It is estimated that nearly eighty percent of the population feels back pain during their lifetime, with a smaller percentage also experiencing neck or joint pain. The demand for chiropractic care has grown to the point that it is projected there are more than 70,000 chiropractors in the United States. For patients who have a need to see one of these providers, one of the primary reasons they are hesitant to make an appointment is that they do not know what to expect when visiting a chiropractor.
Learning more about what a chiropractor does, the services they provide, how to choose the right provider and what to expect at the first visit can make patients more comfortable and more likely to seek the help they need.
What Chiropractors Do
A chiropractor is an individual who can assist a patient with neuromusculoskeletal health, more specifically the adjustment of the spine to help with alignment as well as back and neck pain. Unlike many traditional doctors, chiropractors do not generally prescribe long-term medication for patients, but instead use spinal manipulation to alleviate neck, back, and joint pain.
The services a chiropractor provides typically help alleviate issues such as:
- Ankle Pain
- Back Pain
- Degenerative Disk Disease
- Diet and Nutrition
- Frozen Shoulder
- Knee Pain
- Neck Pain
- Pinched Nerves
- Rotator Cuff Pain
- Running Injuries
- Shoulder Pain
- Spine Pain
- Weight Loss
What to Expect When Visiting a Chiropractor
For individuals who have never been to this type of health professional before, an appointment can seem daunting because they do not know what to expect when visiting a chiropractor. While every chiropractor is different, first time visits frequently follow the below steps:
- History intake – The provider will visit with the patient to get a thorough understanding of their health history. This process can provide clues as to what led a patient to make their initial appointment.
- Identify the current problem – Patients should clearly communicate the reasons for coming in to see the chiropractor. The more details a patient can provide about why they are coming in, the more helpful it can be in generating a plan for treatment.
- Establish symptoms – For the majority of patients, the persistence of symptoms is what makes their pain unmanageable. Patients should convey what symptoms they are experiencing, how long each has persisted, where they are on the pain scale, and how the situation is affecting their daily lives.
- Name the end goal – To achieve the desired outcome of an appointment, individuals should be able to clearly name their end goal, whether it is to be able to play with the kids again, enjoy an entire 18 holes of golf, or run a grueling marathon.
- Establish a plan of chiropractic treatments – With an end goal in mind, the chiropractor is able to create and implement a plan for moving a patient forward toward their goal.
Most first-time visits take an average of thirty minutes and include the above steps as well as a physical examination.
For a chiropractor to effectively treat a problem, they have to know what is causing it and then be able to develop a plan for addressing it. Depending on the patient’s goal, it may require anywhere from four to eight visits to achieve the desired outcome. However, it is not uncommon for some individuals to require less or more visits than this average depending on their individual situation and progress.
How to Choose the Right Chiropractor for You
A reputable chiropractor should be educating and empowering patients to optimize their health and alleviate pain without the unnecessary use of long-term medicine or surgery. Their goal for a patient should be to have them back to normal daily activities as soon as possible, with a three-point approach that includes:
- Corrective exercises
- Spinal treatments
- Nutritional support
When it comes to accreditations, a trusted provider should have a Texas Doctor of Chiropractic license and training in advanced clinical nutrition. In addition to these formal certifications, these individuals should also have the following:
- Experience. The more years a chiropractor has accrued in treating patients, the more experienced they become at helping patients to effectively alleviate pain. Look for a provider that has more than five years of experience.
- Flexible hours. Pain does not abide by a calendar or work around our schedules, so look for a chiropractor that offers flexible hours and allows for walk-in patients.
- Good reputation. When working with a chiropractor, it is not unusual for a patient to make multiple return visits for spinal adjustments. For this reason, existing and past patients can be excellent resources for learning more about this professional’s reputation.
- Continued education and professional development. It can be wise to select a chiropractor that ardently pursues professional development and educational opportunities. This field, like any other, experiences changes over time, and patients will likely have more peace of mind knowing their provider is up to date on the modern use of chiropractic methods.
If you have persistent back, neck, shoulder, or joint pain and think you may benefit from seeing a chiropractor, do not let not knowing what to expect when visiting a chiropractor hold you back. Take your health back and give us a call today to find out how we might be able to help.