Are you experiencing pain, cramps, or soreness in your back or neck? The idea of seeing a chiropractor for your back pain can be intimidating, and many people just don’t know what to expect. If you’re considering seeing a chiropractor or planning to head in for your first appointment
, here’s a quick rundown on some of the common practices and procedures you can expect.
A chiropractic intake isn’t much different from any other medical intake. You’ll be asked to fill out a form to show your relevant medical history, as well as where on your body that you’re experiencing pain or discomfort. After the initial intake forms are completed, you’ll move on to a physical examination room.
In this portion of the visit, you can expect a brief physical exam
(no private parts), followed by a thorough examination of your spine (with particular emphasis on the areas that are causing discomfort). Even if you’re only experiencing symptoms in one part of your spine, it’s important that the chiropractor performs a full examination. Strain in one part of the back can lead to discomfort in other regions of the body as a secondary effect, so a thorough exam is necessary.
In addition to the spinal exam, a number of secondary exams are used to measure any potential neurological damage caused by the irritation. For example, the chiropractor might test your reflexes, how high you can raise your arms, or your general mobility. Computerized diagnostics like surface EMG or thermography may be performed to help pinpoint and quantify your spinal problem. Spinal x-rays are often used to rule out pathology and more accurately determine spinal alignment.
Following the examination, your chiropractor will try to find the best method of treatment to help alleviate your back pain. It’s important that you trust your chiropractor and follow through with the treatment plan as recommended, but don’t be afraid to be involved and ask any questions that you may have.
Your relationship with your chiropractor should be just like any other doctor-patient relationship with the expectation that they have your health as their number one priority. Be sure to express what you’re comfortable with, what your overall goals are for your health, and activities in your daily life that could be inducing or contributing to your back pain.
There are a variety of treatment methods and treatment plans, and your chiropractor will select what works best for you. While most people have heard of chiropractic adjustments, other methods vary from spinal rehabilitative exercises to cold or heat therapy, and even electrical stimulation of the nerves. Next up is a brief outline of what to expect when you receive a chiropractic adjustment, one of the more common treatment methods offered at a chiropractor's office.