While visiting a chiropractor is similar to visiting other healthcare providers, it does have some unique elements. You will likely find the office setting and intake procedures quite familiar, but many notice the distinctive appearance of the chiropractic treatment table. These tables are often quite elaborate to allow specific positioning and movement during spinal adjustments and thus assist the chiropractic treatment.
A typical visit to a chiropractor includes an initial intake, physical exam, treatment, and follow-up plan.
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What can you expect from your consultation
First and foremost we need to understand your medical and health history. Unfortunately many health problems can mimic disorders of the spine and, as such, we will discuss your history in some detail. This will be followed by a comprehensive examination in order to make the most accurate diagnosis. The initial consultation will usually take approximately 30 minutes. Please be assured that if we do not think that we can help you, or if our examination reveals any additional concerns, we will refer you appropriately and liaise with your general practitioner on your behalf.
What if I need further investigations?
If imaging is required you will be referred to one of the local service providers. Please note this is based on your medical history and not a standard practice. If an MRI is required we will directly refer you to one of the private providers in Perth. Other imaging, dependant on condition will be referred for working with your General practitioner.
What goes into a treatment plan?
Following the assessments, the chiropractor will develop a treatment plan that takes into account:
- The extent of your injury or irritation
- Your general health
- The condition of your spine as affected by age and previous injury
- What your goals are — this is most important item
Your goals of treatment should result from the discussion you have with your chiropractor. Many people seek simple relief of pain or discomfort, while others want to begin a regimen of ongoing care meant to improve their general health.
In initial consultations, your chiropractor will tell you the status of your condition and recommend an approach to care. Ask questions. As in any professional-patient relationship, trust and mutual understanding are vitally important.
What is a typical treatment?
“Adjustments” are usually the central part of chiropractic treatment. The chiropractic adjustment is a therapeutic manipulation that uses controlled force, leverage, direction, amplitude, and velocity directed at specific joints.
Your chiropractor will most often make these adjustments to the spine, but he or she might adjust other joints, such as the ankle, knee, wrist, elbow, or shoulder in order to restore structural alignment or to improve joint function. Again, proper structure is necessary for proper function, and proper extremity function is an important part of healthy daily living.
When being treated for a complaint such as back or neck pain, you will most likely receive a series of adjustments, separated by either a day or a few days, to incrementally reduce the irritation and improve normal function. This might continue for several weeks, usually diminishing in frequency.
If you can’t tolerate the manual adjustments, you may instead receive mild or non-force techniques.
Adjustments are often accompanied by non-manual therapies such as application of heat or ice, electrical stimulation, orthotic supports for your shoes, rehabilitative exercise, counseling about diet, weight loss, and other lifestyle factors, and nutritional supplements.
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Haldeman, S., Chapman-Smith, D and Peterson, D.M. (Eds.). (1993). Guidelines for chiropractic quality assurance and practice parameters:
Proceedings of a consensus conference commissioned by the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers.
Peterson, D. H. & Bergmann, T.F. (2002). Chiropractic technique: Principles and procedures (2nd ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
Souza, T. A. (2005). Differential diagnosis and management for the chiropractor: Protocols and algorithms. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.