When you visit the clinic for the first time, we will start with a discussion about you, your health and your reasons for asking for chiropractic help. You will be asked for a great deal of information, not just about the pain or complaint that may have brought you, but about your past health history and general lifestyle. 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 we will need to establish an 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 also be necessary to check other things such as your heart, lungs and abdomen to rule out other causes; this thorough check up is normal procedure in a chiropractor’s clinic.
After the initial consultation and examination, we will generally offer you treatment almost immediately. However, it may be delayed for a day or two if we needs to take or view X-rays, perform urine tests or obtain further information from your GP (for example blood test results) and where appropriate, refer you for an MRI/CT scan.
Report of findings
Before treatment starts, 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 also be told about any exercises or changes to your lifestyle or diet that may be beneficial, so that you can help yourself. A large 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 and the time-scale that relates to your future care. We will also tell you of any likelihood of a recurrence of your problem, and the possible need for any ongoing supportive care. This is not an unusual situation for patients who have had serious injuries, as well as those who have long-term problems due to wear and tear of the joints.
Chiropractic treatment mainly involves safe, often gentle, specific adjustments, done by hand, to free joints in the spine or other areas of the body that are not moving properly. Most often, this requires a short thrust to a joint that can result in an audible ‘crack’, and may bring relief of symptoms as well as an increased feeling of well-being. The ‘crack’ 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, with redness or even bruising of the skin. Spinal disc problems may appear to flare up in the early stages of treatment, and where there is already inflammation, your condition may seem worse to start with. Treatment to the neck may give a distinct light -headedness, and occasionally a short-lived headache. Apart from the adjustment, we may also use a range of additional methods including: mobilisation, ultrasound, interferential therapy as well as soft and deep tissue techniques including trigger point therapy and massage. Rehabilitation exercise, postural, ergonomic, and dietary advice is also included to provide an integrated and holistic approach and help prevent a recurrence of the problem.
Will treatment hurt?
Generally, a chiropractic adjustment does not hurt – although there may be some minor short-term discomfort which quickly passes for most patients. You will normally find that follow-up treatments are much more pleasant, as your symptoms improve and you feel more at ease.
Are there any risks?
Chiropractic has fewer risks than many other treatments for your problem. Serious side effects are extremely uncommon. Very rarely, manipulation of the neck has been linked with strokes, although research shows that chiropractic is one of the safest and most effective forms of the treatment available. We will, of course, be happy to discuss any concerns regarding treatment.