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What to Expect at an Initial Consultation With a Chiropractor

A Chiropractor is a healthcare professional whose focus is to diagnose and treat neuromuscular disorders through manual adjustment and the manipulation of patients' spines. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions regarding the effectiveness of chiropractic care in today's society. Part of the reason these misconceptions persist is due to a lack of understanding of Chiropractic health.

How it Works

Chiropractors work with their patients to relieve chronic pain through manual manipulation, providing patients with a convenient and effective alternative to dangerous pharmaceutical painkillers. Some chiropractors are also trained as functional medicine doctors, allowing these professionals to offer patients a wider variety of treatment options. The majority of these options are focused on a holistic approach to healing and pain management, which is perfect for patients who are looking for safe and effective ways to manage their long-term chronic pain.

Focus on Spine Alignment

The majority of patients who choose to visit a Chiropractic center are looking for relief from chronic back and neck pain. These conditions are often due, in part, to poor posture and issues with spinal alignment, known within the field as vertebral subluxation or mechanical compression of spinal joints and nerves. Heading to a Chiropractor for treatment allows patients to address the underlying issues causing their pain instead of treating the pain as a symptom.

Initial Classification

The first thing chiropractors do when seeing new patients is to evaluate their overall health and classify their conditions based on underlying causes and how serious they are. Serious conditions, like tumors and infections, must be ruled out before proceeding with treatment in that particular area.
Patients who are having difficulties due to pinched or compressed nerves caused by spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, or lumbar herniated discs are generally classified as having nerve problems or sciatica, while patients suffering from symptoms of mechanical back pain without any apparent underlying cause are classified as having non-specific back pain.
Once this evaluation is completed, chiropractors can begin to determine the best course of treatment for their patients. Those who are considered to have potentially serious injuries may be referred to other relevant medical specialists who can help to co-manage these patients' care along with the chiropractors themselves. These patients may choose to visit chiropractors who also have dedicated functional medical experience to simplify their treatment.

Specific Diagnosis

After a patient's condition has been classified according to its cause and severity, he or she will be further evaluated to determine a specific diagnosis. This evaluation might involve the examination of the patient's spinal structure in addition to a general exam similar to those administered by all doctors. The most common diagnosis for patients is one of non-specific back pain.


What to Expect

During the initial consultation, patients will be expected to provide a brief synopsis of their symptoms including their frequency and duration, the areas affected, and what external factors improve or worsen their pain. When considering overall patient health, specialists will need to learn about the patient's family history, personal dietary habits, occupational and psychosocial history, as well as any past treatment he or she has received. Patients can expect their initial consultations to be fairly extensive office visits.

The physical exams performed by chiropractors can involve anything from static and motion palpation techniques designed to determine whether any spinal segments are motion restricted or fixated. The results of this initial physical evaluation will allow the health providers to determine whether or not further diagnostic testing will be required to find the location of any subluxations or detect variations in skin temperature indicative of the need for localized manual manipulation.

Common Treatments

Manual manipulation, also known as spinal manipulation, involves the application of pressure to abnormally functioning vertebrae. The objective of this treatment is the reduction of subluxation, which should directly result in reduced pain and nerve irritability, an increased range of motion, and improvements in daily quality of living. Patients undergoing these adjustments sometimes report minor discomfort in the affected areas, but the vast majority of them also report an almost immediate relief of pain and associated symptoms.

It should be noted that, if the patient is not adequately relaxed or is suffering from significant muscle splinting, his or her care provider might also have to utilize other techniques such as massage, applying ice, or electrical stimulation prior to being able to attempt an adjustment. These manual manipulations are often accompanied by nutritional counseling and physical rehabilitation plans designed to teach patients exercises, stretches, and other techniques for further restoring function and preventing future injury.


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Looking for a Chiropractor Madison WI patients can entrust with providing comprehensive care? Be sure to inquire about other relevant experience in the medical field prior to scheduling an initial evaluation. Anyone interested can find more information about one local medical professional with extensive experience treating a wide variety of conditions using both traditional medicine and holistic approaches to care.


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