioner in Birmingham, AL certified to perform Mix Fix Set.

Ready for Your First Appointment with Dr. Ryan Russell, D.C.? You Can Set It Now Online!

Or, You Can Speak to Us Directly By Calling Our Office to Ask Questions or Set An Appointment at (205) 637-1363.