What to Expect on Your First Visit to a Chiropractor
A chiropractor applies alternative treatment methods to diagnose disorders of the musculoskeletal system with a focus on the spine. This type of treatment includes the use of spinal manipulation therapy and the manipulation of tissues and joints. They do not use traditional medicine or surgery but believe in using skeletal imaging, neurological evaluation and orthopedics to assess patients.
Chiropractors utilize a form of spinal manipulation to readjust the affected areas. They use their hands to manipulate, mobilize and adjust the spine. During treatment, a three-joint complex motion is made that does not harm joints but improves the range of motion. These thrusts affect the neural discharge from spinal muscle tissues.
If you suffer from back pain or neck pain, visiting a therapist may help alleviate your symptoms. When you go to a chiropractic office, you can expect to have your medical history reviewed and an evaluation of your symptoms completed. Your visit will also include an exam and diagnosis. Here is a review of what you can expect on your first visit to a chiropractor.
An Assessment of Your Medical History
The first time you the therapist you will need to provide them with your medical history and your family’s as well. A member of the office will give you paperwork to complete and your background information. The paperwork includes questions about your symptoms such as how long you have had the pain and where it is located. The therapist will ask you to describe the pain as sharp, dull, throbbing or burning.
There may be diagrams for you to choose from that can help the therapist get a better idea of your condition. You can also bring any diagnostic images you have and medical records from your doctor to help with treatment. During the evaluation, you will be asked about any physical activities that you participate in and about what makes symptoms worsen. The therapist may also need to know about your occupational and psycho social history.
A Chiropractic Exam
The therapist will give you a thorough exam that consists of having your blood pressure checked, a pulse reading and reflex test. If necessary, you will be given neurological and orthopedic exams. The evaluation includes a range of motion test, muscle tone and muscle strength too. You may have to be given diagnostic studies such as X-ray exams, magnetic resonance imaging and laboratory tests.
After all of your symptoms are evaluated, and diagnostic tests have been completed. The therapist will diagnose your condition and provide you with an individualized treatment plan. You are then given information about the type of therapy needed and the length of treatment. If you are diagnosed with lower back pain, the therapist may suggest spinal or manual manipulation. This type of treatment includes thrusts that are applied to the vertebra at a high velocity. The therapist will also evaluate the seriousness of your injury. They will find out if you have a tumor, infection, fracture or nerve problem.
There are also conditions of the lumbar spine that do not have a specific cause. If you have an acute condition, treatment can last for up to six weeks, a sub-acute injury may require treatment for up to 12 weeks. On the other hand, a chronic condition needs to be treated for more than 12 weeks. Even though you have treatment, your symptoms can reoccur and you may need to return to the therapist periodically.
When you have your first chiropractic adjustment, the therapist explains everything to you. They make sure you understand how the treatment works and the benefits of therapy.