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Visit to the Chiropractor: What to Expect

Have you been recently advised by someone to visit a chiropractor? And you are not entirely sure what a chiropractor can do for you? Are you here to research on what to expect or to find out how a chiropractor can help you? Then no need to worry! You have come to the right place.  We are here to tell you all you need to know before your first visit to the chiropractor

Who exactly is a Chiropractor?

To put it simply, Chiropractors are essentially health care professionals that have specialized in dealing with diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders. Chiropractors specialize in “manual adjustment” which refers to adjusting the spine and misalignments in it that might be causing health issues in the patient. The main purpose of a Chiropractic treatment is to help reduce any pain that you might be feeling. Most Chiropractors believe in educating their patients as well, something you wouldn’t expect from other health care providers. They can tell you about ways to improve your health by changing your lifestyle, exercise etc. 

What can Chiropractors help you with?

A common misconception amongst patients is that a Chiropractor just deals with neck and back pain. On the contrary, a chiropractor can help you overcome a number of health issues which include but are not limited to

  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Sciatica pain
  • Repetitive injuries
  • Back pains
  • Sports injuries
  • Arthritis pains
  • Pain due to car accident related injuries
  • Neck pain
  • Injuries caused from heavy lifting
  • Pain from poor posture

A typical visit to your chiropractor usually includes four steps

  1. Initial intake
  2. Physical exam
  3. Treatment 
  4. Follow-up

The intake: What to expect

Like any standard medical intake, the intake at your chiropractors visit is going to be pretty much the same. You will be asked to fill out personal health forms, questionnaires, any prescription medicines you might be on, family medical history etc. Your chiropractor will typically ask you all the routine questions. Where does it hurt? How long has it been hurting for? When did you first notice the issue? Etc. You might be even asked to show which body part hurts have been hurting on a drawing of the human body. 

Physical examination: What will happen?

Most likely the chiropractor will start with a routine examination. And then move in on the spine and give special attention to the areas that you complain about. Even if you complain of lower back pain, the doctor will check your whole spine which includes your neck. It is all connected and examining your whole spine will give the chiropractor insight on what might be the underlying causes for your pain and discomfort. 

A physical examination will include a wide range of medical assessments such as motion tests, reflex testing, muscle strength evaluation, as well as neurological plus orthopedic tests specially paying attention on your main area of discomfort. 

Treatment Plan

Once you have had proper, detailed physical examination. Based on their assessment of your issue, you chiropractor will devise you a suitable treatment plan. Ideally a treatment plan will take the following factors under consideration

  • The degree of your injury or pain 
  • Your health in general
  • Condition of your spine regarding age 
  • History of any spine injury
  • What your aim to achieve with your treatment

The last point is something that you should discuss in detail with your chiropractor. This is important because it depends on the patient and what kind of treatment they want. While some might be looking for relief from a particular health issue, others will ask for a treatment to improve their entire healthcare and lifestyle. So be sure to tell your doctor exactly what you want. 

Treatment plan: what to expect

Ideally your chiropractor will go for “Adjustment” treatment, which aims to therapeutically manipulate with the use of controlled force and leverage directed at specific joints. If your complain is about back or neck pain then your chiropractor will most likely advise you multiple sessions of treatment spread across a few weeks of adjustments and assessments which will consequently result in your body returning to normal function. 

Other than force, your chiropractor might also employ techniques such as heating or ice treatments, electrical stimulation, rehabilitative exercises, lifestyle changes etc. 

When can visiting a chiropractor be a risk?

People suffering from osteoporosis, compressions of the spinal cord, arthritis, or patients who are on prescription for blood thinners medicine should avoid going for spinal adjustment. Furthermore, it is advised that patients who have a history of cancer first discuss it with their doctor and obtain medical clearance before receiving any treatment from a chiropractor.

Although highly unlikely, but there have been cases in which adjustment treatment have aggravated a herniated disc or neck adjustment might have caused spinal cord injuries so for your safely and well being it is advisable to discuss with both your health care doctor and chiropractor in detail, the extent of your treatment. 

Conclusion

A few sessions with a chiropractor can do wonders for your body and lifestyle. It can make you feel better, walk lightly as well as help recover chronic pains etc. But keep in mind that all treatments are based on your medical history and any other details you provide so be clear and open about any issues and inform your doctor about any previous surgeries, medical conditions etc. you might have had. 

There are many chiropractors out there but it is prudent that you do your research you ask around from someone who has personal experience or you can even read reviews online. If you happen to be in Atlanta, Georgia then you can easily search for chiropractor in Atlanta. There are hundreds of reviews available online for each option so you can judge and even visit a few options and find a suitable chiropractor in Atlanta for yourself.