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What to Expect During a Visit to a Chiropractor
Although visiting a chiropractor is like visiting other healthcare providers, there are certain unique elements to it. The office setting and registration procedures are usually the same, but the chiropractic treatment table has a distinctive appearance. The table is usually elaborate to accommodate certain positions and movements when undergoing spinal adjustments and make the process easier. This article talks about what happens during a visit to the chiropractor, starting from intake to the examination, treatment and follow-up plan.
The appointment with the chiropractor
The first chiropractic consultation is like a regular medical intake. The patient will need to fill out a health questionnaire and provide answers about their health history. Usually, the chiropractor will tell the patient to describe the discomfort and the location by pointing to certain parts on a human body diagram.
The physical examination
The chiropractor will perform a routine physical examination, followed by an evaluation of the spine, with a special focus on the areas of complaint. The chiropractor will probably check the whole spine. For instance, if the patient complains of low back pain, they may also check the neck, since adaptations caused by injury or subluxation in one part can cause secondary irritations in another part of the spine.
The physical exam usually includes different forms of assessments, including palpation, range of motion test, muscle test comparisons, reflex testing and neurological and orthopedic tests directed at the primary complaint.
The treatment plan
After the assessment, the chiropractor will create a treatment plan that considers:
- The level of injury and irritation
- The patient’s general health
- The state of the spine from age and past injury
- The aim of treatment
The aim of treatment will come from a discussion between the patient and the chiropractor. While many patients only want relief of the pain or discomfort, others want routine care to improve their overall wellbeing. During the initial consultations, the chiropractor will inform the patient of their health status and suggest a treatment approach. Patients need to ask questions at this stage to fully understand what is required of them.
“Adjustments” are the primary basis of chiropractic treatment. The chiropractic adjustment is a therapeutic manipulation done with controlled force, direction, leverage, amplitude, and velocity focused on specific joints. This means that an adjustment requires more than just opening a joint.
The chiropractor will usually make the adjustments to the spine, but they can also apply manipulations to other joints, including the knee, ankle, wrist, shoulder or elbow to improve function or restore structural alignment. Normally, proper structure is required for proper function, and correct function of the extremities is necessary for healthy living.
When receiving treatment for an issue such as neck or back pain, the patient will generally get multiple adjustments, every couple of days, to gradually alleviate irritation and improve function. Treatment might continue for many weeks and often reduces in frequency. Patients who cannot tolerate manual adjustments may get mild or non-force techniques.
The chiropractor may also recommend non-manual therapies such as electrical stimulation, application of heat or ice, rehabilitative exercise, orthotic devices, weight loss, diet advice and nutritional supplements to complement the treatment procedure.
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