What To expect during your first chiropractic appointment
At SWBPC, our Chiropractic Care utilizes the most modern adjustment procedures and equipment available. The doctor will thoroughly examine your spinal and nervous systems during your initial chiropractic adjustment. This will include general tests, such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and reflexes. In addition, specific orthopedic and neurological tests may also be performed to examine the range of motion of affected body parts, muscle tone and strength, and neurological integrity.
Your doctor will perform a physical exam involving palpating your spine by hand. This will identify the areas of your spine with subluxation problems. In addition, spinal position, curvatures, and muscle tone can also be evaluated as these things relate to possible spinal subluxations.
The examination may involve additional testing to evaluate your nervous system. For example, your doctor may test your ability to sense hot/cold along your spine or other body areas. This is commonly done using the metal end of a reflex hammer (cold) and the doctor’s finger (hot). By examining this sensation, we can see if subluxations may affect how your nervous system functions.
During the adjustment, your doctor will have you lie down on a padded chiropractic table. He will then place you in specific positions to treat the affected areas. Often, a patient is positioned lying face up. The chiropractor will use his hands to apply a controlled, sudden force to a joint, pushing it beyond its usual range of motion. You may hear popping or cracking as your joints move during the treatment session. Small pockets of air bubbles cause this in the fluid surrounding your joints, not from your bones cracking!
After your adjustment, your doctor may put you on therapy for 15-20 minutes. An example of treatment is neuromuscular electrical stimulation therapy, which uses an electrical current to cause a single muscle group or group of muscles to contract. Your doctor or an assistant will place electrodes on your skin (designated for your use only) in the affected area, and the current is applied gradually until gentle muscle contraction is achieved. The contraction of the muscles helps to increase muscle function and promote blood flow to the area, which assists in healing. It can also decrease muscular spasms by artificially tiring the muscle in spasm. Your therapy can last 15-30 minutes, depending on the method used.
At the end of your initial visit, your doctor will explain your diagnosed condition and offer a treatment plan for chiropractic care. Short-term goals of chiropractic care typically involve reducing pain and restoring normal joint function and muscle balance. Long-term goals usually involve restoring functional independence. To reach either of these goals, several chiropractic visits will be recommended. For most patients, a treatment plan of 1 to 3 visits per week for 2 to 4 weeks is typically recommended, with a re-examination at the end of the prescribed number of visits. These follow-up appointments generally last 15-20 minutes and can be longer if subsequent therapy is necessary.