VISITING A CHIROPRACTOR FOR THE FIRST TIME
If you are not sure what Chiropractic is for, or what to expect when you visit a Chiropractor, this blog should answer any questions or doubts you may have.
Chiropractors are “neuro-musculoskeletal experts”, helping people with pain due to their back, neck, shoulders or hips. Be it a long-term problem or something which has just happened. Often, we can help make a difference.
WHAT DOES TREATMENT INVOLVE?
Chiropractic treatment involves safe, often gentle, specific adjustments to the joints, primarily in the spine, but can include other joints in the body. We may adjust by hand (traditional Chiropractic adjusting) or may use a combination of stretches and joint mobilisation to effect a change. We will always take into consideration the preferences of the patient.
YOUR FIRST VISIT – WHAT TO EXPECT
When you arrive for your first appointment you will be greeted by the receptionist who is there to help you. You will need to fill in a form with some basic information about yourself and your complaint.
You may have already been asked to fill out a form online as well, which we will have ready, to help us determine what issues you may have. All this information is strictly confidential and is only used to help determine what the problem is that’s causing your pain.
HISTORY AND EXAMINATION
The Chiropractor will introduce themselves and will take you through to a private consultation room where your issues and problem will be discussed. Following this initial conversation with the Chiropractor (known as history taking) a physical examination will follow to help understand the problem. A physical examination is important. The focus being mainly on the neuromuscular system.
However, it may be necessary to check other aspects of your health such as your blood pressure or heart. It is not usual to check or examine intimate areas, but we may need to examine close by and will ask permission to do so. Gowns or shorts are available for the examination and treatment
REPORT OF FINDINGS AND TREATMENT
Before treatment starts, your chiropractor will tell you simply: what is wrong with you; If Chiropractic care is suitable and what can be done for your condition. If treatment is considered then before you are treated the chiropractor should tell you what to expect when you receive your first treatment.
You will also be advised of all costs that relate to your care. It would be appropriate, at this point, for your chiropractor to tell you of any likelihood of a recurrence of your problem, and the need for any ongoing supportive care if appropriate.
WHEN SHOULD TREATMENT START?
Treatment would normally start immediately. However, it may be delayed for obtaining and viewing X rays or obtaining further information from your GP (for example, blood test results). We would refer you back to your GP when we need to ensure that chiropractic treatment is suitable for treating you and your complaint.
You may be told about simple exercises or changes to your lifestyle or diet that may be beneficial, so that you can help yourself. A part of getting better is up to you, so please follow any instructions and advice carefully.
FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT TREATMENT AND ONGOING CARE
In general Chiropractic treatment will not hurt, although there may be associated minor short term discomfort after treatment which quickly passes for most patients. You will normally find that follow-up treatments are much more pleasant, as your symptoms improve and you feel more at ease with your chiropractor.
Are there any risks?
Chiropractic has far fewer risks than many other treatments for your problem. Serious side effects are extremely uncommon. Very rarely, manipulation of the neck has been linked with strokes, although research shows that chiropractic is one of the safest and most effective forms of treatment available. Your chiropractor will be happy to discuss all your concerns regarding treatment.
Do chiropractors use X rays or other tests?
Any decision about further tests will be made in consultation with you. At all times, your chiropractor will weigh the risks against the benefits of further tests. If it happens to be an underlying issue that we feel we may not help you with — you will be referred to your GP or relevant specialist.