Your First Chiropractor Appointment
The video above from the West Hartford Group does explain quite nicely a typical patient experience on their first consultation.
Doctors of Chiropractic use the same time-honoured methods of consultation as any other medical doctor. This involves a full case history, physical examination and, if necessary, further laboratory analysis and/or x-ray examination. This first session will take approximately 40 minutes to one hour to complete.
Step One: Case History Questions
This part involves being asked about your health complaint(s) that you are concerned about. Further questioning may include your family history, dietary habits, job requirements and other care you may have received in the past and are receiving at present.
Step Two: Physical Examination
This section may involve you needing to undressing down to your underwear in private, with a hospital gown provided for comfort. Your privacy and dignity will be respected at all times. This part of the visit will focus on seeing how your extremity or spinal joints, muscles and nerves are functioning both individually and together. This part may include neurological testing and orthopaedic tests. If the practitioner feels it is warranted, they may need to send you for a x-ray. This is to further evaluate your bones. It might be needed to even check your blood pressure, listen to your lungs or examine your abdomen in order for the chiropractor to completely evaluate your physical health, depending on the complaint.
Chiropractic Examination of the Spine
To evaluate structure and function is just one of the procedures that makes Chiropractic different from other healthcare professions. Your spine is a series of moveable joints that begin at the base of the skull and end at the pelvis. Pairs of spinal nerves exit the spinal column through a series of openings, which then go on to form a complicated network that influences every living tissue in your body.
Step Three: Report of Findings
Your chiro will at this point explain to you what they found in the examination of your body, what they believe to be causing your problem, and their proposed treatment plan to get you better. The probability of any risks associated with your condition and the suggested treatment would be discussed at this point. This may include showing you pictures or anatomical models where appropriate to help you understand what is happening within your body. If the chiropractor finds something they feel needs more specialised investigating, or your condition is more serious and requires neurosurgery or orthopaedic surgery, then you would be referred to the appropriate healthcare professional. The aim is to look after your health and not waste your time with any unnecessary treatment.
Now everything has been explained and you fully understand now you would be asked to give your consent to the Chiropractic treatment. discussed.
Step Four: Treatment Begins
The Chiropractic degree teaches many different treatment techniques. The most common type of treatment would be spinal manipulation (a.k.a Chiropractic adjustment), and mobilisation of your spine or the peripheral joints of the shoulder,elbow, wrist,hip,knees and ankles. Low force techniques using a Chiropractic adjustment tool like the Activator Method might be used. Therapy is not only aimed at the skeleton. Soft tissue tools, maybe like a physiotherapist would use, can be performed to help a back pain. Examples might be ultrasound, cold laser therapy, kinesio tape, dry needling, Graston or Active Release Technique. These are used is to obtain an enhanced and faster pain relief. The goal is to help calm your nerves to relax a muscle spasm.
Final Step: Take Home Advice
Now is the time you may receive specific advice to practice at home or work. This may include information on how to improve your posture, specific back pain exercises and stretches, the best sleeping position etc... All of this advice is aiming to give you control over your own health.
Following on from your first treatment, further follow-up visits tend to take between 15-30 minutes. Your will be reviewed regularly making sure progress is being made. If any changes in your therapy plan are needed you will be asked to give your consent to treatment again. If your condition does not improve as expected then there will be a discussion on carrying out further investigations or referring you to another specialist.
We hope this helps to answer the question: "What does a chiropractor do?".
If your looking for more information about your first Chiropractic treatment with a chiropractor you can click here.