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question marks on a notebookBissell Clinic Frequently Asked Questions

Common Answers to Questions We Hear

Like other healthcare offices, at Bissell Clinic we hear many questions from new and current patients. Below are answers to some of the most common questions we are asked.

Do you have any questions that aren’t answered here? Contact us today and let us answer all of your questions.



Chiropractic Care

How does chiropractic care work?

A spinal adjustment helps to keep your nerves free from impingement, thus allowing your nerve signals to flow freely to all areas of your body. Since your nervous system serves every area of your body, when it is dammed up because of pressure from a vertebra out of place, your muscles tense up and you experience pain. Additionally, the specific area of the body that those nerves reach can suffer by becoming less efficient and therefore more susceptible to disease.

Chiropractic adjustments are not just for the spine. Our doctor frequently adjust bones within the hands and feet as well as the wrist & ankles shoulders and more. In addition, scoliosis, headaches, extremity numbness, ear problems and a variety of non-specific aches and pains can be relieved or at least greatly improved by treatments with our chiropractor.

There are three primary techniques that we use in our patient care:

Diversified: This is the traditional and most widely used technique which is also considered to be the safest and most effective method to correct a subluxation. As the name implies, the Diversified technique can be used to adjust most joints in the body, not only the spine. The chiropractor uses their hands to deliver a precise “thrust” in which the depth, speed and angle in which it is delivered are all determined by the doctor’s years of experience, practice and education. The “popping” or “cracking” sound one hears when being adjusted this way is simply the release of gas within the joint as it is being unlocked.

Thompson Drop: This low-force technique utilizes a special adjusting table equipped with a “drop piece” that moves away during the adjustment.

Activator®: This technique involves the use of a mechanical instrument to correct subluxations. It is a low force technique that is most frequently used with osteoporotic patients, children or anyone who prefers it.

Wellness Care: This care is designed to prevent re-injury, maintain optimal nervous system communication and prevent or slow progressive degeneration of the spine. As you age your discs become thin, sometimes causing the vertebrae in the spine to fuse due to the formation of arthritis and lack of movement between each vertebral joint. Chiropractic treatments can help to slow down this degeneration by maintaining mobility and range of motion in the spine.

The frequency of wellness visits can vary from weekly, monthly, semi-annually or somewhere in between. Since each body has different needs just as each person has different goals, you and your doctor can decide on a frequency that feels right for you. Should you decide to discontinue care once your pain is eliminated, we will respect your choices and welcome you back anytime you need us.

Physical Therapy

What is a physical therapist?

Physical therapists are licensed by the state and are trained in treating musculoskeletal injuries and disorders, sports injuries, post-operative rehabilitation and massage therapy. They hold either a Master’s degree or Doctorate in physical therapy.

What is an occupational therapist?

Occupational therapists are licensed by the state and specialize in the treatment of the upper extremities and work injuries. The services provided by occupational therapists include patient education, joint range of motion, adaptive techniques, splinting and workplace evaluations.

What insurance do you accept?

We are out of network providers but are still contracted with Medicare. Payment is required at the time of the visit and we are also happy to provide you with a superbill for you to submit to your insurance company externally. If you are a Medicare patient receiving physical therapy, we will bill Medicare and they will reimburse you directly via your explanation of benefits.

Are the therapists medicare providers?

Yes, we are non-participating providers with Medicare. Please call our office for details.

Do I need a referral from my doctor?

New laws allow patients to self-refer to a physical therapist. If continued treatment is required, it is the patient’s best interest to see a Chiropractor or MD for an examination and proper diagnosis. The will decide if you should continue physical therapy, receive diagnostic testing or refer you to another appropriate specialist. For patients with Medicare as their primary insurer, a prescription for physical therapy is required from a medical doctor in order for Medicare to pay for the services.

My referral form is for another clinic. Can I still come to you?

Yes. You may go to the therapy clinic of your choice, regardless of where your doctor refers you.

What should I wear?

You should wear or bring comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.

How long will the visit be?

Our therapy appointments are scheduled every 45 minutes. Most sessions run 45-60 minutes and are one-on-one with the physical therapist.

Will I work with the same therapist at each visit?

Yes, you will work with the same therapist at each visit and will be with that therapist for the entirety of your appointment. Since we are a small clinic, we are able to provide a high level of personalized care and this is one way that we do just that.

What happens at the first visit?

There will be some discussion about your health history and your current condition on the first visit. The therapist will evaluate your current problem, work with you to set goals for your therapy, and outline a treatment plan that will help you reach those goals.

How many visits can I receive?

We work with Medicare. At Bissell Clinic, we will verify your Medicare coverage prior to you beginning therapy and explain everything in advance. Please contact our office for more information on your specific situation.

Shockwave Therapy

What is shockwave therapy?

Shockwave Therapy is a relatively new treatment option in orthopedic and rehabilitation medicine. A clinical shockwave is nothing more than a controlled explosion that creates a sonic pulse, much like an airplane breaking the sound barrier. The primary effect of shockwave is a direct mechanical force. The leading explanation is based on the inflammatory healing response. It is felt the shockwave causes micro trauma to the diseased tendon tissue. This results in inflammation, which allows the body to send healing cells and increase the blood flow to the injured site.

How will shockwave therapy help me?

Shockwave therapy is used to treat many orthopedic conditions, including plantar fasciitis (heel spurs), patella tendinitis (jumper’s knee), lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), medical epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow), shoulder tendinitis, bursitis, and Achilles tendon pain in addition to other soft tissue injuries.

What should I expect during the treatment?

The shockwave machine delivers pressure waves through your skin using a soft gel “applicator” and ultrasound gel. The applicator focuses the pressure waves directly on the affected area. The treatment usually takes between 10-20 minutes. Most patients report a “dull, tooth-achey” feeling when the applicator hits the injured area.

What will I feel like after the treatment?

This varies for each person. Some report immediate relief in the hours immediately following the treatment. Others report feeling slightly sore. It is recommended that you do not use ice or anti-inflammatory medicines after the treatments, as the point is to let your body heal the inflammation caused by the micro traumas naturally. Soreness does not mean that the treatment was ineffective or has exacerbated your condition.

How long will it take for my pain to go away?

This varies for each person. We recommend 7-10 treatments, and we have found that people start to notice a decrease in their pain after 3-4 treatments.

Do I need to minimize my activity level during treatment?

We do recommend that you avoid over-use of the affected body party in the weeks you are going through treatment. This is because the shockwave is creating micro traumas to the area, and you need to give your body a chance to heal itself.

Decompression Therapy

What is decompression therapy and how will it help me?

Simply described, this is a sophisticated traction device. During each session, there are multiple cycles of distraction (stretching) and relaxation. Old-fashion traction would stretch the spine to maximum capacity and hold the stretch for an extended duration. Decompression therapy is different because the wave-like motion of stretching and relaxing fosters a phenomenon called “imbibition.” Since the discs have no direct blood supply it makes them difficult to heal. The pumping action (imbibition) achieved by decompression actually draws the blood and nutrients into the disc, which helps it heal from the inside out. Also, the dramatic decrease of pressure in the disc can foster the drawing in of a bulge and help take pressure off a “pinched” spinal nerve.

What should I expect during the treatment?

The computer system applies a gentle force then releases it approximately every minute throughout the session. The total treatment time is usually less than 20 minutes. Most patients report feeling a gentle stretching and a sense of relief during the session.

What will I feel like after the treatment?

This varies for each person. Some people report feeling taller and lighter and relieved of their pain. Others have reported feeling sore immediately after the treatment or the following day. If one does experience soreness, we recommend icing the area for 10-15 minutes. Soreness does not mean the treatment was ineffective or has exacerbated your condition. It is simply caused from stretching tight, guarded muscles that have been restricted for an extended period of time.

How long will it take to get out of pain?

Although most patients report dramatic reduction of the pain within as few as five minutes, an injured spinal disc needs time to heal. This is why we urge you to follow your prescribed treatment plan. We ask that patients commit to completing a minimum of 20 sessions. Even for those that obtain pain relief early on, the remaining sessions will speed the healing of the injured disc and help them to return to their regular activities sooner. We recommend 2-3x/week for 6 weeks as the ideal treatment plan.

What about exercises and stretching?

Many people wonder if working out or performing yoga after decompression therapy will “undo” the benefits of the treatment. The answer is no. Exercise recommendations will vary with each patient based on their treatment plan with us.


Bissell Clinic Frequently Asked Questions | (805) 565-5252