What Happens During a Visit to a Chiropractor?

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Chiropractic care is a way to diagnose and treat health problems that affect the nerves, muscles, bones, and joints of the body. A health care provider who provides chiropractic care is called a chiropractor.

The first visit usually lasts 30 – 60 minutes. Your chiropractor will want to know about your goals for treatment and your health history. You will be asked about your past injuries and illnesses, current health problems and medicines you are taking, your diet, lifestyle and sleep habits, the amount of exercise you do, any mental stresses you might have, and your use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

Tell your chiropractor about any physical problems you may have that make it hard for you to do certain things. Also tell your chiropractor if you have any numbness, tingling, weakness, or any other nerve problems. Mention any previous bone breaks or tumors affecting the skeletal system.

After asking you about your health, your chiropractor will do a physical exam. This will include testing how well your spine moves. This is called spinal mobility. Your chiropractor may also do some tests, such as checking your blood pressure and taking x-rays. These tests look for problems that might be adding to your back pain.

Treatment usually begins at the first or second visit.You may be asked to lie on a special table, where the chiropractor does the spinal manipulations.

The most common treatment is manipulation your chiropractor does by hand. It involves moving a joint in your spine to the end of its range, followed by a light thrust. This is often called an “adjustment.” It realigns the bones of your spine to make them straighter.

The chiropractor may also do other treatments, like massage and other work on soft tissues.

Some people are a little achy, stiff, and tired for a few days after their manipulation. This is because their body is adjusting to its new alignment. You should not feel any pain from the manipulation.

More than one session is usually needed to correct a problem. Usually treatments last several weeks. Your chiropractor may suggest two or three short sessions a week at first. These would last only about 10 – 20 minutes each.

Once you start improving, your treatments may be just once a week. You and your chiropractor will talk about how effective the treatment is based on the goals you discussed in your first session.