Orange County chiropractor Dr. Gilbert Portugal answers some of the the most basic and popular questions about chiropractic care in this 4-min audio interview. Play the podcast episode directly below and scroll down for full transcript of interview questions and answers.

What Is a Chiropractor?

Chiropractors are doctors who treat the muscle and skeletal and nerve systems of the body by way of adjusting spine and other joints of the body.

What Does Chiropractic Mean?

The word Chiropractic is a Greek word and the “chiro” stands for hand and “practic” practicing, by hand. So in actuality it is treating or practicing by hand.

What Does a Chiropractor Do?

Spinal xray -Portugal Chiropractic in Lake Forest
Traditionally chiropractic was done all by hand, by applying different pressure and pushing different joints to go ahead and increase joint function and take pressure off nerve irritation. As time has progressed different tools have been developed that can go ahead and mimic some of those different adjustments that we do. But more comfortably and sometimes more precisely.

So in my office I still adjust my hand, but after we incorporate several different instruments that help me to comfortably adjust almost everybody, young or old.

Chiropractors, what we are actually doing is gently moving the bones of the spine to try to normalize the function, take pressure off the nerve tissue, and allow a person’s body to heal and function at its best potential. In doing so, we really use a gentle force to go ahead and move the vertebrae.

Is a Chiropractor a Doctor?

Dr. Portugal: Yes, so chiropractors are licensed doctor of chiropractic. And after obtaining a bachelor’s degree, we continue on to graduate from an additional four-year accredited degree program, just like a medical doctor does. However we don’t hold a medical degree, so we don’t prescribe drugs or do surgery like they do.

When To See a Chiropractor?

I think if a person was having persistent or frequent headaches, if they were having frequent joint or muscle pain, if they were having chronic back pain, or joint stiffness with limited motion. Sometimes that they notice they’re having poor posture. Definitely if they’re having shooting pains in their arms or legs.

Probably one of the most important reasons is since chiropractic care’s goal is to remove nerve irritation from our bodies, you can go ahead and do periodic preventative care that can allow your body to go ahead and function at your best health potential.
Doctor of Chiropractic Lake Forest
Also after an accident, people see chiropractors, whether it be an auto accident or a slip and fall type. Definitely a life threatening, or a person in need of medical care, they should definitely go there first. But the majority of auto accident, a person has unfortunately torn muscle tissue, nerve tissue is irritated, they are feeling pretty pretty badly.

When they go to a medical doctor they’ll usually get prescribed muscle relaxants, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs — none of which unfortunately will help the area to heal. It will just temporarily make the person not feel pain.

Also unfortunately when they take muscle relaxers, they usually can’t work because they get really drowsy. If they see a chiropractor, a chiropractor will go ahead and assess the situation, find out what’s going on, do the examination, take some X-ray pictures, develop a working diagnosis and start treatment.

Different times we will use other avenues like an MRI or a C.T. examination to go ahead and see even deeper how much damage has been done to different tissues. And if we need to, we’ll occasionally refer to different neurologists or a pain management doctor to go ahead and also look at the patient and see if they can help with their healing.

What To Expect On Your First Visit To a Chiropractor

On your first, usually we’ll go ahead and start by doing a really thorough health history on the person and then performing a physical examination. And that way we can develop a working diagnosis. Sometimes we use x-rays to go ahead and help to confirm or find out the exact diagnosis. Then once we go ahead determine that it is a chiropractic problem and something that we can help you with, then chiropractic care can begin.


If you’d like to get your questions about chiropractors answered, 30-year chiropractic veteran Dr. Gilbert Portugal will be glad to help. Reach out using the form on this page or call (949) 768-7303