Chiropractic care is a drug-free and non-invasive form of healthcare, which includes the use of gentle spinal adjustments and conservative manual therapies. Chiropractic care helps provide relief from pain in the lower back, shoulders and neck and is also used to treat headaches and joint pain in the arms and legs. It is used to restore proper function to the nervous system and aims to help heal your body naturally. This article will explain what you can expect when you are first adjusting to chiropractic care.
During your initial visit, the chiropractic doctor will perform a thorough evaluation. This includes gathering information about your overall health and medical history. The chiropractic doctor will ask you specific questions about your pain and/or condition.
The chiropractic doctor will conduct a physical exam of your spine and extremities in order to develop a working diagnosis. After the initial consultation and chiropractic exam, the chiropractor doctor may recommend X-ray studies to help make an accurate diagnosis of your condition.
Once the chiropractic doctor has gathered all of this information, they will share their diagnosis and discuss treatments with you. Depending on your condition and what is causing you pain, you may receive your first adjustment on the same day of your initial visit. Learn more about what to expect from your initial visit here. (Link to How Chiropractors Diagnose Your Treatment post)
What to expect from Chiropractic adjustments
During a chiropractic adjustment, you will lay facedown on a chiropractic table. These comfortable tables are padded and specifically designed for chiropractic adjustments. Relaxation is important as it helps your chiropractic doctor make adjustments. If you’ve never had chiropractic adjustments before, be sure to ask the doctor to explain the adjustments and talk you through the process.
Chiropractic doctors use their hands to apply gentle pressure and moderate force to move joints. Patients often report hearing cracking or popping sounds during chiropractic adjustments. These sounds are normal. They are caused by the release of tiny pockets of gas in your joints. It is rare for chiropractic adjustments to cause discomfort.
After your adjustment, you may experience mild side effects such as aches, soreness, fatigue or headache. These usually subside in a few hours after treatment. Drinking water after your chiropractic adjustment and staying hydrated will help your body eliminate toxins from the body and reduce the severity of any side effects.
Your chiropractic doctor may recommend other non-invasive treatments in combination with your chiropractic care. The use of heat and ice are used to help lessen pain and promote blood flow. Heat opens up veins, which promotes the flow of blood and oxygen. Ice causes veins to constrict and muscles to flex, which reduces inflammation.
Massage is sometimes an excellent complementary treatment for chiropractic care. Massage helps alleviate muscle pain, tension and stiffness. It also promotes relaxation and can be both soothing and therapeutic.
Stretching is excellent for improving range of motion and flexibility. It also helps increase blood flow to muscles. Your chiropractic doctor may recommend a series of stretches or exercises to help injured muscles or joints heal.
Your chiropractic doctor may use electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) which is a painless treatment. It often feels like a pleasant tingling. EMS involves applying a very mild electrical current to cause your muscles to quickly contract, which causes the muscle to relax and helps reduce or eliminate muscle spasms.
Self care and chiropractic care
Self care is very important for your overall health. Your chiropractic doctor may recommend weight loss and exercise as part of your wellness treatment. Weight loss reduces blood pressure and lessens the risk factors for chronic diseases. Exercise is one of the most important things a person can do to improve their overall health. Exercise is excellent for both the mind and the body.
If your chiropractic doctor recommends home exercises, be sure to do them! These home exercises in addition to your chiropractic treatments often help speed up the healing process and make your chiropractic care more efficient. It is important to consistently go to your chiropractic appointments. You may be tempted to miss an appointment because you’re feeling better, but seeing your course of chiropractic care through until it is complete will positively impact your overall health.