by Joann Flora,
Acupressure, Nutrition Counseling, Qigong
November 10, 2002
In a chiropractic treatment, the doctor will interview the patient as to their condition and perform palpation of the affected area. He or she will observe the patient standing and walking, observing and noting any structural imbalances. Some resistance testing may be performed to evaluate range of motion or pain threshold. An x-ray of the spine may be part of the diagnosis. From this point, the treatment will vary based on the chiropractors's training. Some practitioners will begin to perform manual adjustments at this time. Other will use mechanical means such as massage, heat, electric muscle stimulation, ultrasound, or acupuncture to prepare the surrounding soft tissue for the adjustment; these chiropractors believe it is important to de-stress the tissues that are putting pressure on the spine prior to moving the bony structures. They believe that if the surrounding soft tissue is relaxed, there is less opportunity for the adjustment to destabilize.
During the treatment process, the patient lies on a special table that facilitates the adjustment process. These table have moveable sections, face cradles, tilt, and have other abilities to aid the chiropractor in the adjustment, The patient lies clothed or in a gown in several positions, depending on the procedure. Adjustments may be made with the patient face up, on the side, face down, or sitting on the edge of the table. Following the treatment, the patient is give instructions pertaining to activity that may or may not be resumed, the use of heat or cold, and occasionally the use of devices such as neck collars.
Chiropractic care is still thought of as 'alternative' or 'complimentary', though many insurance companies provide coverage for these services. The medical community, once resistant and opposed to this form of treatment, is beginning to recognize the benefits to be gained. Though they are still not likely to recommend or endorse chiropractic, doctors are becoming less vocal in their opposition.
Is chiropractic care for everyone? Probably not. Manual manipulation of the spinal column requires as much confidence on the part of the patient as it does skill on the part of the practitioner. The adjustments can be sudden, uncomfortable, noisy, and even a little scary to some people. Those who are frail or squeamish may not find this a good methodology for them. For those who are comfortable with their practitioner, and willing enough to do what is necessary to feel better without drugs or surgery, this is a fine alternative. A person new to this service might try speaking to several chiropractors prior to their first treatment. Ask about their methods, and share your concerns. If they won't return your phone calls or make time to speak with you, go someplace else. You are the customer, after all. If you are presently a chiropractic patient and are pleased with your doctor, but feel you'd benefit from an increase in services (EX: heat before adjustment), say so. Chiropractors adjust bones, they don't read minds. And, if you want to do a little extra on your own to improve the benefit you receive from your treatments try the following:
It's your health and your body. Take charge of it and the care it receives. This article completes the series on "hands on" therapies". Next, we will begin to explore food, dietary habits, and toxins we encounter.