Increasingly, chiropractic care is becoming a regular part of people’s healthcare. If you’re new to chiropractic care, however, you may be wondering what to expect when you finally decide to add a chiropractor to your healthcare team.
What is Chiropractic Care and What Can It Treat?
Chiropractic care is a non-invasive manual therapy that effectively treats pain and improves or maintains the function of the body. Chiropractors incorporate a variety of techniques such as soft tissue therapy and adjustments, but each chiropractor is unique in their skills and training.
Many chiropractors have further training that allows them to specialize in particular issues or make use of different treatments such as Active Release Technique, Cold Laser Therapy, and acupuncture.
Chiropractic care operates under the philosophy that chiropractic care is for everyone – families, seniors, athletes, etc. You don’t need to have suffered an injury or be experiencing pain in order to see a chiropractor, chiropractic care can also be preventative.
In the case of injuries and conditions, chiropractors can treat:
- Injuries due to motor vehicle accidents (MVA).
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Musculoskeletal issues throughout the whole body including strains, sprains, nerve entrapment.
- Headaches and migraines
- Supportive care during pregnancy
These are just some of the many conditions and injuries treated by chiropractors. If you are dealing with an injury or have a specific concern, reach out to your local chiropractic clinic like Reform Clinics to discuss whether chiropractic care is for you.
What to Expect at the Chiropractor?
Chiropractic care usually involves a longer, initial appointment followed by a second appointment that may be slightly longer than a regular visit and then your treatment plan is set and regular 15-20 minute visits can be made. Here’s what to expect at each type of appointment:
First Visit: In-Depth Assessment
Your first visit is where your chiropractor gets to know you through a thorough assessment. Before your first visit you will likely be asked to complete an intake form. This intake form serves as a health history to allow your chiropractor to fully customize your care.
When you arrive at the office, you check in and are brought to the treatment room to meet your chiropractor. Near the beginning of your appointment, your chiropractor will go over consent with you to ensure that you fully understand the scope of treatment and your rights as a patient. They will ask you about what brought you to the office and what you’d like to focus on and your health goals.
From here, your chiropractor will get into the assessment. This includes going over your intake form with you, asking questions about anything on your form that may relate to your treatment and asking questions to fill in any blanks to ensure they have the whole picture. Then, your chiropractor will likely perform a few assessments – things such as posture, range of motion and neurological testing. Some chiropractors may perform or send you for x-rays during your first visit but this varies depending on the chiropractor.
If there is time, your chiropractor may perform a small treatment at the end of your first visit. Your first visit is typically anywhere from 45 minutes – 1 hour.
Second Visit: Check-In & Findings
Your second visit may be slightly longer than a normal appointment but not as long as your initial. Here, your chiropractor will discuss with you in detail their findings from your initial assessments and go over x-rays if they were done. You will discuss how you felt after the first appointment if you had any treatment and go over your treatment goals and expectations. Your chiropractor will then work with you to create a treatment plan that fits your schedule and lifestyle.
Additionally, you will likely get a longer treatment during this appointment. Depending on what is being addressed this may be soft tissue work, joint mobilizations and adjustments. If your chiropractor specializes in other treatments or modalities they may also be incorporated into your care with your consent.
Regular chiropractic visits tend to range from 15-20 minutes in length. These appointments will mostly focus on treatment. Your chiropractor will check in with you at the beginning of your appointment to see how you are feeling and/or discuss new concerns before starting your treatment. Your treatment will be based on the plan you created with your chiropractor at one of your first visits, with room for change should other issues come up or if treatment approaches need to be modified.
How often you see your chiropractor varies, but often you will see them more frequently to start – one visit a week for 3 or 4 weeks followed by more spaced out “maintenance” appointments that can be anywhere from every two weeks to every month or even every several months.
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