What to expect?
On your initial consultation a medical history will be taken, collecting relevant information regarding your problem area. After this, an examination will be done in order to ascertain diagnosis and most appropriate treatment. Examination is dependant on the patient’s needs and may involve observing posture, gait, orthopaedic tests, palpation of the spine, muscle testing and neurological exam. Next a report of findings will be given which involves diagnosis, plan of management, and in some cases where it is deemed necessary you may be referred for further investigations. Then after any questions and if no further investigation is needed treatment can commence. Generally this will involve soft tissue work such as massage, and work on the joints which may done using the chiropractors hands or possibly a calibrated tool. There are lots of different techniques we use some specific to conditions, some the chiropractor preference and some patient preference. Any questions or queries always ask as generally there’s more than one way to treat any given area. After the treatment ,aftercare will be explained this might involve a combination of heat, ice, exercises and advise. Treatment time can vary, the first visit usually take 45 mins to an hour, then repeat treatments will take 20 – 30 mins.
This video from the British Chiropractic Association gives a brief overview of what to expect….
Does it hurt?
In chiropractic we use a variety of techniques such as manipulation, soft tissue work and mobilisation in order to treat a patient in the most appropriate way. A lot of patients actually feel immediate relief from a chiropractic adjustment and do not feel any pain after. From experience, some tenderness can be experienced with soft tissue work. In sport there is a term called Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness, where you are achy and sore after exercise. Post Treatment Soreness is very similar to this, and although doesn’t always happen it is perfectly normal if you do experience this. If you imagine we are trying to press reset on the body and the body has been in an altered position for a period of time, the body will sometimes try and let you know things are changing. If you get post treatment soreness, you can feel a bit sore and stiff for around 2 days after treatment.
What is that popping sound?
During a chiropractic adjustment you may hear a popping sound. This popping sound is called a cavitation. Chiropractors will do an adjustment in order to align and mobilise a joint, this involves movement. Within a joint there are lots of different structures one being fluid to lubricate a joint, sometimes due to change in pressure, gases will be released into this area, therefore an increase of force on this structure during an adjustment may result in a little pop. Although cavitations are safe and commonly heard in treatment, they are not necessary and sometimes a pop will not be heard. What the chiropractor will be looking for is the change in mobility within joint
How many treatments do I need?
The amount of treatments you need varies with each individual. Every condition will have different guidelines, some patients respond after one treatment some exceed the recommended guidelines. In general most people need at least 6-8 sessions for long-term improvement and new movement patterns to occur.
During your initial consultation, appropriate exercises and aftercare advise will be given based on everyday habits, how long you’ve had the problem, previous injuries and other information collected from the consultation. Although we are trained to help facilitate the body’s healing process it is a two way partnership, for example:- if you injured yourself in the gym, going to the gym immediately after treatment to train the same muscle group will conflict with our treatment plan. My best advise is follow the exercises and aftercare as much as possible to ensure the quickest healing time.
Is it safe?
Chiropractic is a non invasive healthcare profession and as a result is very safe. We are governed in a similar way to medical doctors and dentists to ensure the upmost safety to patients and to ourselves. Chiropractic is a 4-5 year (dependant on entry level) full-time evidence base course covering a vast array of modules such as radiology, anatomy, physiology, neurophysiology and pathology. In addition to university standards, we are required to partake in clinic entrance and exit exams to ensure our efficacy. Training in the UK is fully accredited by the General Chiropractic Council, and in order for us to continue in practise every year we must undergo continue professional development.
Do I need a referral from a GP?
As a primary health care profession you do not need a referral for chiropractic treatment.
How quickly will I be seen?
We will endeavour to see you as soon as possible, sometimes we are lucky enough to have emergency appointments on the day however this cannot be guaranteed.
The best advise is, try and book in as soon as possible. Through experience the longer a complaint has been building for can sometimes have a direct affect on the number of sessions you may need. Take a biomechanical low back pain for example, our body is always adapting and if a joint is restricted, the muscles will try and compensate, and the tighter the muscles become, nerves will also begin to fire more causing more pain. Prevention is better than cure, you don’t need to put up with unnecessary pain.
Can anyone call themselves a chiropractor?
No, to become a chiropractor take 4-5 years depending on your entry route. Due to the extensive course the title doctor of chiropractic is protected by law under the 1994 Chiropractors act. In the UK, all chiropractors must be registered to the General Chiropractic Council – you can verify my registration (or anyone else’s) on that link.
Do you have a cancellation policy?
We ask for 24 hours notice where possible. The clinic can be very busy, often with cancellation lists in place therefore each appointment missed is taking away the opportunity for someone else waiting to be treated.