Many people have some general knowledge about chiropractors, but not many know what to expect during their first appointment. While the process is not complicated, a lack of familiarity can create unnecessary stress and anxiety in patients before they even arrive in the office.
Here we have compiled some information to let you know what to expect for your first visit and hopefully ease any anxiety associated with your first visit.
While chiropractic offices pride themselves on being available to take care of your needs, it’s always a good idea to schedule an appointment in advance whenever possible. While emergencies do happen, scheduling visits in advance will allow for the more efficient service that you desire as well as the meticulous care that you expect.
When you call to schedule your first appointment, it's generally a good idea to ask some initial questions or even interview your potential chiropractor. Just remember, while it is a good idea to ask any questions that you have, here are some that you should be sure to ask as the answers can vary greatly.
Is the chiropractor licensed?
What is their education and experience background?
What is your chiropractor’s philosophy of care?
It may also be a good idea to call a few different offices to find the best fit for you. Your back pain can be a complicated process, and you want to know that you have a chiropractor who matches your specific needs.
Before a chiropractor ever does an actual physical exam, you will fill out a medical questionnaire. You should be prepared to answer questions about your family history as well as your own background. If you have an extensive medical history, you should also consider bringing in supporting documentation so that your chiropractor can review them and better understand all of your needs.
You should also be prepared to answer questions about the specific nature of your appointment that day. These questions can include:
How did the pain begin?
When did the pain start?
Describe the pain (sharp or dull, pressure or stabbing, does it radiate, does it change intensity)?
Did the pain begin following an injury or a movement?
Is there anything that you do that makes the pain better? Worse?
The answers to these questions can help your chiropractor identify some of the immediate treatment options that might be right for you. You should feel free to discuss the benefits and any potential drawbacks of those options.
Once you are through the background information, your chiropractor will conduct a physical exam. The exam will include general medical information such as blood pressure, pulse, and respiration. In addition, your chiropractor will also want to test your reflexes and complete orthopedic tests to explore your range of motion, muscle tone, strength, and neurologic integrity.
These tests will help to assess the seriousness of your injury in order to further refine which treatment options will be right for you.
Even once your chiropractor has reviewed your history and completed a physical exam, they still may not be able to rule out all the possible causes of your pain and so they may want to further explore the extent of the damage. In these cases, you may be asked to complete some additional testing which may include X-rays, Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI, or other laboratory tests. These tests can help to ensure that you receive the proper care and treatment that is individualized to you.
After your chiropractor has gathered enough information to present you with an accurate diagnosis and treatment options, they will work with you to find which option will work best as well as discuss the length of these treatments. If you have questions, you can request written information that you can review at your own pace. Choosing the right option for you will lead to faster and longer-lasting results.
Neck pain is a relatively common ailment, which most of us will experience at least once in our lifetime. In most cases, neck pain will improve and disappear on its own, but if you frequently suffer from this problem, or find that conventional ways of relieving your pain are not working, you may want to consider chiropractic care.
The neck is a very important part of our body, containing the very top of the spine, called the cervical spine as well as many blood vessels and nerves that supply structures including our esophagus, larynx, trachea and thyroid gland. The neck is also home to major blood vessels including the carotid arteries and jugular veins.
When there is tension in the neck, it can have a significant impact on the flow of blood between the head and body, as well as cause compression of the nerves and potentially the spinal cord. When this happens, it can have an effect on other areas of the body, including the upper and lower limbs.
In many instances, the exact cause of neck pain may never be known, but some of the most common causes believed to be behind the majority of cases include:
Sleeping in an awkward position
An injury, such as from a vehicle collision or fall
The pain you experience may also differ. It may be a constant dull ache or a sharp pain that occurs when you place your head a certain way or perform a specific movement, such as turning your head from side to side.
In many cases, neck pain may be accompanied by other symptoms, including swelling or inflammation in the neck, pain that radiates into the shoulders or upper arms, or headaches.
A headache is a very generalized term given to pain that is felt in the head or sometimes the neck. There are many different types of pain associated with headaches ranging from acute localized discomfort to a more generalized ache. Some headaches may appear suddenly and only last for a short period of time while others may build gradually and last for several hours.
While experts have identified more than 150 different types of headaches, some are more common than others. These include:
By far the most common type of headache is a tension headache, which is usually attributed to stress. They tend to come and go and cause mild to moderate pain with no other symptoms.
Migraines are often considered to be more painful than a tension headache. They last longer ranging anywhere from a few hours to a few days and are usually accompanied by other symptoms such as sensitivity to light, smells, or sound, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, and loss of appetite. Some people suffer from recurrent migraines and may experience multiple episodes in a short period of time.
Cluster headaches tend to occur in groups and even though no one is sure why are more common in men than women. The pain associated with a cluster headache tends to be a burning or piercing sensation that is localized behind or around one eye. It can also be so severe that the patient can’t function properly until the pain eases.
Sinus headaches tend to occur when one has a cold or sinus infection. With a sinus headache, the pain is felt in your cheekbones, forehead, or bridge of your nose where the sinuses are located since it is caused by the swelling of your sinuses. The pain usually decreases after taking anti-inflammatory pain medication.
There is a range of things that you can do to help with one-off headaches, such as taking pain medications, drinking plenty of water, and trying to relax somewhere calm and quiet. However, if you suffer from recurrent headaches, you may want to consider seeking chiropractic care, which has been shown to be very successful in providing relief and even helping prevent this type of pain.
Sciatica is a condition that affects many people today. It typically manifests as pain in the lower back or buttocks that radiates down to the legs or feet. This pain can be felt in one or both legs and is often difficult to describe. Patients have also found that the pain can change in frequency or intensity ranging from mild to severe and can be debilitating at times. Patients have reported various sensations related to sciatica pain including pins and needles while at other times it may be described as dull, or even like electric shocks.
The discomfort that sciatica patients experience often causes them to be willing to try anything to alleviate the condition. Understanding a few things about sciatica may help you decide what is best for you.
Sciatica is understood as a compression of the sciatic nerve. This compression can occur as the sciatic nerve leaves the spinal column and travels down to the legs and there are many possible causes of sciatica that vary in their severity.
Subluxations – subluxations occur when the vertebrae in the spine are misaligned. These misalignments can cause restrictions or pressure on different nerves. Subluxations on the sciatic nerve are a common occurrence for many patients.
Herniated or bulging discs – The padding or discs between the vertebrae can be damaged or deformed which can create issues with the sciatic nerve resulting in sciatica.
Pregnancy – The drastic changes that occur to a woman’s body during pregnancy can create issues along the pelvis and spinal column. Some of these issues may cause a problem with the sciatic nerve.
Tumors – A potentially severe issue occurs when a tumor grows in or along the spinal column. One of the first signs of tumor growth in your spine may be a change in sensation that is caused by the tumor placing pressure against your nerves. Your chiropractor can help diagnose the cause of your discomfort and ensure that you get the appropriate treatment.
Piriformis syndrome – The sciatic nerve travels underneath the piriformis muscle which can be damaged in slips or falls. If the muscle experiences a strain or tightness, it may affect the ability of the sciatic nerve to function. Cramping or twitching of this muscle can also trigger pain associated with sciatica.
As you have just read, sciatica can be caused by a wide range of issues. Several concerns may extend beyond your discomfort when considering an appropriate diagnosis. Any time that your nerves are affected, there is a range of potential causes that should be thoroughly investigated in order to receive a proper diagnosis.
If your issue isn't properly diagnosed, the subsequent treatment may be ineffective. This could lead to continued pain and frustration on your part. Be sure to work with a licensed chiropractor to receive the best care possible.
If you have worked through a diagnosis with your chiropractor and decided that chiropractic care is the best option for you, then you can begin your treatment plan immediately. You should make sure to ask any questions
you may have about your plan and then adjust as needed. Your chiropractor will likely use several different options in the treatment of your sciatica.
Ice or Cold Therapy – These methods use temperature cooling to reduce any inflammation that may be contributing to your sciatica.
Ultrasound – Ultrasound produces radio waves that result in a gentle massaging sensation. This helps to stimulate the muscles and nerves in order to reduce your sciatica pain.
Electrotherapy – This therapy uses gentle electric pulses to stimulate and heal the muscles around the joints.
Spinal Manipulation – Your chiropractor may also help to align the vertebrae in your spine to relieve pinching or pressure on the sciatic nerve. You may experience some cracking in the spine as the chiropractor releases gases from the spinal column and reduces overall pressure.
If you are experiencing sciatica pain, your first step should be to meet with a licensed chiropractor to receive the proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. You should leave with a better understanding of what type of results you should expect and how long your treatment will last. Chiropractic care for your sciatica offers some of the safest and simplest treatments possible to produce the most significant positive outcomes for you and your health.
Intervertebral discs are found all throughout the spinal column except for the C1 and C2 vertebrae (the Axis and Atlas). These discs act to cushion the vertebrae from each other as well as the impacts that are felt throughout the spinal column. While many people will describe painful back issues as a “slipped disc,” this isn’t really the case as the intervertebral discs don’t actually slide out of place. What many people experience is called a bulge. This bulging disc is also called a herniated disc.
Herniated discs may occur for a variety of reasons. A damaged disc may be the result of poor posture or due to the patient being overweight which places additional stress on the spinal column. Discs may also become herniated due to a sports or other traumatic injury.
Some patients have even suggested that a relatively minor activity, such as a sneeze, has caused a herniated disc. This is usually the end result of a long-term weakening of the disc that has been unnoticed until a small movement finally makes the injury apparent.
The signs and symptoms of a herniated disc can vary widely. This is because damaged discs manifest in different ways at various points in the spinal column. For instance, discs that are damaged in the lower back may cause intense pain in the legs, lower back, or buttocks. But if the herniated disc is in the neck, pain is more likely to present in the shoulders or arms. The pain experienced from a herniated disc can also be felt as a sharp, shooting pain when you sneeze, cough, or move in a specific position.
Many people who have experienced a herniated disc also describe numbness or tingling in their extremities. This numbness and tingling may be felt in the same area as the pain which is related to the location of the herniated disc.
The longer that an individual goes with a herniated disc, the more likely they are to also experience weakness due to the inability of nerves to properly communicate with the affected body parts. The lack of a signal leads to muscle atrophy and a weakening of the muscles.
If you are experiencing shooting pain in the arms, shoulders, legs, or buttocks that is accompanied by numbness or tingling, you should consider seeking medical treatment. Many people often consult with their chiropractor first who can offer a treatment plan that is specifically designed for them.
Your chiropractor may recommend including adjustments or manual manipulation in conjunction with therapeutic exercises to help relieve your pain and correct the problem.
Chiropractic adjustments are designed to help your herniated disc in a variety of ways. Typically, manual manipulations are designed to ensure that your spine is in the correct position. Proper spine alignment can help with the effects of a herniated disc by moving the disc away from the nerve or by reducing the pressure that is causing the disc deformity.
Nerves that are impinged against the spine or that are subjected to increased pressure can be the cause of your pain or numbness. Proper spine alignment can help the disc resume the appropriate shape and allow it to heal. Manual adjustments have also been shown to increase the disc height which offers additional cushioning for your joints.
A herniated disc can be an excruciatingly painful experience. Individuals who experience a herniated disc are often desperate to find immediate solutions to their pain. Utilizing chiropractic care is a non-invasive technique that doesn’t require the lengthy recovery times that are needed by surgeries. Additionally, chiropractic care may help to reduce or eliminate a patient’s need for potentially addictive medications. If you are experiencing pain and suspect that you may have a herniated disc, you should schedule an appointment with your chiropractor today so that they can help you return to a pain-free life.
If you are a person who enjoys an active lifestyle, the last thing that you want is to be sidelined by an injury or pain. While chiropractic care is often seen as a therapy that can help to heal an athlete, it can also be used to help make you more resilient and improve your overall athletic abilities.
While people who lead active lifestyles are typically aware of the overall benefits of their increased movement, there are also some drawbacks. Some injuries occur from overuse of joints or the increased impact that we impose on our joints from high-impact activities like running, skiing, or hiking which all can have effects on our necks and backs. Chiropractic care can not only help to reduce the pain we feel but a properly aligned back can also reduce the potential for future injuries.
Here are some of the other benefits of receiving regular chiropractic care when you participate in an active lifestyle.
It is drug-free – We often associate visits to the doctor with an accompanied trip to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. While taking medication may help to reduce pain, many people don’t like to take medications as they prefer to avoid introducing foreign chemicals into their bodies. Chiropractic care can offer the same benefits as many medications but avoids any side effects or unknown long-term issues that are associated with certain medications.
It is non-invasive – Many people use chiropractic therapy to avoid surgery. Chiropractic care does not require your body to be cut open or have an overnight hospital stay. Most chiropractic procedures can be done over your lunch break and leave you returning to work feeling better than you did that morning.
Prevents Injuries – Chiropractic care is used by a wide range of people for short- and long-term treatments. Speak with your chiropractor to develop a long-term plan that will help you avoid future injuries.
Improves Performance – Proper spinal health helps people move more freely which can result in their ability to train more effectively. This can help runners achieve faster mile times or other athletes compete at higher levels than they would have been able to otherwise.
Reduces Pain – When your spine isn’t properly aligned, everything you do can be affected. Many patients even have pain so severe that it affects their ability to breathe. When your spine is happy, it alleviates the pain associated with normal activities and can reduce the swelling or inflammation along your vertebrae.
Increases Strength – While chiropractic care is typically used for treatment, long-term use can increase your overall strength. Studies have shown that athletes who regularly visit the chiropractor are stronger than their competitors who do not.
Improves Relaxation – Chiropractic care isn’t just about cracking your back (although this does often happen) but is also about working through your entire spinal comfort. Chiropractic appointments often entail an extensive massage that works through multiple pressure points which is why you shouldn't be surprised if you feel an overall sense of improved relaxation after your appointments.
While the few benefits given here are not an exhaustive list of the improvements you can expect from a chiropractic appointment, they should provide some motivation for you to schedule an appointment today. Our lives can be greatly improved when we can remain active and engaged in the world around us.
Chiropractic care is just one avenue that you can explore to keep your body in the best condition to continue exploring. If you haven’t used a chiropractor before, now is the time to give it a try. You may even wonder why you haven’t utilized their services before.
Joints are important musculoskeletal structures that connect bones to one another. Some facilitate different types of movement while others remain fixed. Joint pain is a very common and often debilitating problem with around one-third of all adults experiencing it at some point during their lifetime. Fortunately, there are treatments that can help and one of the most effective is chiropractic care.
Here’s what you need to know about joint pain and how chiropractic care can help relieve discomfort.
There are many different things that can cause joint pain. The most common is a condition called osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that usually protects the ends of bones begins to deteriorate, causing them to rub against one another. This friction causes pain, swelling, and problems moving the joint.
Other potential causes of joint pain include but are not limited to:
Inflammation of the joint lining
Damage to the cartilage at the back of the kneecap
Bleeding into the joint space
A fracture to the bones of the joint
Other types of arthritis such as rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis
Your chiropractor will be able to assess your condition to determine the cause of your joint pain and recommend chiropractic techniques to help ease your discomfort.
Joint pain is just one of the symptoms that you might experience due to the underlying cause of your discomfort. Some of the others can include:
Loss of range of motion in the joint
Chiropractic treatment is a popular alternative to conventional medicine when it comes to treating the many causes of joint pain. It can also be used alongside medications and other conventional treatments.
Chiropractic care focuses on eliminating misalignments in the spine and joints so that there is less pressure on the spinal cord and central nervous system. This allows all bodily systems to function optimally and boost circulation, enabling blood and nutrients to be delivered to the areas of the body that require healing. A reduction in inflammation helps to counteract spinal and joint motion problems, easing movement and reducing the pain that you might be experiencing, without the need for pain medications.
Chiropractors can also help address other factors that could be contributing to your joint pain, such as poor posture or sleep position, or not warming up or cooling down properly when exercising.
Chiropractic treatment plans are personalized and tailored to the needs of each individual. This means that the precise techniques used, frequency of appointments, and overall the care you are given will vary depending on the extent of your joint problem.
As parents, we always want what is best for our children. We are careful about the things that they are exposed to since we want to give them the best possible childhood in order to set them up for a successful future. When our kids become sick or injured, it can be a worrying time, and it can be challenging to identify the best path for their care.
Effective medications to treat childhood ailments are tough to come by. Prescription medications have some scary side effects which can become even more severe when given to our little ones. And the possibility of surgery looms as an even more frightening prospect.
Several childhood ailments lend themselves well to chiropractic care. In fact, chiropractors have been practicing their craft with children for more than a century. With the long history of successful treatments in children, it may be an option that is worth considering for your kids.
Chiropractic care is based on the relationship between the spine and the central nervous system. Our spinal cord houses the brain stem and all the nerves as they exit from the base of our skull and then pass through the spinal cord.
Nerves that control different parts of our body exit from the spinal column at specific vertebrae which means that if you are having an issue somewhere in your body, it may be linked to your spinal health. Chiropractors are specially trained to evaluate these possibilities.
Children and infants are subjected to a wide range of changes occurring rapidly to their bodies throughout their youth. This means that any injuries or issues should be addressed immediately in order to reduce the potential effects on your child’s future. Some of these problems may even occur to your child because of the growing process.
You may want to consider chiropractic care for your newborn too. While many women are aware of the baby’s positioning in utero, they aren’t told about the stresses that this may place on your child’s spine.
Many infant issues may be directly related to problems with the spine or the nervous system that may be corrected with chiropractic care. You should schedule an appointment with a chiropractor if your infant is experiencing issues with:
Chiropractic care is non-invasive and doesn’t involve your child taking any medication and is, therefore, a safe option to gain more insight and weigh different treatment options.
Just like other medical professionals, a chiropractor will want to conduct a thorough review of your family history, your child’s medical history and the issues surrounding the reason for your visit.
After completing this review, your chiropractor will want to conduct a thorough physical exam to find any potential problems. They may request some additional testing such as X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to adequately diagnose your little one.
At the end of their examination, you can expect that your chiropractor will develop a diagnosis and treatment plan for your child. Feel free to ask questions and make sure that the treatment is specifically tailored to your child.
Chiropractors have a wide range of treatment options that are available and safe for children. This may involve manual manipulation of the joints which helps to properly align and position the joints to allow passage for the nerves.
You may hear popping or cracking sounds during this process. That is a common and normal reaction during adjustments and is caused by gases escaping from the joints. The release of these gases also helps to reduce pressure on the nerves.
Your chiropractor may also use therapies that involve heating or cooling the joints or using ultrasound. Ultrasound produces sound waves that help stimulate the nerves to reduce inflammation and swelling.
If your infant or child is having any health-related issues, it may be worth scheduling an appointment with a chiropractor to review their case. Chiropractors have a long and safe history of working with children to alleviate their pain or sicknesses without using harmful medications or invasive and painful surgeries. Call to schedule your appointment today.
Many Seniors today believe that aging and pain are synonymous. While aging is a natural part of our lives, pain in our bodies is a signal that something isn’t right. Some diseases like arthritis can attack the joints and cause inflammation, pain, and reduce our ability to move. However, the intensity or amount of pain that you experience is often an unnecessary side effect, and there are ways to help reduce or eliminate these problems. If you haven’t considered contacting a chiropractor, then you should keep reading as there are several benefits that chiropractors can offer you to increase your quality of life during your Golden Years.
Pain relief is one of the most common reasons that any patient visits with their chiropractor. While it is common to consider visiting a chiropractor for neck or back pain, you may consider a consultation for any type of discomfort.
Chiropractors commonly adjust the spinal column which houses your brain stem and the nerves that travel throughout your body after passing through your vertebrae. This means that if you are having discomfort anywhere in your body, it may be resolved or reduced by making sure that the nerve can easily pass signals to the brain.
Many seniors will tell you that aging commonly attacks their joints. Painful and inflamed joints can restrict the body’s ability to move freely and over time, as these muscles go unused, they begin to shrink and become weaker. After a visit with their chiropractor, many senior golfers have found that they have gained distance in their drives and gardeners find that they can finally collect their harvest without pain for the first time in years.
As the bones and muscles in our necks begin to deteriorate, one of the first signs can be a change in our ability to maintain balance. There are specific structures called mechanoreceptors that reside in our cervical spine and are partially responsible for helping us maintain our balance. As we age, they often experience some minor defects. Chiropractic care has been shown to help restore and stimulate the mechanoreceptors function which leads to an increase in our ability to balance. Improved balance can also mean fewer falls and a decreased chance of injury.
If your spine is not aligned correctly, it can cause additional strain and wear on many of our other joints. When we don’t hold proper body position, our legs, hips, neck and other joints must compensate for this change. Over time this can cause damage to the joints that lead to increased discomfort and a reduction in our ability or desire to move. Chiropractic adjustments can help to bring the spine into proper alignment which allows for correct body positioning and reduced demand on the joints throughout the body which can leave you feeling better and moving more.
A 1996 study suggested that patients who used chiropractic care to aid in their health, versus those who did not, received several benefits. These benefits include:
Less evidence of arthritis
Increased strenuous exercise levels
In fact, these patients also found that receiving chiropractic care may have even influenced their ability to stay out of a nursing home. At a follow-up interview three years after the study, only 5% of the patients who received chiropractic care had moved to a nursing home compared to 48% of those who did not receive care.
Chiropractic care has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for people of all ages. However, as our bodies age, we need to be increasingly cautious about the medications we take or the treatments that we use to maintain or improve our health. Chiropractic care is used for seniors, athletes, teens, adults, for those with injuries, pregnant women, and even babies. If you think that you may benefit from chiropractic care, schedule an appointment today.
Many people live with consistent and regular foot pain. While others may have pain that occurs only when they are engaged in certain activities. While orthotics may not be the right answer for everyone to help with this pain, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional to decide if orthotics are a good option for you.
For many, it is tempting to try to self-diagnose and purchase shoe inserts without consulting with a medical professional first, but the results are often minimal or ineffective. However, this doesn’t mean that you should be unprepared for your visit which is why we’ve compiled some helpful information to get you up to speed on the world of orthotics.
Shoe inserts are available over the counter in many pharmacies and shoe stores and provide an additional cushion when they are placed inside of a shoe. Shoe inserts are constructed from a variety of materials including gel, plastic, or foam. These inserts offer additional support for arches, heels, toes, or the entire foot, but if the inserts are not made specifically for your foot or foot pain, they will not actually help correct any problems that are causing your specific pain.
Many consumers feel that orthotics and inserts are synonymous. However, there are several distinct differences between the two. Orthotics are prescription medical devices that are specifically designed and tailored to meet your personal needs and can help with your foot position when you stand, walk or run. Orthotics are also prescribed to help with other medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, plantar fasciitis or bursitis and can be prescribed to eliminate the need for surgery to correct flat feet.
Now that you’ve determined that an appointment is necessary, there are a variety of tests and images that your medical professional will gather before deciding the best options for you. Initially, many orthotic appointments include 3-D imaging of the foot to see if they can identify any problems or differences between your feet.
Next, you will be given a thorough examination. The examination will include watching you walk to check your stance, foot-strike, hip movement, and ankle movement and how that may relate to the root cause. You will also be given a physical exam to assess your ability to move and stretch your foot in different directions and angles.
If it is decided that you need orthotics to help correct an issue, a mold will be made of your feet in order to accurately create an orthotic that will work for you. There are several different materials that are used to develop orthotics, and each has specific benefits and drawbacks which your medical professional will discuss with you.
There are two basic types of orthotics: rigid and soft. During your appointment, you should make sure to understand which type of orthotic you are receiving and why it is the best option for your condition.
Rigid Orthotics – Rigid or functional orthotics are typically made from durable plastic or carbon fiber. These orthotics are best paired with a dress or walking shoes and are specifically designed to ease pain in the foot, legs, thighs, and back that may be caused by issues with how your foot is working.
Soft Orthotics – Soft or accommodative orthotics are made from various soft, pliable materials. This form of custom orthotic is designed to ease pain and pressure on certain parts of the foot. They are often very thick and may need to be worn with a custom orthotic shoe so that they will fit without causing additional discomfort.
Now that you understand some of the details about orthotics, it’s a good time to speak to a professional about any concerns that you may have. They will be able to discuss the causes of your foot pain as well as your treatment options. It’s never too soon to get rid of the discomfort that you’re having, so schedule an appointment today!