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Your First Chiropractic Appointment

June 10, 2024

Are you considering going to a chiropractor? Do you perhaps have an initial consultation or appointment booked? Chiropractic treatments has been around for over 150 years, but there are a lot of misconceptions about it. A local Burnsville, MN chiropractor offers some insight as to what that first appointment would look like in this article.

What Is A Chiropractor?

Chiropractors are licensed medical professionals. They do not have MD (medical doctor) degrees, but are doctors of chiropractic care. Their education overlaps with that of medical doctors in many places, as their studies focus very much on things like anatomy, orthopedics, and physiology.

Chiropractors have a very specific area of focus: the neuromusculoskeletal system,  which includes your bones, nerves, and muscles, as well as tendons and ligaments. As you may know, chiropractors are trained in spinal manipulation. 

In fact, the definition of chiropractors is evident in the name ‘chiropractor.’ Chiro means hand, while practor comes from the word praktikos, which means ‘to do’ in Greek. Therefore, the word translates loosely into ‘doing by hand’.

What Issues Do Chiropractors Treat?

The vast majority of people who seek chiropractic care are seeking relief from neck and back pain, which can not only be excruciating but can also have a negative impact on one’s overall quality of life. However, chiropractic treatments can be used to treat a wide variety of issues.

These include the following:

  • Lower back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Headaches
  • Hyperemia
  • Congestion
  • Muscle Atrophy
  • Edema
  • Local ischemia
  • Minute hemorrhages
  • Fibrosis
  • TMJ
  • Pinched nerves

Chiropractic treatment plans are often developed as one part of a larger treatment plan. That may include soft tissue therapy, physical therapy massage, braces, nutritional counseling, and other options.

It’s also worth mentioning that, while the general focus of chiropractic care is spinal alignment, chiropractors can work on many areas of the body. That includes the shoulders, elbows, hips, wrists, knees, and ankles.

What Will My First Chiropractic Appointment Be Like?

As with many other medical professionals and service providers, you may expect your first chiropractic appointment to be a bit different than the subsequent ones. You’ll of course need to fill out or provide any necessary documents, such as new patient forms.

Your chiropractor will need to do a full assessment of the issue and review your medical history. In some cases, they may put in an order for specific tests, such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. Typically, the chiropractor will take your vital signs, and also examine and evaluate your spine and curvature. They may also evaluate your joints, and assess your range of motion. Once they have a clear grasp of the issue, they’ll be able to determine the best course of action.

It’s important to understand that chiropractic treatment plans are always done on a case-by-case basis. Someone who is coming in as part of a recovery plan as they recuperate from an accident or injury may not need the same care as someone who is suffering from chronic headaches.

What Are Chiropractic Appointments Like?

During a chiropractic treatment session, the patient will typically be instructed to lie down on a special table. This table can be adjusted as necessary to give the chiropractor the best access to the part of the body that is being adjusted. 

As for the treatment itself, you may feel pressure, and you may experience cracking and popping. 

How Do Chiropractors Know What To Adjust?

This is where the years of study required to become licensed come in. Chiropractors have been trained to locate abnormalities, such as tightness and misalignments, by using touch and palpation. They can often quickly locate subluxations, or misalignments. Many chiropractors also utilize other information, such as X-rays, to give them a clearer picture of where the issue lies. 

How Long Do The Effects Of A Chiropractic Session Last? 

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for that. In some cases, the effects may last a few hours or a few days. For others, chiropractic care may resolve the issue permanently. It ultimately varies, depending on the person and the issue being treated. 

Is It Bad To Tense Up During A Chiropractic Appointment? 

If you are stiff during your treatment session, or perhaps tense up during the session, it could make the treatment uncomfortable. It may also interfere with the adjustment. Try to stay still and relax.

This is one reason that massage and chiropractic treatments go so well together, as massage naturally relaxes the muscles. 

Is A Chiropractic Adjustment Painful?

In most cases, the adjustments are not painful. You may, however, feel some mild discomfort. If you are experiencing pain in a part of your body, then it may also be unpleasant as those muscles and joints are manipulated. As you get better, the pain will lessen.

Adverse reactions and complications are rare, but if you do experience pain, weakness, or other issues after treatment, contact your doctor immediately. 

How Long After A Chiropractic Adjustment Will I Feel Better?

Many people feel immediate relief. The effects are in general cumulative, however; the majority of people can feel a noticeable difference after about two or three weeks. Keep in mind that chiropractic treatment often works very well as a complement to other therapies, so you’ll also have to take that into consideration. 

What Happens After My Chiropractic Adjustment?

It’s not uncommon for people to feel a bit sore after an adjustment. You may also experience mild flu-like symptoms. This is normal, and is an effect of your body releasing toxins from deep tissues and just healing in general. This usually goes away within a day—or after a good night’s sleep. It also tends to fade as the body adjusts to treatment. 

Depending on the issue being treated, your chiropractor may advise you to just relax that night. (This is a great time to binge-watch something.) In some cases, you may need to perform a bit of home care to help your body heal. That may entail things like heat pads, ice packs, or stretches. 

Ask your chiropractor for specific advice. 

Do Chiropractors Take Insurance? 

Many insurance companies do cover chiropractic care. However, this varies by insurance provider.  You may need approval from your personal physician. 

Can I Use An HSA For Chiropractic Treatments? 

Yes, as long as it meets the IRS standards for medical care. 

What Are The Benefits Of A Chiropractic Adjustment?

Chiropractic adjustments can offer many benefits. As a whole, they improve health and wellness by reducing pain, improving range of motion, and reducing stiffness. They can also help reduce or eliminate headaches, neck pain, and back pain. 

What Are The Risks Of A Chiropractic Adjustment?

Generally, the main downside would be the temporary side effects, such as headaches and/or possibly feeling a bit sore and ‘off’ immediately after your appointment. These typically resolve quickly. 

More serious side effects are rare, but not unheard of. These include herniated disks, pinched nerves, and even stroke. The likelihood of adverse effects is very low. In fact, according to a study by The National Library Of Medicine, only about 0.97 cases per 100,000 experienced subsequent vertebrobasilar stroke, which is a type of stroke associated with arterial dissection. 

The best way to reduce these risks? Only go to a trained, licensed professional chiropractor. It’s also important to follow your personal physician’s directions. 

Make An Appointment With Your Burnsville, MN Chiropractic Care Center

Are you interested in chiropractic treatments? Are you suffering from neck or back pain? Contact us, your Burnsville, MN chiropractic office, today! 

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