If you need a more accessible version of this website, click this button on the right.Switch to Accessible Site

Phoenix Chiropractor | Phoenix chiropractic care | AZ | FAQs


9150 W. Indian School Rd,
Building 9 Suite 138
Phoenix, AZ 85037

(623) 772-1444


Frequently Asked Questions


Neck Pain:
The neck is made up of seven small bones called vertebrae. Between each vertebrae is a pair of interlocking joints called facets. Within these facet joints are delicate nerves which detect motion, position and pain. Typically the smooth interlocking facet joints allow the neck to bend and rotate in many directions. If these joints become locked up, motion will be restricted, supporting muscles will tighten, and pain can result. If left uncorrected, these fixated joints can eventually pinch the nerves exiting the neck, cause headaches, neck pain, disc compression, and inevitably lead to spinal degeneration.

One of the most effective treatments to relieve neck pain and prevent spinal degeneration is chiropractic manipulation. Specific chiropractic adjustments to the facet joints in the neck will restore proper motion, relax tight muscles, take pressure off the irritated nerves, and provide lubrication and nutrients to the disc.

Although there is no single answer for the cause of a headache, some of the most common known sources are trauma, emotional stress, poor diet, nutritional deficiencies, environmental toxins hormone imbalances, misaligned vertebrae, and abnormal spinal curves.

Misaligned vertebrae and abnormal spinal curves in the neck can be caused by poor posture during many daily activities including: working at a computer, driving, watching television and studying. In addition to chronic poor posture, trauma from auto accidents, contact sports and falls can also cause abnormalities in the neck leading to headaches.

Through regular chiropractic and rehabilitation care, misaligned vertebrae can be returned to their proper position and the normal curve in the neck can be restored. As a result, normal spinal biomechanics will be achieved and many symptoms including neck pain and headaches will resolve.

If it is determined that abnormal spinal biomechanics are not the cause of a patients headache, then the next step is to conduct laboratory testing to determine if blood sugar abnormalities, hormone imbalances, heavy metal toxicity or nutritional deficiencies are the problem. Often simple tests including blood, saliva and hair analysis will help us find the cause and determine the proper course of treatment. At West Valley Wellness & Rehabilitation, we offer our patients natural treatment options including, dietary modifications, vitamin supplements, herbal remedies and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.

Back Pain:
Back pain is caused by a number of different abnormal conditions including facet joint fixation, disc disease, muscular strain and spasm. Often a primary cause of back pain is from the facet joints found on the back of each vertebrae. Similar to the facet joints in the neck, the vertebral facets in the back direct motion between adjacent vertebrae and are highly innervated by pain sensitive nerves. When these facet joints lose their mobility and become fixated, inflammation and pain follow. 

Similarly, the discs found between each vertebrae can also be a source of pain. When these cartilage pads are subjected to abnormal stress, they begin to wear unevenly pushing the gelatinous center through the weakened outer cartilage rings. Once this gelatinous fluid is displaced, it can irritate the pain sensitive fibers in the disc, or may protrude into the spinal canal irritating the spinal cord and the adjacent nerve roots. When this happens sharp debilitating pain and numbness is felt in the back, the buttocks and down the legs.

Another common cause of back pain is muscular strain and spasm. Chronic poor posture, auto accidents, repetitive motion, and sports injuries all can irritate, inflame and tear muscle fibers that support the back.

Often the many different causes of back pain have similar signs and symptoms. In order to determine the cause of your pain and the appropriated course of treatment, it is necessary to be examined by a licensed chiropractic physician. Chiropractors have extensive training and experience in diagnosing and treating the many kinds of back injuries. In many cases, spinal manipulation in conjunction with therapies such as, cold laser, electrical muscle stimulation, spinal traction and rehabilitation exercises will bring safe, long lasting relief from your back pain.

Hips, Knees, Ankles, Shoulders, Elbows, & Wrists:
Anywhere a joint is found in the body restriction, inflammation, swelling and pain can occur. Many people associate chiropractic care with back and neck pain but who is better to treat musculoskeletal injuries than a doctor of chiropractic. Similar to the spine, an injury to any joint in the body responds best to mobilization, manipulation, stretching and exercise. At West Valley Wellness & Rehabilitation, we offer our patients the latest technology to treat their injuries and bring fast relief from their pain.

Numbness and Tingling:
Numbness and tingling felt in the arms, legs, hands and feet are all warning sings from your body that you are experiencing nerve irritation. Typically these symptoms are annoying, but painless, so they are often believed to be benign. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nerve irritation is a serious condition that should be addressed immediately. If left uncorrected these irritated nerves could eventually become permanently damaged causing unrelenting pain, sensory deficits and permanent muscular disability.

So how does nerve irritation occur? Many times this irritation is brought on by a sudden traumatic even that causes immediate damage to the nerve and the surrounding tissues (i.e. sports injury or automobile accident) More often though, people with jobs which require them to perform repetitive motion tasks while in poor posture or with improper work station ergonomics. Over time, constant repetitive stress on the joints and tissues can cause the nerve sheath to become inflamed and swollen. When swelling and inflammation to the tissues occur on a regular basis the amount of space for the nerve to travel becomes decreased and symptoms appear. In a recent University of Colorado study, researchers found that it only takes the weight of a dime to cause nerve irritation. Therefore, it was concluded that because such small changes in pressure could cause nerve irritation, minor tissue damage from repetitive stress injuries over time can eventually cause debilitating pain and severe muscular weakness. A common example of this type of injury in the wrist is know as carpal tunnel syndrome.

What can I do? The first thing a person suffering from numbness and tingling should do is consult their doctor for a complete examination. In our office we diagnose the extent of your nerve injury with the latest technology in nerve conduction velocity studies. Once a diagnosis has been reached our patients are treated with cold laser therapy to heal injured nerves, soft tissue mobilization to release chronic tight muscles and rehabilitative postural exercises. Usually within days, patients notice a significant decrease in their symptoms, and with continued care lasting results.



Q: What is a Chiropractor?
A: A Chiropractor is a licensed primary care physician who’s role is to detect and correct interferences within the human body, with the goal of finding the root cause of the problem and restoring health through natural means. The primary method of treatment used by chiropractors is hands on manipulation to the various joints, muscles and tissues of the body, A chiropractor may utilize other means of treatment including, acupuncture, physiotherapy modalities, nutritional supplementation and rehabilitation exercises. Under a Chiropractor’s license any necessary form of diagnostic testing including: X-ray, MRI, CT scans and laboratory studies are permitted, but a chiropractor is not licensed to prescribe medication or perform any surgical procedures.

Q: Is Chiropractic Safe?
A: Chiropractic is extremely safe for people of all ages and has been found to be one of the most effective forms of complementary health care. According to a 1993 Ontario Ministry of Health commissioned study, when performed by a chiropractor, spinal manipulation is one of the safest and most effective treatments for neck and back problems.

Unfortunately, since its early days, chiropractic has had its share of critics. In an attempt to monopolize the health care market, other medical professions have conspired against chiropractic by manipulating the public into thinking chiropractic treatments were dangerous and unsafe. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) of the US Department of Health and Human Services released these important findings on Clinical Practice Guidelines for the management of acute low back pain. The results were as follows:

  • The risk of serious complications from lumbar spinal manipulation is rare



  • Conservative treatment such as spinal manipulation should be pursued in most cases before considering surgical intervention



  • Prescription drugs such as oral steroids, antidepressant medications and analgesics are not recommended for acute low back problems

Acute Low Back Problems in Adults. Clinical Practice Guidelines. Bigos S, et al. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research Publication No. 950642 (1994) - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Q: Is Chiropractic Safe for Children?
A: A child just like an adult has a body that is affected by its environment. Most people are not aware that the birth process is one of the most traumatic events that happens to a young infant. During this process the doctor pulls the infant though the birth canal by the head and neck, using extreme force. This event can misalign the tiny vertebrae in a babies neck putting pressure on the spinal cord and delicate nerves. The only way to restore proper function to the child’s spine is through gentle chiropractic manipulation. The force required to adjust a child is delicate and usually light fingertip pressure is all that is necessary to make a correction in an infants spine. Chiropractic is a safe, effective addition to pediatric health care that should be a regular part of every developing infant, child, and teenagers life.

Q: What is That Popping Noise?
When a chiropractor performs a spinal manipulation typically a popping noise is heard. This sound is believed to be caused by gas escaping from the joint. Every joint in the body is a fluid filled cavity surrounded by bones ligaments and tendons. Because there is a difference in pressure inside and outside the joint, when manipulated, gas is released and an audible noise can be heard. This phenomenon is similar to opening a can of soda. The pressure on the inside of the can is much greater than the outside, and when the seal is broken a popping sound is heard.

Q: Does an Adjustment Hurt?
When performed by a skilled professional, chiropractic manipulation, can be accomplished in a virtually painless manner. There are several low force and manual techniques, each tailored to meet the individual needs of every patient. Just like beginning a new exercise program, after the initial treatment, some patients may experience minor soreness, but after continuing with their prescribed treatment plan, patients typically have tremendous relief from their initial pain and discomfort.

Q: Is it True That Once You See a Chiropractor You Will Always Have to Go?
After patients receive relief from their pain, many choose to continue with a supportive care program to maintain their good health. Similar to visiting your dentist, regular wellness check-ups can help detect underlying conditions and prevent serious problems from occurring in the future. The amount of time a patient receives the benefits of good health through chiropractic care is a personal decision we leave entirely up to them.


Phoenix Chiropractor | FAQs. Dr. Stephen Hofmeir is a Phoenix Chiropractor.