Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine that has to do with diagnosis and treatment of issues concerning the neuro-musculoskeletal systems in the body. Chiropractors are licence health professionals that are trained to diagnose and treat neuro-musculoskeletal issues such as back pain, headaches, neck pain, disc herniation, carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciosis, and many more. Chiropractors are unique in that they often take a conservative and holistic approach in their patient’s health. This means that often times Chiropractors will get to the root cause of the problem, and try to address the issue, instead of just treating the symptoms.
Typically, chiropractors will utilize different types of treatment modalities depending on the diagnosis. A chiropractor might use techniques such as spinal manipulation/ mobilization, soft tissues therapy, electrical stimulation, rehabilitation exercises, and acupuncture to treat your injuries.
What to expect
On your first visit to a chiropractor, you would generally want to arrive 5-10 minutes earlier to fill out some paperwork. Once the paperwork has been completed, your chiropractor will perform an intake assessment. The intake assessment will consist of a thorough history of your chief complain, a health history, and a detailed physical examination. During the history, your chiropractor might ask you questions such as where is the pain, characteristics of the pain, how long has the issue been going on for, and gather any other pertinent information. It is also a very good idea to note down aggravating factors and relieving factors to your injury prior to visiting in order to assist the chiropractor in figuring out the issue. After gathering information for your chief complain, your chiropractor during the first visit will also ask you question regarding your health history in order to help with their diagnosis. Chiropractors are trained to screen out health issues that might mimic musculoskeletal issues, and will refer you back to your family physician if warranted.
After the history, the chiropractor will perform a physical assessment consisted of observation, range of motion testing, muscle testing, and other orthopaedic testing to rule in or rule out their suspicion. Once the physical examination is completed, your chiropractor will have a diagnosis for you. At that point, your chiropractor will then come up with a plan of management for your injury.
After the history, physical examination, and explaining the plan of management to you; depending on your diagnosis, your chiropractor might render some treatment. This might be some form of pain control therapy (ie. Electrical modalities), soft tissue therapy, mobilization/ manipulation, and/ or rehabilitation exercises.
Generally, your initial appointment will take somewhere between 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the complain, and what the chiropractor find during their assessment.
Subsequent visits will usually be 30 minutes in duration. Your chiropractor will follow-up with you regarding your progress, and continue with their plan of management.
Once your plan of management is completed, or your injury has completely resolved, your chiropractor might discharge you, or they might recommend a maintenance care program depending on your diagnosis. Generally, longer standing or chronic conditions might require a maintenance care program.
What will my chiropractor do
Often times, patient wonder what chiropractic is, and how it helps them with their condition. Chiropractic derived from Latin, which loosely translate to “do by hand”. Your chiropractor might perform one or more of the following technique for your condition. Technique such as:
- Soft tissue therapy- which is a form of therapy that deal specifically with certain muscle or muscle group. This is different from massage therapy, in that soft tissue therapy typically involved shortening of the muscle, application of a compressive force, and lengthening of the muscle. And the goal of soft tissue therapy is to release muscle tension, promote healing, and stimulate stretch reflex response in the muscles. Soft tissue therapy is often used to restore range of motion limited by muscle tension due to myofascial contraction.
- Electrical stimulation (IFC, TENs)- this is a form of pain management your chiropractor would utilize in order to management your pain. Typically, this is done on patient with an acute injury (ie an ankle sprain, or a muscle tear). The way these modalities work is by stimulating peripheral nerves in order to help inhibit perception of painful stimulus via the pain-gate mechanism and/ or opioid system. Electrical stimulation works by stimulating A-beta sensory fibres, which helps decrease transmission of noxious stimulus sensory to the central nervous system (pain-gate mechanism). Another way electrical stimulation can work is by stimulating A-delta fibres, which will active the opioid mechanism, thus providing pain relief (opioid system).
- Rehabilitation- With physical injuries, it is extremely important to perform specific rehabilitation exercises. Rehabilitation exercises help enforce the passive treatment your chiropractor provides for you. By combining both physical rehabilitation and passive therapy, this will improve the time it takes for you to recovery from your injury.
- Spinal manipulation- Spinal manipulation is a technique in which the chiropractor will take the spinal joints to it’s end range, and applied a controlled high velocity, low amplitude force through the joint in an attempt the stretch the joint capsule. Often times this will produce an audible “pop” sound. This pop sound is created when the joint capsule is stretch, and gas bubbles within the joint are released. This is similar to when one “cracks their knuckles”. Spinal manipulation can help relief pain by decreasing noxious stimulus input, restoring range of motion in the spine, and helps reset muscle spindles/ reducing muscle tensions.
As one can see, chiropractors are well trained health professional that can help with issues related to one’s neuro-musculoskeletal system. Chiropractors often employed different techniques, and treatment option in order to help manage pain, restore range of motions, release muscle tensions, and aid in injury recovery.
So if you are curious about chiropractic treatment, feel free to contact us and schedule an appointment to see if chiropractic therapy is right for you.