Many patients entering a chiropractors office for the first time may experience an uneasy feeling largely because they are uncertain about what to expect before, during or after their treatments. We have also found that many of our patients have unrealistic expectations for their care, which can ultimately cause them to become disappointed with chiropractic in general. Since patient satisfaction is our highest priority, letting you know what you can realistically expect during your care becomes the first step toward wellness.
The first step towards aligning our expectations with reality is to discuss what it is chiropractors do? Chiropractors specialize in treating physical problems. To explain what we mean, we should start by saying that all doctors are specialists in their own field. Any doctor is going to be the most successful when they treat the cause of the problem and not just the symptoms. For example, when you go to a medical doctor you would expect him to recommend some type of medication. This medication is a chemical. Even though chemicals are great at solving chemical problems, no amount of chemicals can solve a physical problem. Of course, medication can make the pain go away for awhile, but at that point you are just treating the symptoms.
The realities of having a physical problem are two fold. First of all, most patients who have a physical problem usually have physical symptoms. Physical symptoms can be anything from pain, discomfort, poor performance or a nagging feeling that something is not right. The second part of having a physical problem is that you will need some type of physical solution. For our purpose, this means that “if we don’t do something too you, we can’t do something for you.” It also means that if you can not move your body around without it hurting, there is no way that your doctor can move it around with out it hurting as well. This is where your pain tolerance and your level of comfort with chiropractic come into play.
It may sound strange, but the goal of your first visit is not to fix you. The goal is to get started fixing you and becoming committed to the process of change. The truth is that most patients did not get in the condition they are in overnight and they will not get better overnight. Going to a chiropractor is a lot like going back to the gym. You would not expect to get in great shape by going to the gym once. On the other hand, if you over train on your first visit back to the gym, then you may be so sore you never want to go back. This is why there is a catch 22 when it comes to making positive physical changes to your body. We don’t want to do so little on your first visit that we don’t change anything, nor do we want to make so many changes that you get overly sore. Simply put, “too much of a good thing” can literally feel like a bad thing.
So what can you expect as far as improvement on your first visit? Most of our patients get 10-20% improvement on their first visit, which unfortunately does not feel like a lot. Sometimes a patient will notice that some of their range of motion comes back. Sometimes they simply sleep better or they notice that the pain is not as sharp. Often, a patient will actually be more sore and this is especially true if they also received a massage. This soreness is a result of the release of inflammation in a chronically swollen joint. Since motion is what pumps inflammation out of a joint, reestablishing proper alignment and motion to a painful area is the only way to release the inflammation trapped in the joint. Once the inflammation is out of the joint and into the surrounding tissues, the body’s reaction is get sore. This process may feel bad in the short term, but restoring function is the only long term solution. As each visit begins to add additional improvements, the results begin to speak for themselves. This is why our office is full of patients who understand the benefits of Chiropractic and keep coming back. It is our sincere wish that you can also the benefits of a new level of wellness through all of the treatments offered through Absolute Wellness Centers.