Now that you’ve made your appointment to see a chiropractor at Chiropractic Athletic Center, what can you expect to happen on your first visit? Here are some helpful tips to do before you come to the office. Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes and comfortable shoes. Bring any medical reports you may have. If you have had x-rays or an MRI taken please bring the report or films with you. Plan on spending approximately half an hour in our office for your first visit. If possible go to www.chiropracticathleticcenter.com (Click on “new patient forms” tab) to fill out the patient history before coming to your first visit. This will save you about 10-15 minutes of paperwork in our office. When you walk in the door you will be greeted by our friendly receptionist. The first thing you’ll do is sign in at the front desk. Like any medical office there will be paper work to complete before we can begin your examination and treatment (unless you filled it out on-line). Don’t worry, we’ve done our best to keep the paper work short and simple. There are the usual personal history questions: name, address, phone, etc. If you are concerned about medical coverage by your insurance company or Medicare, we have someone on staff who can help you with the forms and any questions you may have. You’ll also fill out a medical history by supplying information about your family doctor, any medications or treatments you might be receiving, allergies, past illnesses, etc.
Specific to our chiropractic office, you will be given a form to complete describing your present condition. This will aid the doctor in analyzing your condition and prescribing a treatment plan specific to your needs. You’ll be asked things like where the trouble is located, how long you’ve had the condition, and the severity of the pain. You can also view this form on our website by clicking on “New Patient Forms” on the Home page. The next step is to see the doctor. He will review your paperwork with you and ask additional questions. Subjects such as your job and work place, stress level, eating habits, exercise, and so on are important to your analysis. The doctor will then perform chiropractic, orthopedic and neurological exams and will also examine your posture and movement of joints. If you have had x-rays taken he will review them. If you have not had x-rays taken and he feels that it is necessary, they can be done at that time in our office. They are digital so there is no waiting. If the doctor determines along with your consent that chiropractic is the best form of treatment for your condition, he will begin your treatment. Along with this treatment he may also make recommendations for your diet, prescribe stretches, and make suggestions for a healthy life. Now that you and the doctor have reviewed your medical history and he has performed an examination to determine the correct path of treatment it is time to have your first adjustment.
But first let’s clear up the terminology. What will happen during your treatment is called a spinal manipulation. You may have hard this called a spinal adjustment, chiropractic adjustment. or having your back cracked. It all boils down to the same thing. The reason for your discomfort is caused by a subluxation. A subluxation is a distortion of the structure of the spine. This can be referred to as a spinal segment that has become fixed, locked-up, or out of place. You probably are feeling fatigue, soreness, stiffness or even pain on any number or levels in your neck and/or back. The condition could also be present in your shoulders, and may continue to your arms and legs. It could have been caused by any number of things from a fall, bad posture at the workplace, stress, sports injuries, an accident, etc. The treatment you receive will help your spine return to it’s natural condition through a manipulation of the vertebrae.
To begin your treatment the doctor may apply one or a combination of therapies. The purpose of these therapies is to help your body be more receptive to the adjustment by reducing muscle spasms and swelling. Some of the therapy options include massage, hot and/or cold compresses, vibrator, and ultrasound therapy, cold laser therapy, spinal traction, and electrical stimulation (An FDA approved application of electrical impulses that increases blood flow and helps relieve pain).
The doctor will have you move your body (with his help if necessary) so that the joint he will adjust is in the proper position. At this point you may be lying on an adjustment table, seated in a chair, or standing. The adjustment itself consists of the doctor making a firm but gentle manipulation with his hands to restore movement and proper alignment of a joint. He may also make an adjustment by rotating and flexing the joint in order to restore correct motion. You may hear a cracking or popping noise (audible) which is the release of nitrous gas from the joint fluid. This is a normal occurrence that does not necessarily happen in during every adjustment.
After the adjustment the doctor will recommend a follow-up visit to see how your body responded to the treatment. It is usually recommended to schedule a follow-up visit (with the receptionist) within 48-72 hours after the initial treatment to best determine the response to your adjustment. At that time a treatment plan, specific to correct your condition, will be determined by the doctor.
For a description of how you will feel and what to expect after your adjustment please refer to the article on this website titled “After Your First Adjustment”.