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First visit to a chiropractor?

What does a chiropractic treatment involve, and what can you expect when you visit a doctor of chiropractic for the first time?


Initially, the chiropractor will take a history. This usually includes any falls or injuries you may have sustained even in early childhood, any motor vehicle accidents, surgeries, and health problems past or present which may have had an effect on your present alignment and spinal function.

Following the history, you will be examined for postural alignment, joint movement and neurological as well as muscle function. X-rays may be requested if they are felt to be necessary for an accurate diagnosis.

At this point, if the doctor is satisfied that chiropractic care is appropriate, a course of adjustments will be initiated. An adjustment is a controlled force in a specific direction to restore proper movement to a joint. In many cases the correction of abnormal movement involves the release of a restricted joint and is accompanied by a "popping" sound, much like "cracking" one’s knuckles.


In most cases, adjustments are completely painless.


Following the adjustment, the joint moves more freely within its normal range. A series of adjustments is required to keep the joint moving freely until the surrounding muscles and ligaments have readapted and the entire body is balanced and stabilized.

The American Medical Association Orthopedic Council has defined manipulative therapy as "the application of accurately determined and specifically directed manual forces to the body. The objective is to improve mobility in areas that are restricted, whether the restrictions are within joint, connective tissues, or in skeletal muscles. The consequence may be the improvement of posture and locomotion and the relief of pain and discomfort, the improvement of function elsewhere in the body, and the enhancement of the sense of well-being." It is interesting to note that the Supreme Court in Quebec has ruled that spinal manipulation is a procedure which requires extensive education and training and should be restricted to chiropractors only. Similar legislation has been enacted in several U.S. States.

Your chiropractor may also advise you on diet, nutrition, exercise and other aspects of your lifestyle which may have a bearing on your health problems. A corrective exercise programme may hasten recovery and aid in stabilizing your condition.

What you can expect, then, is a discussion of your past and present health problems, a comprehensive examination , and treatments whose purpose is to correct the cause of the problem and prevent further problems from arising.

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