Can Chiropractors Prescribe Medication?

No, most of the time chiropractors cannot write prescriptions. In some cases, they may be able to recommend certain brands of over-the-counter medicines. Or, they can refer you to a doctor who can prescribe you the medication you need.

Your chiropractor will generally approach your treatment plan with a holistic approach, benefitting your entire health rather than curing your symptoms with prescription medications. Most chiropractors aim to keep their patients off pain medications that may become addictive. Instead, your chiropractor will teach you ways you can feel better without needing to take anything.

Why Chiropractors Don’t Prescribe Drugs

Can Chiropractors Prescribe Medication

Doctors of chiropractic medicine often see medications as a short-term fix to your health condition. Chiropractic care is meant to offer long-term solutions to certain illnesses, injuries, and chronic conditions, while prescription medications are sometimes viewed as a quick fix.

Most chiropractors are also prohibited from prescribing medication through federal and state laws. In Florida, for example, chiropractors are not allowed to prescribe any drugs under Florida Statutes § 460.403. There are only certain emergency situations during which a chiropractor is allowed to administer certain topical anesthetics in aerosol form.

Though they can’t prescribe drugs like medical doctors can, chiropractors are allowed to adjust and manipulate their patient’s body to treat them. They are also allowed to use physiotherapy methods like heat, light, water, exercise, acupuncture, and food extracts.

Though Chiropractors Can’t Prescribe Medications, They Can Recommend Other Services

If you’re looking for a quick solution like pain medication, you’ll need to visit a medical doctor. However, visiting a chiropractor offers solutions that will not just address your pain, but also help you feel better long-term. Chiropractic care can even help you prevent re-injury. Some of the services your chiropractor might suggest include:

Spinal Manipulations

During spinal manipulation, your chiropractor will use either their hands or a chiropractic tool to deliver a high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust to your spinal joints. Spinal adjustments don’t just affect your spinal cord but also your nervous system, which helps how the rest of your body react to pain signals.

Spinal manipulations are beneficial to treat a range of conditions, including headaches, neck pain, back pain, and sciatica, among others.

Reflex Therapy

Reflex therapy, or reflexology, helps to improve circulation throughout your body to ease pain and speed injury healing. The goal of this practice is to help your body return to its normal healthy state.

Your chiropractor might use reflex therapy to ease pain through pressure points found in your hands and feet.

Your Chiropractor Can Also Prescribe Physiotherapy Methods

Physiotherapy can help heal a variety of injury types from back pain to fractures, to neurological and cardiorespiratory issues. Commonly prescribed physiotherapy methods include:

  • Massage therapy: Massage is not just relaxing. It can also help ease tense muscles, relax compressed nerves, heal scar tissue, increase flexibility, and create space between your joints. Massage therapy can also help improve blood flow throughout your body.
  • Resistance training: Strength training, or resistance training, helps patients increase their muscle mass to ease symptoms associated with back pain, arthritis, and osteoporosis.
  • Electrical stimulation (ES): ES helps treat injuries. Your physiotherapist will place electrodes near your injury, and then send gentle magnetic fields through your skin to help with any pain you feel.
  • Gait training: This treatment is most often recommended to patients who suffered from a stroke or other injury that affects their ability to walk. Gait training can help build muscle strength and improve balance. The goal of this therapy is to help you improve your ability to walk, but it can also be used to treat balance disorders like vertigo.
  • Muscle energy techniques (MET): MET involves loosening tight muscles and increasing the range of motion in your joints. If you suffered a fracture or a joint-related disease, or you’re recovering from surgery, MET might be beneficial for you.

Types of Conditions a Chiropractor or Physical Therapist Can Treat Without Prescribing Medication

A chiropractor or physiotherapist can offer solutions to a range of conditions without ever needing to prescribe medication. Some of the types of health issues that may benefit from chiropractic treatment and physical therapy include:

  • Fractures
  • Sprains
  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Surgery rehabilitation
  • Muscle strains
  • Neck injuries 
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Arthritis and inflammatory arthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Work-related injuries
  • Slip and fall injuries
  • Car accident injuries
  • Chronic pain conditions
  • Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS)
  • Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)
  • Muscular dystrophy

What Does a Chiropractor Do?

Chiropractors perform a variety of therapeutic techniques. Though most people associate chiropractic medicine with spinal adjustments, it covers more than that. Chiropractors typically handle the following tasks:

  • Diagnosing you so that you understand the full scope of your condition
  • Creating a customized treatment plan to heal your injuries or ease pain from your chronic condition
  • Tracking your progress to ensure your treatments are working
  • Continuing to update your treatment plan based on how you feel
  • Referring you to specialist doctors, if needed
  • Explaining each exercise they prescribe so you understand how it can benefit you
  • Making you feel as comfortable as possible throughout the course of your treatment

It’s important to choose a chiropractor you feel comfortable with, as you’ll need to discuss how you’re feeling to ensure optimal healing.

Benefits of Choosing Chiropractic Care Over Pain Medicine

Sometimes getting a prescription for pain medication is necessary, especially if you’re in debilitating pain that doesn’t allow you to function as normal. However, if you’re able to avoid it and opt for chiropractic care, you’ll discover many benefits, including:

  • Pain relief, even after medicine would have worn off
  • A way to feel better over a longer period of time
  • Few side effects, which makes chiropractic medicine a safer alternative to drugs that might have dangerous side effects
  • Customized care, as your doctor will create a treatment plan unique to you and your injuries

With chiropractic treatments, you’ll also learn some exercises you can perform at home between sessions if you begin to feel your symptoms flaring up.

Reasons to Avoid Pain Medicines When Possible

As previously mentioned, it’s sometimes impossible to avoid taking pain medications altogether. However, consider the following reasons before deciding between chiropractic care and pain medications:

  • Pain medications often only mask your symptoms, meaning once the medication wears off, you’ll still be in pain
  • You might experience side effects when taking medication, such as dizziness, nausea, and drowsiness
  • You could become addicted to pain medications
  • Some patients build a dependency on pain medications, meaning they need higher doses over time to feel relief
  • Pain medications shouldn’t be taken over the long term, so you’ll need to find a new solution to feel better

You can learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of taking prescription medications by calling a chiropractic physician today.

How to Prepare for a Chiropractic or Physical Therapy Appointment

If you’ve never been to a chiropractor or physical therapist’s office before, your first visit can feel intimidating. Because chiropractic medicine is different from other types of treatment, you may want to consider preparing for your appointment in the following ways:

  • Be ready to discuss your health history. Your chiropractor will need to know about any medications you take, surgeries you’ve had, and your symptoms.
  • Come prepared with a list of your symptoms and how frequently you experience them. Some patients find it easier to keep track of this information in a journal or through pictures.
  • Eat a light meal or protein-filled snack before your visit. You may be asked to move around and stretch, and you probably won’t want to do this on an empty stomach.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before visiting the chiropractor.
  • Wear comfortable clothing. Many patients decide to wear athletic clothes, loose-fitting shirts, yoga pants, or any other type of clothing that feels easy to move around in. You might need to perform certain exercises and stretches, and you don’t want your clothes to hold you back from getting the most out of your appointment.
  • Try to remain as relaxed as possible and keep an open mind. Your chiropractor aims to make you feel as comfortable as possible as they suggest solutions to help you feel better long term.

Call Naples Community Injury Center to Work With One of Our Chiropractors Today

Though most chiropractors don’t prescribe medications, they can offer a range of beneficial treatments to help you feel your best. When you call (239) 631-5445 today, a member of the Naples Community Injury Center team will help you set up an appointment.

We’ll also discuss your condition and explain how a chiropractor can help you beyond offering prescriptions. Call us today.