FAQs about Chiropractic treatment
Although thousands of people utilise chiropractic treatments each year, it does not mean that everyone knows what the treatment is and what to expect during their treatment. We have answered some of the common questions patients might have when considering chiropractic treatment.
Chiropractic treatment is a straight-forward, safe and effective technique that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, there effects on the nervous system and general health.
Spinal joint dysfunctions can interfere with the nervous system and result in many different conditions of decreased health. Manipulation is the technique used in the chiropractic adjustment to correct the dysfunctions and fixations therefore reducing nerve impingement and increasing general health.
The chiropractor will assess and treat the cause of the symptoms opposed to solely treating the symptoms themselves and can decide whether the patient may benefit from another form of treatment (e.g. massage, acupuncture etc.) The chiropractor may use further techniques in the treatment himself, including sports massage and dry needling, and will provide you with rehabilitative home exercises.
Chiropractic is widely recognised as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal complaints. Although chiropractic has an excellent safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects. The risks associated with chiropractic, however, are very small.
Neck pain and some types of headaches are treated through precise cervical manipulation. Cervical manipulation, often called a neck adjustment, works to improve joint mobility in the neck, restoring range of motion and reducing muscle spasm, which helps relieve pressure and tension. Neck manipulation, when performed by a skilled and well-educated professional such as a doctor of chiropractic, is a remarkably safe procedure.
When you meet your chiropractor for the first time, your chiropractor will start with a discussion about you, your health and your reasons for asking for chiropractic care. You will be asked for a great deal of information, not just about the pain or complaint that may have brought you to the clinic, but also about your past health history.
Some of the questions may appear irrelevant, but they are extremely important to your chiropractor. To ensure that chiropractic care is appropriate for your condition, your chiropractor will need to establish your overall health picture. If chiropractic appears not to be suitable for you, you will be referred to your GP or relevant specialist.
Once your case history is complete, your chiropractor will examine you to confirm any early ideas about your problem. The examination will concentrate on your neuromusculoskeletal system (nerves, muscles and joints), but it may be necessary to check other things such as your heart, lungs and abdomen to rule out other causes; this thorough check-up is a normal procedure in a chiropractor’s clinic.
Before starting treatment, your chiropractor will tell you, in clear, simple language, what is wrong with you, what can be done about it and what you should expect when you receive your first adjustment. You will probably be told about any exercises or changes to your lifestyle or diet that may be beneficial so that you can help yourself. A part of getting better is up to you, so please follow any instructions and advice carefully and completely.
You will also be advised of all costs that relate to your future care. Your chiropractor will also tell you of any likelihood of a recurrence of your problem and the possible need for any on-going supportive care. This is not an unusual situation for patients who have had serious injuries, as well as those who have long-term problem due to wear and tear to the joints.
Chiropractic treatment mainly involves safe, often gentle, specific spinal manipulation to free joints in the spine or other, related areas, that are not moving properly. Most often, this requires a short thrust to a joint that can result in an audible ‘pop’ and may bring relief of symptoms; some patients report an increased feeling of well-being. The ‘pop’ is simply the sound of bubbles of gas popping in the fluid of the joint as the pressure is released.
There is, however, no instant cure and some patients may experience temporary symptoms such as pain or soreness around the areas being treated. Rarely, some patients may experience redness of the skin due to temporary inflammation and, where the area being treated is already inflamed, symptoms may seem slightly worse to start with.
As well as manipulation, a chiropractor may use additional techniques and treatments such as:
- Ice and heat
Treatment times vary depending on the individual. The initial consultation usually lasts about half an hour while a treatment session usually lasts about 15 minutes. The average course of treatment is five to six visits over two or three weeks.
Many patients feel immediate relief following chiropractic treatment, but some may experience mild soreness, stiffness or aching, just as they do after some forms of exercise. Current research shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours.