If you are new to chiropractic care, you may have questions, such as: What is a chiropractic adjustment? Will it hurt? Will I have to get tests done? What questions should I ask my doctor? What is expected in follow-up care? Here’s a quick overview of what to expect.
What To Expect – First Visit
The main goal of your first visit is to have an examination and reach a diagnosis. You will be asked about problems you have been encountering and about the nature of your pain. The examination may include a few tests, such as an X-ray, to evaluate your health status.
Once you have been diagnosed, your chiropractor will develop a personalized treatment plan. The plan may include how many treatments you will need and what other procedures might occur. Depending on what is causing your pain and the severity of the issue, you might receive treatment the same day. Or, adjustments and treatments may be scheduled for another time.
Does Chiropractic Care Hurt?
Chiropractic manipulation is a highly controlled procedure that rarely causes discomfort. Techniques emphasize minimal force and gentle pressure. Many patients report a popping sound during their adjustment. The popping noises sometimes heard are your joints releasing tiny pockets of gas. This is completely normal.
Be a Partner in Your Treatment
Try to be as relaxed as possible and allow your chiropractor freedom to make the adjustments. Your chiropractor will talk you through adjustments to explain the process. Remaining relaxed will pay off, as almost all patients find great relief when normal flexibility is returned to the affected vertebrae.
Questions To Ask Your Chiropractor
Asking questions will help you become more acquainted with your chiropractor and chiropractic health in general. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- How long have you been practicing chiropractic?
- What are your qualifications?
- Do you commonly treat my condition?
- What type of diagnostic testing is needed?
- Will I need care from other health care professionals?
- What are the side effects and possible complications of the process, if any?
- What type of patient education do you provide?
- How long will it take to get well?
What to Expect – Post Visits
How Will I Feel After My Session?
After your first session, if you are like most people, you will feel more relaxed and less concerned. Many people find they breathe more fully. Some patients continue to move and stretch in various ways to release any tension they may be holding. Occasionally a feeling of “letting go” may occur, allowing you to unwind chronic tension patterns. Over several sessions you will likely feel more relaxed.
What If I Feel Sore?
Any adverse effects are typically minor and brief in length. The likelihood of initial soreness or increased pain after a chiropractic adjustment has been found to be similar to that of starting an exercise program. There are several ways you can speed up the healing process after a chiropractic treatment. Self-care plans will help you restore your body to good health and help you experience the results of the treatment more quickly.
To promote healing after an adjustment, your chiropractor may instruct you to:
- Use an ice pack on the treated area (for any swelling or redness)
- Try light stretching exercises.
- Sleep on a suitable mattress.
- Avoid heavy lifting.
- Refrain from intense physical exercise for at least 3-5 days.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Drink plenty of water.
Scheduling A Follow-up Session
Patients sometimes make the mistake of receiving treatment once and then fail to follow up with their chiropractor for the recommended treatments afterward. For optimal results, you should complete the treatment plan that you discussed with your chiropractor.