WHAT TO EXPECT DURING YOUR INITIAL CHIROPRACTIC APPOINTMENT
At SWBPC, our Chiropractic Care utilizes the most modern adjustment procedures and equipment available. During your initial chiropractic adjustment your doctor will perform a thorough examination of both your spinal and nervous system. 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, which will involve the palpation of your spine by hand. This will identify the areas of your spine that are involved with subluxation problems. In addition, spinal position, curvatures and muscle tone can also be evaluated as these things also 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 in other areas of your body. This is commonly done using the metal end of a reflex hammer (cold) and the doctors’ finger (hot). By examining this sensation we can see if subluxations may be affecting how your nervous system functions.
During the adjustment, your doctor will have you lay down on a padded chiropractic table. He will then place you in specific positions in order to treat the affected areas. Often, a patient is positioned laying 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 sounds as your joints are moved during the treatment session. This is caused by small pockets of air bubbles which are in the fluid that surrounds your joints, and not from your bones cracking!
After your adjustment, your doctor may decide to put on therapy for 15-20 minutes. An example of therapy 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 (which will be 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 be used to decrease muscular spasms by artificially tiring the muscle in spasm. Your therapy can last from 15-30 minutes, depending on the method that is 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, a number of 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 will typically last 15-20 minutes, and can be longer if subsequent therapy is necessary.