If you’re about to have your first chiropractor adjustments, knowing what to expect can help you feel less anxious and better prepared. Your first appointment may involve:
- Lying down and trying to relax as your chiropractor manipulates your spine or limbs
- Hearing some pops or cracks as the chiropractor adjusts your joints
- Having the opportunity to ask your chiropractor any questions about treatment that you haven’t already covered
- Feeling some minor aches in the hours or days following the appointment
What is Chiropractic Adjustment?
Chiropractic adjustment is a form of chiropractic treatment designed to alleviate pain caused by joint and nerve issues, such as:
- Certain types of arthritis
- Herniated discs
- Accident injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Chronic headaches
During treatment, a chiropractor uses their hands and/or specialized tools to move your joints around, realigning them in ways designed to minimize your pain.
The prospect of letting another person, even a trained professional, take control of your limbs and move them in unusual ways can be scary. However, chiropractic adjustment is really among the most patient-friendly treatments for people with the conditions listed above. It is:
- Painless or nearly painless: Some patients report mild soreness after treatment, but for many, it is a completely painless process.
- Flexible: Adjustments can be done on their own or in conjunction with other treatments. You and your chiropractor can decide what’s right for you.
- Gentle: Chiropractic adjustments can prevent or delay the need for taking harsh medications or undergoing surgery.
Before Starting Chiropractic Adjustments
As with any type of treatment, you should receive a formal diagnosis and assessment from a qualified professional before you try chiropractic adjustment. You can find a certified chiropractor to guide you through treatment by:
- Looking online
- Asking friends for recommendations
- Calling up or visiting different places to get a “feel” for them
Remember that chiropractic adjustment is only safe when conducted by a well-trained professional. Ask about where they studied and their past experience, and do not go to a chiropractor with inadequate or inappropriate qualifications.
Once you find a chiropractor you feel comfortable with, they will use your first appointment to determine what is causing your pain. This may involve:
- Speaking with you about your symptoms and any previous attempts at treatment
- Having you fill out a questionnaire about your experiences
- Ordering specific tests to confirm or rule out certain diagnoses
- Reviewing your general medical history
Why go to these lengths before starting treatment? As the Mayo Clinic points out, chiropractic adjustments are not right for every patient, even though they are generally safe.
By carefully diagnosing your condition and familiarizing themselves with your medical history, your chiropractor can recommend treatments that are more likely to be effective and safe for you.
Your First Chiropractic Adjustments
Before you go for your first chiropractic adjustments, it’s good to know what to expect from your chiropractor. The Cleveland Clinic describes a typical appointment in this way:
You Get Comfortable
During a chiropractic adjustment, your chiropractor will do all of the work. The patient’s only task is to lie down on the table, relax as much as possible, and trust the chiropractor to do their job.
If you have any last-minute questions or concerns about your treatment, now is the time to ask.
The Chiropractor Makes Adjustments
The joints and body parts your chiropractor chooses to move will reflect the cause of your pain. For example, a carpal tunnel syndrome patient may need their wrist and arm adjusted. Someone with headaches or a neck injury may get their neck adjusted.
Similarly, your chiropractor will determine how and in which directions to manipulate your joints based on your individual needs.
It is normal to hear a crackling noise as the adjustments proceed, similar to the sound you make when you crack your knuckles. This is just gas escaping the joints and is nothing to worry about.
You May Experience Mild Side Effects
Many chiropractic patients experience no side effects at all. There is, however, a chance that you could feel achy or sore after your first appointment. Knowing this ahead of time can:
- Reduce any anxiety you feel upon developing this side effect
- Reduce your anxiety about the treatment overall
- Better prepare you mentally and physically to deal with any discomfort
Usually, side effects are nothing to worry about. You should nevertheless inform your chiropractor of any troublesome symptoms so they can more easily track your progress.
If necessary, you can take it easy or use heat or ice packs to deal with side effects. If these treatments do not help or if symptoms linger for more than a few days, tell your chiropractor right away.
What Happens at Subsequent Chiropractic Adjustments?
Not everyone needs to see a chiropractor more than once. For minor or simple injuries, a single appointment may be enough.
If there is any chance you will need more than one round of chiropractic adjustments, your chiropractor should tell you this before treatment even begins. They can help you:
- Make appointments at the appropriate intervals
- Prepare for what future appointments may bring
- Determine at which point chiropractic adjustments have done all they can
- Decide if you should try any other treatments either concurrently with the adjustments or after you have finished receiving adjustments
Eventually, each patient will reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is the point at which the treatment no longer helps the patient to improve.
Once you have reached MMI with your chiropractic adjustments, you can either terminate treatment altogether or start a new course of treatment, depending on how you feel and what your chiropractor says.
Get More Information on Chiropractic Adjustments
Our team’s priority is the comfort and well-being of our patients. If you have questions about first chiropractor adjustments, what to expect from treatment, or anything else, you are always welcome to ask. Make your first appointment by calling Specific Care Chiropractic at (239) 369-9109 today.