What to Expect
What can I expect on my first Chiropractic visit?
Patients typically visit a chiropractor for the first time through a personal reference or a referral of another health care specialist. At the first visit, you can expect the chiropractor to complete a thorough chiropractic consultation and includes:
In preparation for your consultation with the chiropractor, you will be asked to fill out forms that provide background information about your symptoms and condition. Types of questions the chiropractor might ask include:
When and how did the pain start?
Where is it located?
Is it a result of an injury?
What makes it better?
What makes it worse?
You will also usually be asked to provide the chiropractor with information on family medical history, any pre-existing medical conditions or prior injuries, and previous and current health providers and treatments.
Chiropractic Physical Examination
Once the history has been completed, your chiropractor will perform a thorough chiropractic examination. In addition to general tests such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and reflexes, the chiropractic examination will include specific orthopedic and neurological tests to assess:
Range of motion of the affected part
Based on the above chiropractic examination procedures, further chiropractic tests may be necessary to arrive at the assessment or diagnosis of the affected area (such as moving your leg in a specified manner, posture analysis, or the chiropractor manipulating your arm or leg).
Diagnostic studies are helpful for chiropractors in revealing pathologies and identifying structural abnormalities that more accurately diagnose a condition. They may or may not be deemed necessary by the chiropractor based upon the results of the history and chiropractic examination.
The most common diagnostic studies used by chiropractors include:
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan
Many chiropractic offices can do basic x-rays, but an MRI scan and more extensive images may be referred to an outside center for which an appointment is needed.
The culmination of the history, examination and diagnostic studies is a specific diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is established, the chiropractor will determine if the condition will respond to chiropractic care.
The chiropractor will explain:
The diagnosed condition
The chiropractic treatment plan (or other treatments)
The anticipated length of chiropractic care
Chiropractic Treatment Plan
Most chiropractors begin treatment during the patient's first chiropractic visit, although some may wait until the next appointment. Chiropractic treatment recommendations may include some or all of the following:
Adjustments to key joint dysfunctions
Modalities to improve soft tissue healing and pain control (ultrasound, electrical stimulation and traction)
Exercises to improve muscles balance, strength, and coordination
Patient education to improve posture and motor control
Other treatments may be included, such as massage, heat/cold application, and nutrition education. Importantly, at this point the chiropractor will establish specific goals for your chiropractic treatment plan.
Short term goals for chiropractic treatment - to reduce pain and restore normal joint function and muscle balance
Long term goals for chiropractic treatment - to restore functional independence and tolerance to normal activities of daily living
To reach these goals, the chiropractor will prescribe a specific number of chiropractic visits. An example would be 1 to 3 chiropractic visits per week for 2 to 4 weeks followed by a re-examination by the chiropractor.
At the re-examination, the chiropractor will measure the response to treatment and determine whether to: Continue chiropractic treatment if appropriate; Release you from chiropractic care if your goals have been met; or Refer you to another health care specialist if your goals have not been fulfilled.
Article reprinted from Spine Health
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a joint that is subluxated. An adjustment adds motion to the joint, helping the bones gradually return to a more normal position and motion, taking un-needed pressure off of the nervous system. The purpose of this safe and natural procedure is improved spinal function, improved nervous system function, and improved health. There are hundreds of ways to adjust the spine. Usually, the doctor's hands or a specially designed instrument delivers a brief and highly accurate thrust. Some adjusting methods are quick, whereas others require a slow constant pressure.
Does it hurt to get adjusted?
No. Chiropractic adjustments feel great. When you allow the vertebrae in your spine to return to their proper position, you will notice much less stress and tension.
What causes the sound made during a chiropractic adjustment?
That sound is not your spine "cracking" or "popping" like most people think. That sound is created by gas (in this case, nitrogen) rushing in to fill the partial vacuum created when the joints are slightly separated. Another example of this phenomenon would be the "pop" sound you hear when the cork is taken out of a champagne bottle. Not all chiropractic adjusting techniques produce this noise. In fact, some adjusting techniques use little force and thus produce no noise at all.
How many visits will I need?
The number of sessions needed varies considerably from patient to patient. Your chiropractor will advise you of an initial treatment plan which will take into account the nature of the problem, how long you've had the problem, your age and stress levels as well as numerous other considerations. Once the problem has been resolved, preventative/maintenance treatments are recommended at intervals, which will vary depending on your individual circumstances.
Should I continue chiropractic care if I don't have any symptoms and I feel better?
Yes. Just because symptoms disappear, does not mean your subluxations are corrected. Most of the practice members seen in our office have spinal degeneration (decay) which has taken years to develop. The trauma of the birth process, slips, falls, accidents and countless other stresses over the course of your lifetime adversely affect the health of your spine. The longer you wait to have your spine checked by a chiropractor, the longer it will take to correct your subluxations. However, how you choose to use chiropractic care is ultimately up to you. It has been our experience that those who stop care when they are "feeling fine" return with the same health challenge(s) which brought them to our office in the first place...only it's usually gotten worse. On the other hand, those practice members who commit to long-term, wellness chiropractic care, find their health challenge(s) rarely return and they enjoy a higher quality of life and health.
How much will it cost?
Costs vary depending on what your treatment entails. The doctor will explain the details to you when you receive the report of findings and treatment recommendations. We have multiple payment plans and will work with you to find the one that best suits your needs.
Do you treat children?
Of course! Chiropractic is safe enough even for newborns, and children suffering from many illnesses and injuries that chiropractic care can help with. We love treating every member of the family
Do you treat pregnant mothers?