If you've experienced a joint, muscle, or spinal injury, life can be constant misery. For a lot of people, traditional medicine is just not enough to help alleviate long-term pain. When medication does not help enough to relieve pain, one might feel hopeless and trapped with the pain forever. Fortunately, there is a non-invasive, holistic method of treatment that promises to help alleviate pain without the use of traditional medication. It is called chiropractic care. If you are confused about the practice if chiropractic care and still on the fence about setting up an appointment, here are some of the things you should expect during your first visit to the chiropractor.
Assessing Your History and Symptoms
The first thing your chiropractor is going to ask you pertains to your pain. He or she will ask you where your pain is, what type of sensation the pain is giving you, when your pain started, and probably whether or not you have more pain standing, lying down, or sitting in a prone position.
Another piece of pertinent information will be your medical history, as well as your family's medical history. This can be difficult for some people because certain elements of your history may not be accessible off the top of your head. Luckily, most chiropractors utilize electronic health records software (EHR), like that sold by Chiro 8000. Basically, this is a digital database of every diagnosis, medication, ailment, and test result you've ever had. In addition to that, the software itself utilizes evidence from your history and symptoms to give your chiropractor a comprehensive idea as to how you need to be treated.
Once the preliminary questions have been asked, your chiropractor will explain the potential problems you might be experiencing. The most common reason people visit the chiropractor is for lower back pain. When it comes to lower back pain, a subluxation is the term to describe an abnormal separation of the vertebrae or articular joints. During a subluxation, the tissue surrounding the joint is sometimes inflamed, causing the pain to be excruciating.
There are two main types of subluxations:
- Congestion — Joint dysfunction inflames the tissue and nerves, causing pain
- Hyperemia — This occurs when an excess of blood has built up in a specific area surrounding a joint or vertebrae
Your chiropractor will now begin to examine you to see which category you fall into.
Examination and Diagnosis
Before your chiropractor touches you, he or she will give you a full diagnostic evaluation to get a better idea of the problem area. This usually includes an X-ray or an MRI. Your chiropractor will then lay you out on a table and perform minimal spinal adjustments. This can include cracking your joints and aligning your spine.
In most cases, you will also go through a mobilization process to loosen your muscles and strengthen your joints. This can be done by manually rubbing out your muscles or joints, or utilizing a small, vibrating device that uses small impulses of vibration to restore motion to a vertebrae or joint. Using this device is called the Activator method, and more than half of all chiropractors in America report using it for chiropractic care.
After you have become fully acquainted with the procedure, you will then discuss your treatment and goals with chiropractic care. Your long term treatment will include:
- Weekly meetings for joint adjustment and spinal manipulation
- Strength exercises to improve muscle coordination
- Activator method tool to affect problem muscles or joints
- Stretch exercises to maintain fluid muscles and vertebrae
- Posture exercises
Your chiropractor may also recommend better nutritional practices, or holistic medicine that will not interact with any pharmaceutical drugs that your doctor may have prescribed to you.
It should be noted that you should never substitute traditional medicine for alternative medicine. However, if you notice that your current treatment plan is not doing the best job alleviating your pain, chiropractic care may be the solution you're looking for. With so little risk, there is not much you can lose by taking a crack at it.