Chiropractors work with the bones and nerves of the spinal column and spinal cord respectively. Chiropractors spend years of highly specialized training in order to locate where misplaced spinal vertebrae are impinging the nerves which travel down the spinal cord and out through the spinal column to the muscles, organs and glands of the body. After locating the vertebrae impinging the nerves (subluxations), the chiropractor, using various highly specialized techniques, is able to replace the misplaced vertebrae and thus release pressure on the nerves. That is called a spinal adjustment.
What to Expect
Your first visit to the chiropractor office will be similar to a first visit to other doctor's offices, with some important additions:
- Case History
The doctor will take a full case history of your problem, and any important past history or family history will be considered. A clear understanding of the nature and extent of your illness helps the doctor decide whether chiropractic health care is appropriate treatment for your condition, and if additional examination procedures are necessary.
Your doctor will perform a physical examination, plus spinal and musculoskeletal examination procedures as required. The reason for these exams is to find the cause of your problem.
X-Rays are sometimes taken for spinal or musculoskeletal problems. These X-Rays are safe and help rule out disease processes of the bones and to surrounding tissues, as well as to evaluate the structural and biomechanical status of your spine.
- Lab Procedures
It is sometimes necessary to recommend blood and urine analysis or other procedures. Your doctor will explain the necessity of these tests if they are required.
The Treatment Plan
Your doctor will put considerable effort into fully explaining your condition. The cause of the problem, as well as the recommended treatment plan and goals will be discussed. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and express any concerns that you have. This "team effort" between you and your doctor can greatly enhance the successful outcome.
The RAND Corporation is currently conducting a study to explore the effects of patient compliance. Most chiropractors believe that patients who are involved in the design of the treatment plan, agree to treatment goals, and are active in implementing them, have more successful results than with patients who are not involved.