Chiropractic care can be a mystery if you've never experienced it before. You may have a sitcom image of being twisted and 'cracked' by a pseudo-physician with no 'real' qualifications. However, chiropractic is a legitimate means of keeping your skeletal and other bodily systems aligned and functioning properly. It's paid for by most insurance, including worker's compensation, and relieves a range of ailments and physical complaints.

What Should I Look for in a Chiropractor?

The first thing you want to know about any health care provider is that they're trained and qualified. Chiropractors are required to be licensed and graduates of an accredited university. You'll want to know how long they've been in practice and that they have a good reputation among their patients. Doctors who continue their training and education exhibit a high degree of dedication and a commitment to patient care.

Reputable care providers leave a trail so you can research them. You can check on websites like Healthgrades to see if your doctor has a history of complaints or problems. Consumer websites often provide feedback and patient reviews. You'll also want to find out a few other things before you decide on one practice.

Specializations - there are many offices that offer general chiropractic care like adjustments. Others specialize in sports injuries, treating migraines or spinal cord care. You may find holistic chiropractors who offer alternative healing methods like acupuncture or reiki. The practice should fit your needs and beliefs about health care.

Techniques - this is aside from traditional or holistic care. The human body is complicated, so proper diagnostics and technologies that can pinpoint problems and accelerate healing are a bonus. Many practices use a combination of technology and techniques to provide more comprehensive care.

The Environment - Is the office clean and well-equipped? Is the staff welcoming and informed enough to address questions and concerns quickly? A high-quality practice will be well-kept, organized and offer a relaxing atmosphere that promotes wellness.

What Will My First Visit Be Like?

Chiropractic is a hands-on kind of care. Many people prefer it for pain management and healing after an injury because it's non-invasive and medicine-free. Your first consultation should be pretty detailed. Your doctor will want to know about your medical history, including previous injuries or surgery.  Dr. Gregory Johnson of Advanced Chiropractic Relief LLC suggests it's important to include as much information as possible so your chiropractor can get a good understanding about your needs and what you hope to get out of your treatment. You should discuss any anxiety you have about your condition or care, and receive calm, reassuring answers in return. Many people have mistaken ideas of what chiropractic care is or is not so it’s really important to have good, open communication with the doctor and his staff.

After you've had a one-on-one, you'll probably undergo a physical exam. This will definitely include an X-ray so your doctor can get a clear picture of the extent of your injury and devise a personalized treatment plan to deal with it effectively. He or she will also test your range of motion, which is how far you can bend your body forward, turn your head to one side or the other and how far you can raise your arms above your head. Your chiropractor will also try to determine any sore or tender spots and possible causes. The objective is to learn the extent of your pain or discomfort and locate the source.

Once your initial exam is over, you can discuss possible solutions. Your doctor will make recommendations for the number of sessions you may need to address your injury, how often you'll need to be seen and a possible duration for your care. You'll usually have your first session at that time, depending on the course of treatment and recommended methods. Your doctor may also make you sit for a few minutes after each treatment to make sure you're not experiencing any dizziness or discomfort before you leave. You'll schedule your next appointment or receive a schedule of appointments at that time.

How Long Will I Have to See the Chiropractor?

That really depends on your physical condition and wellness goals. Some people can make marked improvement in just a few sessions, and others continue to see their chiropractor for years. If you're going in for a specific injury, your insurance may only cover a set number of visits. That's something you'll have to discuss with your doctor during your consultation, and possibly re-evaluate toward the end of your treatment.

You should check with your insurance company to find chiropractic care that's in your network and make sure your visits are covered. The last bit of advice is to find an office where you feel comfortable. Much of your healing begins with your state of mind.

Published by Muhammad Umer