The first visit to the Chiropractor
What is to follow?
You may be curious to know what will happen during the first visit to your Chiropractor and what will follow after that.
The Chiropractor will meet you soon for the first time. All Chiropractors who are members of the Hellenic Chiropractors’ Association have graduated from internationally recognized, university level colleges, after five years full-time studies.
After meeting you, the Chiropractor will gather information about your problem. First, he will ask you the main reason of your visit, giving you the chance to describe your problem. Secondly, he will ask you questions not only around your complaint, but also about your health in general. Some may seem irrelevant, but they are not. Actually, they are very important in understanding the condition of your body and of any physical stress you may have been through. This will allow the Chiropractor to have a global view of your problem and to decide whether he is able to help you or not.
It is important to mention at this point that the Chiropractor will keep all information about your health problem strictly confidential and he will not disseminate any of them without your permission!
After gathering the particular details of your current complaint, the Chiropractor will evaluate the function of your spine and the musculoskeletal system in general. For that reason, he will palpate the vertebrae, he will test the motion in the joints and he will check if there are any muscle contractions or nerve pressure. Consequently, he will have an understanding of the functional state of the different parts of the musculoskeletal system, the effect that any mechanical dysfunctions may have on the nervous system and the presence of any other problems that may be related to them. Finally, he will inform you of the findings of his evaluation and to what extent the mechanical dysfunctions may be related to your problem. So, he will be in a position to tell you whether he can help you.
The use of x-rays
Most of the patients bring their x-rays, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or other medical tests with them. Imaging examinations allow the Chiropractor to have a better understanding, so he can be more accurate in his evaluation, and help him decide which particular techniques will better help your condition. However, these tests may overload the body with radiation, so you should not decide to have them done, without consulting medical advice. Usually, x-rays are necessary for patients who were involved in an accident or had past injuries, for the elderly under suspicion of bone degeneration or bone lesions and for patients with particular clinical findings or an extended and complex medical history.
The first session
After the evaluation, Chiropractic treatment can start, unless additional tests are required.
Before commencing treatment, the Chiropractor will report to you the findings of his evaluation and will explain what he is about to do, in simple words so he can be understood. Asking questions on anything you don’t understand is always welcome and helpful. This is also the time he will explain what your role in the treatment is going to be, because your assistance is often necessary. The Chiropractor may give you specific instructions that will contribute to an all-round management of your problem. These are recommendations that may refer to your lifestyle, your habits or the need for exercise. Try to take notice and follow as many as possible, because that way you contribute to a quicker and better recovery. Your improvement depends on you to a great extent.
You will also be given advice on the future care of your problem. It is possible that you may need some more sessions in the future. This is quite frequent for patients with injuries or chronic joint problems.
What can I expect during the session?
Chiropractic treatment includes mainly specific therapeutic manipulations, called joint adjustments, which constitute the main means for correction of the mechanical dysfunctions detected by the Chiropractor. This is done by applying a quick, skillful and painless thrust to the joint, usually producing a cracking sound, as the joint gets released. This sound is caused by gas bubbles released in the joint fluid, as the adjustment creates conditions of low-pressure in the joint. The adjustment results in joint mobilization, giving relief of symptoms and a sense of wellbeing.
Adjustments could be given to the spine, as well as on other parts of musculoskeletal system, depending on the needs and type of problem.
If you are one of those that fear anything new, don’t worry anymore. Your Chiropractor will inform you before making any adjustment, so that you know what to expect.
Generally, Chiropractic treatment doesn’t cause any pain. However, it is possible occasionally to feel a temporary discomfort after the first sessions. Don’t worry, because everything is more sensitive during the acute phase, anyway, and our body takes time to adapt to the changes following any correction.
At the same time, the Chiropractor will advise you on the proper use of ice and heat, the right form of exercise and the need for you to make changes in your daily activities, in order to improve your health condition. Make sure to discuss every recommendation in detail, in order to appreciate its relevance to your problem, and take care of yourself.
Are there any risks?
As we all know, any medical intervention may present some risk to patients. In general, risks and possible reactions of your body to Chiropractic treatment are negligible. Of course, there are no “magic treatments” and symptoms may need some time to subside.
It is not uncommon, that some patients feel a small discomfort in the area of manipulation, during the first treatments. There may be a sense of ‘heaviness’ or a sense of irritation arising from the deep soft tissues. You may even feel worse at first. This can happen in case of problems of the discs or when there is inflammation present. Finally, manipulation of the neck area may cause a kind of dizziness or a light headache of short duration. These symptoms are temporary.
In general, no serious side effects have been reported following Chiropractic treatment. On the contrary, recent research places Chiropractic among the safest methods of care.
Your Chiropractor is always willing to discuss with you and to answer your questions regarding the type of treatment he is using.