Most chiropractors begin treatment during the patient's first visit, although some may wait until the next appointment at the chiropractic clinic.
Chiropractic treatment goals and recommendations may include some or all of the following:
- Adjustments to key joint dysfunctions
- Modalities to improve soft tissue healing and pain control, such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and traction
- Strengthening and/or stretching exercises to improve muscle balance, strength, and coordination
- Patient education to improve posture and motor control, as well as possibly reduce anxiety
- Other treatments such as massage, heat/cold application, and education on ergonomics and nutrition.
Goals of Chiropractic Care
The chiropractor will establish specific goals for a patient's individual plan for treatment:
- Short-term goals typically include reducing pain and restoring normal joint function and muscle balance
- Long-term goals include restoring functional independence and tolerance to normal activities of daily living.
To reach these goals, a specific number of chiropractic visits will be recommended.
For most types of lower back pain, a treatment recommendation of 1 to 3 chiropractic visits per week for 2 to 4 weeks will be prescribed, followed by a re-examination by the chiropractor.
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Chiropractic Evaluation of the Treatment
At the re-evaluation, the chiropractic doctor will measure the response to treatment and determine whether to:
- Continue chiropractic treatment, if appropriate
- Release the patient from chiropractic care, if treatment goals have been met
- Refer the patient to another health care specialist if treatment goals have not been fulfilled.
Chiropractic adjustment (also referred to as spinal manipulation) is a recognized and popular pain relief treatment for many types of lower back pain, sciatica, and neck pain. Knowing what to expect from the first chiropractic visit can help an individual receive the maximal benefit from chiropractic treatment.
Because this profession has an unusually large variety of practice philosophies and chiropractic techniques, individuals should feel comfortable asking all the questions necessary to understand the chiropractic examination, diagnosis, and treatment program.
Research and locate chiropractors in your area that can help alleviate your back and neck pain.