As the person who meets most of the new patients that come to the office, I always ask if they have ever been to a chiropractor before. That question gets mixed reviews with about a 50% yes and no response. But I always follow up with the question of what do you know about chiropractic whether it’s good or bad. This is always an enlightening question and gives me great info to decide where we need to start. I have gotten the response of “I know absolutely nothing.” This means they are a blank canvas and easier to start teaching. To “I have heard you break bones.” Wow! I never get over the surprise of hearing that, a massive misconception spun through old wives tales. Occasionally, I do get the patient that has been taught well by their previous chiropractor what it is we actually do and why we do it. That is what I want to cover with you.
In the simplest terms, chiropractors are the primary care professionals for spinal health and well-being. We do this through the manual adjustment of our body structures, primarily spine, as a means to influence the nervous system. No part of our body is free from the influence of our nervous system.
The nervous system is a constantly moving network of information. Information is sent out and feedback is sent back. Any disruptions in this flow of information will likely result in dysfunction of one or more body functions and the resulting symptoms don’t always include pain. Different symptoms clue us to what areas of the spine are in misalignment. Heartburn can be related to a subluxation in T6 (your sixth thoracic vertebrae), or IBS can come from L2 or L3 (2nd and 3rd Lumbar). The side effect has a direct relation to where the nerves moving through your vertebrae find their destination.
Most chiropractors encourage a natural approach to promoting health through nutrition, lifestyle changes, and exercise. They typically share the belief that medicines and surgery should be used only as a last resort for many conditions.
So what does chiropractic treatment involve?
A typical treatment involves adjusting the joints in your spine
If you have never been to a chiropractic office, it is understandable that you would have some concerns and uncertainty about what to expect. Our doctors are highly trained, well-educated and prepared to address your concerns during your first visit or at one of the free chiropractic orientation classes we offer to all new patients three times a month.
Your first visit will be similar to first visits you have had at other doctor’s offices.
It’s likely to include:
- A health history.
You will need to fill out a questionnaire about your health. You may also be asked question about your sleeping habits, headaches, migraines, or anything your doctor deems may be relevant. He or she may also ask you about your diet and your activity level.
- A physical exam.
Your chiropractor may evaluate your posture, looking for anything unusual like one hip sitting higher or unevenness through your shoulders. He or she may test the strength of your muscles using a variety of methods. Often they will simply ask you to walk from one side of the room to another, searching for abnormal gait and observing your hand and leg movements. Your doctor may also recommend additional tests such as x-rays depending on your symptoms and situation.
With a focus on preventative health maintenance and overall wellness, a chiropractor can be your greatest ally in living a pain free life.