Chiropractic care deals with disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, as well as the effects of these disorders on general health.
Complaints most often dealt with are linked to back and neck pain. Pain in the joints of the arms and legs are also frequently treated, as are headaches. Chiropractic care is a drug-free, hands-on approach that takes in patient examination, condition diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Chiropractors may also provide dietary, nutritional and lifestyle advice.
The in-office clinical session consists of three parts:
- Patient history and symptoms
You will be required to fill out forms, providing background information about your symptoms and conditions. This includes location of the discomfort, when and how it started and a description of any pain you feel in the area. Activities or circumstances that improve or worsen the conditions will also be ascertained.
Also gathered is information about your family medical history, pre-existing medical conditions, and a details of past and current treatments.
During this first consultation, you can also discuss the chiropractor’s philosophy, expertise and general approach. It is also important to ensure that your personal preferences are made clear.
- The Chiropractic Exam
The chiropractor will conduct orthopedic and neurological tests to evaluate muscle strength and tone in the affected area; range of motion; and neurological integrity.
Additional chiropractic tests may be needed to complete a full evaluation. These may include asking you to move in a particular way; a posture analysis; and chiropractic manipulation of the affected body part.
At this stage the chiropractor may recommend diagnostic procedures in the form of an X-ray or other laboratory tests. These help the practitioner to gain a better understanding of your condition and its underlying causes. They also help to conclude the final diagnosis and influence the treatment plan to be developed.
- Diagnosis and Treatment
If the chiropractor feels the condition will respond to the chiropractic care, then the treatment may begin immediately or during the next appointment. This may include:
- adjustments to relieve main joint dysfunctions
- ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and traction to promote healing in soft tissue and relieve pain
- strengthening and stretching exercises to increase strength, coordination and muscle balance
- application of heat/cold
- training to improve your posture and motor control
- instruction on ergonomics and nutrition
Treatments and re-assessments may last for several weeks or more, then the chiropractor will either release you from the chiropractic care; adjust and continue the treatment; or refer you to another healthcare specialist.