When you first meet with a chiropractor, you will undergo an assessment. He or she will ask you a series of questions about your medical history, diet and lifestyle. This will help them to form a picture of your current health, circumstances and of any past injuries or surgeries. This knowledge will be factored into your chiropractic treatment.
Next, your chiropractor will conduct a physical examination. This will focus mainly on your spine and posture. This stage may also involve medical tests such as taking your blood pressure. An X-ray or CT scan are often used to help your chiropractor make a diagnosis.
Once the initial consultation is complete, your chiropractor will then devise an appropriate treatment plan. This will be based on the previous assessment and diagnosis. The range of techniques he or she decides to use will be tailored to treat your specific needs. Your treatment may include the use of soft tissue therapies such as massage.
Generally you should expect treatment to involve manual adjustments to the joints, muscles and bones of your spine. You will be asked to sit or lie down and you may have to remove upper body clothing so your chiropractor can access your spine. You will be offered a gown if you need to undress.
You will also be advised on rehabilitation exercises and lifestyle changes. This will help to make sure long-term health is maintained – during and after treatment. You may also be given homework such as daily stretching to improve your mobility.
Is it painful?
Chiropractic treatment should not be painful. There should only be discomfort if your chiropractor is treating an injury that is painful and inflamed. If you experience significant discomfort and pain while having treatment, you should tell your chiropractor immediately.
Is it safe?
Chiropractic therapy is a very controlled procedure, and individuals of all ages can receive treatment. As with any therapy there is a possibility of side effects and risks, but this is very rare. Furthermore, the chiropractic profession is fully regulated in the UK by the General Chiropractic Council (GCC). This means it a criminal offence for anyone to practice as chiropractor if they’re not registered with GCC.
Please note, however, that chiropractic is not recommended for patients who have:
- Inflammatory spine conditions.
- Recently experienced a fracture or severe osteoporosis.
If you are considering chiropractic treatment, it is important that you give your chiropractor as much information as possible so they can determine whether it is suitable for you. This also includes any medications you may be taking as some are found to contradict treatment.
How many sessions are needed?
The number of sessions you will need will depend on your medical history and the severity of your condition. Generally though, most conditions can be treated within four to 12 sessions. In some cases your chiropractor may suggest having regular maintenance therapy once your initial problem has improved. This is recommended to prevent you from experiencing the same ailments again. However, there is little research into the effectiveness of this treatment.
Chiropractic sessions generally last around 15 to 30 minutes. Prices range from £30 to £80 for a 30 minute session. Some chiropractors may offer discounted rates for concessions. Details of this can be found on individual profiles.