We all experience different kinds of pain throughout our lives. It may come from injury or age but either way, the pain is real. You don’t have to live with chronic pain for the rest of your life because there are professionals to help correct the problems your body is experiencing.
If you have never visited a chiropractor then you are in for a great experience. It’s not like your family doctor where you are in and out in less than 10 minutes. Chiropractors are interested in finding the root causes of pain and addressing those with patient-centred diagnosis and treatment. They are highly trained and focused on correcting joint motion and restoring proper movement.
So what happens when you get to your appointment? Here’s what to expect during a chiropractor visit:
1. Medical History
For your first chiropractor visit, you will need to fill out detailed forms that list background information. This includes your symptoms and pre-existing medical conditions. You should include any family medical history and all past and current treatments you have done with other health care professionals.
The forms will have you include where your pain is located and what may trigger it. You will list any injuries whether from work, leisure or sport and describe the type of pain you are experiencing. You will also be asked to add your current diet and exercise plan.
When you meet with the chiropractor they will go over these forms and ask lots of questions to fully understand your pain and what may be causing it.
2. Chiropractic Exam
If you’ve had a physical before and you will recognize some of the procedures. These include checking blood pressure, respiration, pulse, and reflexes. Additionally, you will be examined orthopedically by feeling your spine and moving various joints to assess your muscle strength and range of motion.
They also want to check out your posture by seeing how you stand and walk and possibly perform an x-ray to get a look at your spine and joints. This is all part of their thorough examination to determine what treatment will be best for you.
You may have heard from other people that you will get an adjustment that feels like your bones are breaking. Treatment from a chiropractor is much more than manipulating your spine and joints.
These are hands-on adjustment techniques to open and re-align your spine as well as soft tissue therapy and even laser therapy and acupuncture. Your first adjustment will usually give you immediate relief from pain. It won’t disappear but you will notice the difference.
It can be scary to let your chiropractor take your body and use quick, precise force on your restricted joints but their goal is to gain proper motion. You will experience fast, thrusting movements to your body and hear popping sounds that seems crazy. But after each adjustment is done you will be amazed at the difference.
4. After Treatment
When you are finished your chiropractor will go over what he has done and may give you some exercises to practice at home. They may also provide dietary advice and recommend vitamins and supplements to help heal your body. You will likely experience some soreness in the areas that were worked on but this is part of the process. A cold and hot pack will help bring down any inflammation.
Chiropractors are really interested in diagnosis and repair. They understand that prescription drugs only mask pain, they do not correct the root cause. They will help you understand why ongoing treatment is important and explain what kind of healing results you can expect.
5. Treatment Plan
A treatment plan will be developed for you and include several visits a week and may last for weeks or even months. Their goal in the short term is to reduce your pain and help restore joint function.
In the long term, they want to fully restore your body’s function and muscle balance so you can resume all normal activities in your life. You should expect to start out at 2-3 days per week and over the coming weeks go down to 1 visit per week.
Your chiropractor will re-examine you frequently and make adjustments to his treatment plan as needed with the ultimate goal of restoring your mobility and reducing your pain.
Their ongoing treatment options may include:
- Spinal manipulation
- Spinal mobilization
- Stretching & strengthening exercises
- Cervical traction
- Soft tissue therapy
- Electronic modalities
- Personalized exercise programs
Ultimately, you have decided to go to a chiropractor because you are in need of pain relief and better mobility. Someone told you about the results they have experienced and you’ve made your mind up to give it a try. You will not be disappointed. Your chiropractor is there to help and answer any questions you have about what to expect as you come for treatment. You are taking control of your health and that is powerful indeed.