There are a number of reasons why you might want to visit a chiropractor. From joint pain and body pain to tightness in the muscles and soft tissue damage; regardless of what your symptoms are, there’s a good chance that chiropractic care can relieve you of pain and help improve your bone health.
Also known as spinal manipulation, chiropractic adjustments are intended to relieve pain in a number of different ways, and are often a preferred treatment to cure sciatica, back pain, and spondylitis. While chiropractic treatment is safe and beneficial in many ways, many first-time patients don’t know what to expect when they go in for an examination. Anxiety and nervousness are not uncommon when meeting with a medical professional regarding any health issue, however, knowing the sequence of events and what to expect helps to calm one’s nerves.
Here’s everything you need to know to be prepared for a trip to a chiropractic clinic, and what to expect from a chiropractic examination.
Things to Consider Before Meeting with a Chiropractor
First off, you need to be sure that you are choosing the right chiropractor. By ‘right’, we mean one that is fully licensed, qualified and experienced in spinal manipulation treatments. It’s a good idea to interview a few chiropractors in order to find out all of the necessary information before settling on one. Patients should feel confident and comfortable with their chiropractor which is why it’s important to choose one that is well-established or has been in this field for a long time.
Once you’ve found the best chiropractor in town, you should further prepare for the in-person examination. Typically, your chiropractor will begin by asking you a series of questions related to your health. These will include your medical history, your parents’ or family’s medical history, current health status (whether you have underlying health issues), when the pain (you are currently experiencing) started, how it started, etc. It is advisable to note down all this information so that the professional can proceed to the physical examination without wasting too much time on asking questions. He or she will clarify information with you upon reading through your notes.
What Happens at a Chiropractic Examination
After the chiropractor has learned about your medical history, health status, and symptoms, the physical examination can begin.
NOTE: You may be asked to fill out a form to provide personal and health-related details prior to the examination.
How is a Chiropractic Exam Carried Out?
To start off, a few general health tests may be conducted to check your heart rate, pressure, reflexes, etc. In most cases, your chiropractor will also carry out examinations to test your motor and sensory skills, and balance and coordination, among other functions such as eyesight and hearing.
Next up, the chiropractor will assess your muscle tone and strength, mobility of joints (especially around the area where the pain is located), and other orthopedic tests. Your posture and normal body movements will also be analysed to help pinpoint the underlying cause of the pain.
If the patient is displaying symptoms of bone or spinal deformity, arthritis, or spondylitis, he or she may be asked to take an x-ray of the affected area. For cases related to damaged soft tissue, the patient will need to do an MRI scan to get an accurate diagnosis. Typically, x-rays can be done in-house, however, very few chiropractic clinics have the facility to conduct MRI scans. Therefore, if the former is required, you may be asked to have it done elsewhere and then bring the reports back to the chiropractor.
Post-Diagnosis Chiropractic Care/Treatment
After thoroughly assessing the results of the tests/examinations conducted, as well as past and present health conditions of the patient, your chiropractor will be able to reach an accurate diagnosis. Upon this, he or she will determine whether your condition can be treated with spinal manipulation, or if a specialist needs to take over your case.
If the pain or underlying issue requires chiropractic care, a treatment plan specific to your condition will be created by your health care professional. By this time, the chiropractor should also give you an estimated time frame for the treatment and recovery period, and explain the dos and don’ts to follow henceforth. This will help you recover faster while ensuring that more damage or pain is not caused to the affected area.
Some patients may require to take over-the-counter medication and/or be given instructions to perform simple physiotherapy exercises for knee pain, back pain, and neck pain. Typically, physiotherapy is a follow-up treatment to chiropractic care to help patients regain full mobility and range of motion to the affected part of their body.
Overall, your first chiropractic examination needn’t be a stressful one, especially when you are prepared and know what to expect. At MSK Therapy, we assure patients of a thorough examination by highly trained and experienced chiropractors who will help put you at ease the moment you walk through the door! We are happy to answer your questions about chiropractic care and address any concerns you may have regarding the treatment. Contact us today to book your first chiropractic examination!