What is chiropractic? How does it work? What do Chiropractors do? Is it safe? Here are a few questions you may have before visiting a chiropractor. This article will help you understand a little more on what to expect on your first visit to the chiropractor and will also give you a small introduction about chiropractic.
On your first visit to the chiropractor’s office you will be well accompanied so that you can benefit in every possible way of this natural health approach. In chiropractic care we work as a team. You are always involved in the process of regaining your health. Initially, a chiropractor will perform a thorough health history and physical examination in order to determine if your problem may respond to chiropractic care.
Normally your first visit can last anything between 30 minutes to one hour. During this time, the chiropractor will take a full case history and, with your permission, will give you a thorough physical examination which includes neurological and orthopaedic tests. Depending on the results of this evaluation you might be sent for additional diagnostic tests like x-rays.
A chiropractor’s first concern is to find out what is wrong. They will also check for signs of any serious conditions for which you would need to go to your GP or to the hospital.
Chiropractors are interested in the framework of nerves, bones and muscles that support the body (the neuro-musculoskeletal system). Some problems of this system can be caused by accidents, stress, lack of exercise, poor posture or some illness. The stresses and strains of everyday living such as housework, gardening, desk work, lifting or even sleeping on the couch can cause spinal problems. Children can also have spinal problems as a result of the birthing process, learning to walk, playing and falling down.
These spinal problems may cause pressure or irritate the spinal nerves which interfere with the communication between your brain and body. The way to recuperate from these problems is to get your spine or your joints adjusted.
Depending on your condition, the chiropractor may adjust parts of your spine or joints and give you advice on exercise, self-help, diet and lifestyle so you know what to do to heal faster and better.
What is an adjustment, you may ask?
An adjustment involves using a specific force in a precise direction to help restore proper function to the spinal bones or other involved joints of the body.
This adjustment can be applied to a joint that is fixated or locked or is not moving properly.
What does the adjustment do?
Adjustments help restoring better function to the spinal column and help to avoid early degeneration of the bones and soft tissues. It also helps in removing nervous system interference and allowing the body to start its own natural healing process.
How will you feel after an adjustment?
After an adjustment, most patients experience a sensation of calm and well-being or they may feel that their mobility has improved.
Chiropractic adjustments are usually painless unless an area is inflamed or swollen. If it is the case, your chiropractor will alter the treatment. You may hear a clicking or popping noise when one of your joints is being adjusted – don’t worry as this is perfectly normal with this form of treatment.
What do you need to know before you start chiropractic care?
Chiropractic care is very much a partnership between you and your chiropractor.
Before your care starts your chiropractor will explain to you clearly what was found at the examination and what he or she proposes as your plan of treatment. They will also explain all the benefits and any significant risks associated with your condition and proposed treatment.
Ask your chiropractor as many questions as you need to be sure that you understand what they have told you. Your chiropractor will then ask you to give your permission for treatment (it is called an informed consent).
How many visits will you need?
This will depend on your condition, how severe it is, how long you have had this condition, how well you respond to treatment and how much of your chiropractor’s advice you follow.
After your first examination, how long any further visits last will depend on your condition and the treatment you need.
The chiropractor will review your progress regularly and you will be asked to give your consent to any changes to your treatment plan. They will discuss carrying out further investigations or referring you to your GP if your condition does not improve.
Chiropractors have a thorough training and education that is very rigorous and demanding. This involves a minimum of seven years of university level education including no less than 4500 hours of classroom and clinical instructions. That is why it is possible for the chiropractor to establish if you can be a chiropractic patient or if you need other type of care.
We cannot encourage you enough to get your spine adjusted. It makes a world of difference in your overall health.
Don’t just take our word for it, experience it and see how chiropractic is for you.
By Sandra Genest-Boudreau | Christophe O. Alves
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Sandra Genest-Boudreau is French-Canadian, who graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 1990 before coming to the Algarve in 2002. She is passionate about adjusting all her patients, particularly children. Christophe Alves graduated from the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) UK, and has a special interest in Sport Chiropractic. Algarve Quiroprática clinic: EN125 in Pêra | 282 312 853 | 969 397 375