By Dr. Adam J. Friedman – Margate, Coconut Creek Fl – Congratulations – you’ve conquered that fear of the unknown and made that first chiropractic appointment; what can you expect?
Chiropractors start by taking a complete and thorough patient history. It’s important to be able to understand why the patient is coming to see me and what events in the past could possibly have contributed to why they’re in the office today. Most people think that an event that happened years ago could never contribute to the pain or symptoms they are feeling today, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
As part of this initial consult/history taking, I first ask the patient what are their complaints. I ask if they can identify the first time they’ve experienced these complaints, because it’s usually further back than the patient initially realizes. I ask if they have any idea as to what may have caused the problem. Is it due to a previous trauma, a specific instance, or just something that developed over time?
I ask patients to try and describe the type of pain they are experiencing; is it dull, achy, sharp, throbbing or something else? I try to get patients to identify what posture bothers them: is it standing, walking, bending, sitting, etc. What position makes them feel better? How intense is the pain; does the pain travel or remain in one spot?
Once a complete history is taken, I also ask about the patients’ social history – how much stress they are under, how often they exercise, what kind of diet they have? All of this – along with any negative lifestyle trait, such as smoking – contributes to the patients’ overall healing time.
Once the consult is completed, a patient can expect a comprehensive physical examination including postural analysis, range of motion testing, orthopedic and possibly, neurological testing. Chiropractors additionally do what’s called static/motion palpation. This is where the chiropractor uses their hands to note where the most notable alignment and myofascial issues exist.
In most instances, once the exam is complete, x-rays are typically recommended to be able to identify what’s truly going on underneath the skin. X-rays are crucial because it helps us to determine, in addition to exam findings, what type of care is most appropriate for that patient’s well-being. Additionally, I will give advice on home care, lifestyle modifications, exercise instruction and nutritional advice.
Once I have all of the information, I will take the patient through all my findings – including the physical exam and x-ray findings. I will discuss with them, in depth, what chiropractic is specifically while using a variety of models. I will inform them if I think I can help them, how long it will take and how much it will cost.
Once the patient fully understands what we are doing to them and the answers to all of those other questions, I will begin the process of adjusting them. I always make certain that the patient is aware and comfortable with the techniques. If not, I can modify those techniques in order to assure that the patient is comfortable.
Related – Learn about Treating Back Pain with Chiropractic Care
Misunderstood concepts of chiropractic care
Many people are genuinely scared of chiropractors. Misunderstood concepts of chiropractic care cause patients baseless fears and keep them from getting the treatments they need. People tell me that they are afraid that cracking or popping any part of their body – especially their spine – will be painful. You need to know that a licensed chiropractor understands the mechanics of the human body. It helps if you think about any cracking or popping – typically gas being released from a joint – as your body sighing in relief.
“You joint cavities are filled with synovial fluid, which includes oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. When your neck is cracked during a chiropractic session, it’s simply the sound of compressed gas being released from the fluid as a result of the specific movement. This kind of manipulation can offer the patient relief and increase range of motion in the joints.
It’s important that patients understand that chiropractic adjustments can help decrease discomfort in the neck, the lower and upper back, shoulders, hands, knees and/or ankles. Anyone recovering from any type of spine or joint pain – whether they are looking to manage chronic pain or alleviate discomfort caused by a vehicle accident or a sports-related injury can benefit from a chiropractic adjustment.”
Over the years, I’ve heard many patients share their fears about chiropractic medicine. Many believe chiropractic adjustments will hurt, that they will be uncomfortable afterwards, or it’s going to cost a fortune. It’s important to remember that I use treatments in which the patient is comfortable. It is not my goal to cause pain, but to alleviate pain. Patients should not let their fear of discomfort keep them from scheduling an appointment – why suffer any longer than necessary?
My patients – even the nervous ones – tell me they are more comfortable after an adjustment. There is much that I do to ensure my patients’ comfort – from explaining the treatment method to you prior to beginning, repositioning you or by clarifying what is happening within your body.
Most importantly, chiropractic care is an investment in oneself. Quality chiropractic care can facilitate your recovery time, from illness, and other preventable damage to your health in the future.
Most people take their cars in for regularly scheduled service; they do not question the fee required to ensure that the all of the automobile’s systems – brakes, engines, tires, etc. – are working well together. Regularly scheduled maintenance is usually is its own reward in how long and how well our vehicles run and handle on the road.
We should view our bodies in much the same way, as the same type of investment. You are so worth it!
Yours in Health!