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A typical visit to a chiropractor includes an initial intake, physical exam, treatment, and follow-up plan.
You will likely complete a health questionnaire and answer questions about your health history. Typically the chiropractor asks you to indicate where you are experiencing discomfort followed by some health questions regarding your complaint/ reason for visit.
The chiropractor will start with a routine physical exam, then follow it with an exam that focuses on the spine, with particular attention given to the areas of complaint. The chiropractor will most likely examine your whole spine. For example, if you had a low back complaint, the chiropractor would also likely perform a neck exam because the adaptations resulting from injury in one area can result in secondary irritations somewhere else in the spine.
The physical exam typically includes a variety of assessments, such as range of motion tests, palpation, reflex testing, muscle strength comparisons, and neurological and orthopedic tests focused on the main complaint.
Following the assessments, the chiropractor will develop a treatment plan that takes into account:
Your goals of treatment should result from the discussion you have with your chiropractor. Many people seek simple relief of pain or discomfort, while others want to begin a regimen of ongoing care meant to improve their general health.
In the initial consultation, your chiropractor will tell you the status of your condition and recommend an approach to care.
"Adjustments" are usually the central part of chiropractic treatment. The chiropractic adjustment is a therapeutic manipulation that uses controlled force, leverage, direction, amplitude, and velocity directed at specific joints. In other words, an adjustment involves a lot more than simply opening up a joint.
Your chiropractor will most often make these adjustments to the spine, but he or she might adjust other joints, such as the ankle, knee, wrist, elbow, or shoulder in order to restore structural alignment or to improve joint function. Again, proper structure is necessary for proper function, and proper extremity function is an important part of healthy daily living.
If you can't tolerate the manual adjustments, you may instead receive mild or non-force techniques.
Adjustments are often accompanied by non-manual therapies such as application of heat or ice, soft tissue therapy, rehabilitative exercises and lifestyle advice.