Chiropractic: What to Expect


DAY 1:  What to Expect on Your First Visit

Dr. Steph starts by taking a patient history and then performs a physical examination to develop a working diagnosis. Next, she takes a nervous system scan.  Additional imaging or lab tests (such as MRI, CT scan or X-ray) may also be used to confirm a diagnosis.   The combination of the history, exam, and diagnostic studies will enable Dr. Steph to reach a diagnosis, which will help her to determine whether chiropractic services are appropriate for your condition. 

DAY 2:  Patient Education and Report of Findings

On day two, Dr. Steph reviews your nervous system scan as well as any additional test results (X-ray, etc.) with you, provides education on focus areas, and then recommends a treatment plan for you.  Based on the extent, timing or severity of the patient’s condition, chiropractic interventions may require several visits.  She may also provide advice on home care, lifestyle modifications, exercise instruction and nutritional advice to complement your care in the office. 

One of the most common and well-known therapeutic procedures performed by a chiropractor is spinal manipulation (referred to as a "chiropractic adjustment"). The purpose of spinal manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile – or restricted in their movement – as a result of a tissue injury.  

Tissue injury can be caused by a single traumatic event, such as improper lifting of a heavy object, or through repetitive stresses, such as sitting in an awkward position with poor spinal posture for an extended period.  In either case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain, and diminished function for an individual. Adjustment of the affected joint and tissues, restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, allowing tissues to heal.

Are adjustments painful?

Chiropractic adjustments rarely cause discomfort. However, patients may sometimes experience mild soreness or aching following treatment (as with some forms of exercise) that usually resolves within 12 to 48 hours. Compared to other common treatments for pain, such as over-the-counter and prescription pain medications, chiropractic's conservative approach offers a safe and effective option. 

What is the popping or cracking noise during an adjustment?

The popping sounds you hear are your joints releasing tiny pockets of gases. A chiropractic adjustment does not affect the bones of either side of the joint, but rather the connective tissue that holds the joint together.

How long do Chiropractic appointments take?

This all depends on the length and severity of your condition, however, most new patient visits may last up to 45 minutes. Follow-up visits are much less, often as little as 5-10 minutes.