What to Expect on Your First Visit
The chiropractic adjustment is also referred to as a joint "manipulation". Your doctor will apply his/her hands to the area of the spine to be treated in such a way as to mobilize the joints.
Most commonly, the doctor will apply, short manual movement to the joint. The joint usually elicits an audible "pop" or "crack", similar to when you "crack" your knuckles. You may sense movement in the joint. The joint "crack" is not necessary for treatment to be successful.
The goal of the chiropractic manipulation is to:
- Increase the joint mobility/range of motion
- Relieve pain
- Reduce muscle spasm
- Restore optimal joint function
Frequently Asked Questions
Is chiropractic manipulation safe?
Approximately 20% of patients will experience some temporary stiffness and soreness following the first couple of treatments. The risk of serious injury has been estimated between one in one million and one in ten million. If you have specific concerns about potential complications from receiving chiropractic manipulations, please discuss them with the doctor. Chiropractors receive the highest level of education on spinal manipulative therapy and administer greater than 90% of skilled manipulation services in the United States.
What should I do if I am uncomfortable following treatment?
Apply ice several times to the sore area for 15-20 minutes, with an hour between applications. Be sure to place a cloth between you and the ice source. Do not engage in strenuous activities. Do not hesitate to contact your doctor if you are at all uncomfortable following treatment.
How much chiropractic care will I require?
The number of chiropractic treatments necessary is very individual. Some factors that may influence recovery include: the patient's age, his/her treatment goals, general health status, severity of the injury, chronicity of the problem, genetics and the number of prior episodes. Adhering to any prescribed home therapy is an integral part of recovery. Some patients simply want relief from the immediate pain and may require only a few treatments. Others prefer to experience optimal health and require more intensive and comprehensive care. We will make recommendations that we believe are in the patient's best interest, but the choice is always up to the patient. Many individuals make chiropractic care part of their routine health maintenance; similar to exercising regularly.
What should I do after being adjusted?
- Stay active.
- Try to use your full range of motion
- Although you may feel better, you may not be fully recovered. Do not jump into strenuous activity too early.
- Do your home exercises and stretches as recommended.
What is that cracking sound that occurs during a chiropractic manipulation?
Spinal joints contain a lubricating fluid known as synovial fluid. Within the synovial fluid are dissolved gases; mostly carbon dioxide. When the spine is manipulated, a vacuum is created within the joint and the dissolved gases come out of the solution, forming a gas bubble. This vacuum creates a "cracking" sound. The cracking sound is not necessary for treatment to be sucessful.
I have heard that knuckle cracking causes arthritis. Do chiropractic manipulations cause arthritis?
Contrary to what you may have been told, knuckle cracking actually does not cause joint arthritis. However, frequent knuckle crackers tend to experience more joint stiffness later in life. Regardless, spinal adjustments/manipulations are quite different than knuckle cracking. When a spinal manipulation is performed, the joint is momentarily slightly gapped, separating the joint surfaces. On the other hand, knuckle cracking actually grinds the joint surfaces together, potentially damaging them. There is no current evidence to suggest that chiropractic manipulative therapy is detrimental to your spinal joints.
Is it true that once you have chiropractic treatment, you must keep going back?
No. On the contrary, our goal is to help our patients to become independent from care. Actually, many people elect to continue their chiropractic treatment after feeling well. Why? Because periodic elective care helps them feel and function better. Chiropractic care is an integral lifestyle component of many health conscious individuals "wellness" plans; which incorporates healthy eating, exercise, and proper sleep.