A chiropractor is a healthcare practitioner whose specialty is to assess and manage problems of the spine and related joints and muscles, largely through physical manipulation of the spine. They have had training in recognizing disorders relating to misalignments of the spinal joints and processes, and they work in a holistic way, considering the whole person and their way of life before making a diagnosis or starting any treatment. This means that they can recognize aspects of their patients’ lifestyles and needs that may be contributing to poor back health, and give simple lifestyle advice to try and remedy this. Anything from sitting at a desk all day to high impact exercise, from poor posture to serious injury can cause strain on the back and make tiny alterations to the alignment of the spine and joints. This can cause pain and strain, and the effects can be long-lasting if not treated.
They usually work from a specialist chiropractic clinic and may perform and interpret x-rays in-house to help inform their diagnoses and treatment. They may recommend masseurs or other allied services, and some chiropractors work in larger complementary healthcare clinics with other related professionals on the premises. Chiropractors treat back and neck pain and associated health problems. They will be able to recognize issues outside of their scope of treatment and recommend a medical assessment.
The first appointment with a chiropractor is likely to be a little longer than any subsequent appointments; this is because the chiropractor will make a full, holistic assessment of any problems, as well as lifestyle, diet, posture, work and leisure activities. At this first meeting, they will formulate a plan of treatment, including the length of time and number of sessions they think it will take to reach the desired outcome. Some people will need longer courses of treatment than others, depending on the condition, their ability to implement any recommended lifestyle change, and their body’s response to the physical part of the treatment.
Your chiropractic treatment will involve using physical movement and pressure around your spine to try and correct any misalignments. You may need to lie on a special bed, like a massage table, for this. There may be moments of discomfort, and some people hear some clicking or popping sounds, but it shouldn’t be really painful, and you’re probably there because you’re already suffering from some kind of back or neck pain. You should always tell your chiropractor if you’re really uncomfortable with any part of the treatment.
As well as the physical procedure, a consultant at a chiropractic clinic can give you lots of advice and information about how you can implement positive changes in your life to improve back pain or prevent further problems. Posture at work and rest can be very important and is one of the easily correctable ways people develop problems with their spine, neck, and joints. Your chiropractor will consider the physical aspects of your work and leisure activities and give you advice on how to reduce any impact these may have on your spine health.