Find Out What it Means to Be a Chiropractic Patient
By Martha Michael
There are many who would sing the praises of weekly visits to the chiropractor for assessment. But besides a general inspection of areas where you’re experiencing pain, what does it mean to maintain a regular schedule of visits to your healthcare professional?
On your initial visit, your chiropractor may have you complete a report asking for your health history and current concerns. Your chiropractor likely has an intake process unique to his or her office, but follow-up visits will probably include a consultation and a physical examination followed by treatment.
The type of examination varies, depending on your chiropractor’s preferred system. Inspecting your vertebral column is at the center of analysis for most chiropractic practitioners, who are educated about the neurological connections in the human body.
"Chiropractors tend to examine your whole spine by doing an examination for purposes of looking for the cause of a health issue," said Dr. Jeremy J. Casagrande, a chiropractor and regional manager for The Joint Chiropractic in Thornton, Colo. "For example, if you had a low back complaint the chiropractor would more than likely perform a neck examination because secondary health concerns may present themselves somewhere else within the spine."
For an inspection and assessment of your bones and soft tissue, your doctor may choose to engage you in muscle strength comparisons and test your range of motion and your reflexes, as well as assess your neurological health.
If you receive a chiropractic adjustment, the doctor will manually direct force at various joints. Using leverage and velocity, he or she can aim the treatment at areas where it’s needed.
"Other areas that may require adjustment for health-related issues may include the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, ankle and feet," Dr. Casagrande said.
The structure of your body leads to its function, so adjusting your joints to create proper alignment is often a part of your doctor visit. The DC (Doctor of Chiropractic) may choose non-manual therapies as well, which could include exercises, counseling about daily habits, or applying ice or heat to an area.
Your chiropractor will develop a treatment plan based on the previous tests. Factors that go into customizing your treatment include:
- Your areas of pain
- Your general well-being
- Your spine’s signs of aging
- Your goals
To some, the idea of developing and verbalizing wellness goals seems challenging, but there’s a benefit to the analysis itself. The time you spend becoming informed about your body’s health and deciding where you’d like to be has its own reward. You may want simple relief from pain or discomfort, or you and your chiropractor may plan a regimen of ongoing care to improve your general health.
Scheduling a regular appointment for assessment and adjustment with your chiropractor may feel like “same song, different verse.” But if you choose not to, you could end up with pain and discomfort from being out of alignment.