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What to Expect at Your First Chiropractic Visit

Chiropractic Visits Chicago Illinois - Advanced Spine & Sports Care Treatment Services

Chiropractic Visits – What to Expect

Visiting a chiropractor for the first time can feel like a big step, especially if you’ve ever heard some of the common myths about chiropractic care. To help assuage some of that pre-visit stress, we’ve taken the time to explain how chiropractic treatment works at Advanced Spine & Sports Care, so you can know what to expect during your first and subsequent visits. This way, you can simply focus on getting better instead of focusing on any uncertainties.

Visit #1

Your first visit to Advanced Spine & Sports Care begins with a consult. We get to know your concerns, what brought you in, as well as your full medical history. This will then allow us to plan a logical treatment plan that is individualized and fitted to you and your specific needs.

Rarely do any adjustments occur during the first visit, but we often do passive physical therapy for pain control. This is done for the patient’s best interest to be sure we do all the necessary tests to determine the best course of treatment and that chiropractic care will be safe and effective for you.

Visit #2

On your second visit, we will go over the Report of Our findings.  This is done in a very comprehensive manner; health concern by health concern. We’ll discuss possible treatment options and determine if chiropractic can help your problems. If we feel like chiropractic can help, we start with three consecutive adjustments in which we will monitor your process closely and work to formulate the best possible course of treatment. The first of the three adjustments will occur during this visit.

During this time, you’ll also meet with our financial coordinator for a “mini-consult” to discuss insurance and calculate your expected out-of-pocket costs.

Visit #3

On the third visit, the second adjustment takes place. This appointment is scheduled close to the first adjustment, and we aim to keep all variables constant at this time. For example, if you exercise, we want you to continue to exercise as normal. If you don’t, now isn’t the time to start. We want to see how your body responds to care when you are doing what is normal for you.

Visit #4

On the fourth visit, the third adjustment takes place. In conjunction with your initial imaging and lab results, these three adjustments help to establish the overall treatment plan and prognosis. During this visit, we discuss our revolutionary Four-Phase Approach to Functional Health Recovery that we have developed at Advanced Spine & Sports Care and how long each phase is expected to last. An overview of our Four-Phase Approach is outlined below:

Phase 1: Relief Phase

The Relief Phase is designed to decrease pain and inflammation. Generally speaking, this phase is most important to patients as it gets them across the pain threshold as quickly as possible and restores as much movement and flexibility as possible.

Phase 2: Correction Phase

During this phase, the pain should be gone or much improved. The focus is now on correcting problems discovered on the x-ray, like misalignments. You’ll also receive exercises to do at home to help support these corrections. These movements help to re-educate your neuromuscular pathways into proper positioning and alignment.

Phase 3: Strengthening Phase

Similar to physical therapy, this phase builds up your strength. Yet, instead of focusing on just the area of concern, we build up the strength of your entire body. This ensures that not only is the skeletal system in proper alignment, but the muscular system is strong enough to support it, allowing them to work together effectively.  Treat symptoms locally but rehabilitate globally.

Phase 4: Supportive Phase

The fourth phase ensures all the time and effort into “feeling good” isn’t lost—it’s here that we work to maintain this progress. Patients graduate from patients to practice members, and we create lasting habits in diet, exercise, and overall health and wellness.

Also, during the fourth visit, we schedule time again with the financial coordinator to help map out the potential costs of the Four-Phase Approach. They are experts at understanding and navigating the potential pitfalls of insurance coverage, so you can understand your responsibilities in a clear and transparent way, allowing you to simply focus on getting better.

Conclusion

As you can see, chiropractic care isn’t a one-and-done treatment option. Chiropractic care is a process, or a spectrum of care, where we focus on the patient’s wellness as a whole. Just as you would routinely visit a dentist to maintain optimal tooth health, or regularly exercise in order to have a strong cardiovascular system, chiropractic is a lifestyle choice.

At Advanced Spine & Sports Care, we first work to fix the problem, then set the patient on a path of a healthier lifestyle for the long term.

To schedule your first appointment, simply click here.

 

5 Common Chiropractic Care Myths

Chiropractic Care in Chicago - Spinal Decompression & Adjustments

Chiropractic Care & Treatment – 5 Common Myths

Chiropractic care is a safe & natural option for treating pain, and it provides an excellent approach for supporting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you’re skeptical about visiting a chiropractor, take a moment to dive deeper into these five common myths surrounding chiropractic care and instead learn the truth about the benefits of Chiropractic Adjustments and spinal manipulation.

 

Myth 1: Chiropractors Aren’t ‘Real’ Doctors

Chiropractic school is not only rigorous, but it is also virtually identical to medical school.

The premedical prerequisites to get into chiropractic school are the same as medical school, which involves a full year of biology, chemistry, physics, calculus, organic chemistry, as well as a year of labs. As a result, most chiropractors have a four-year undergraduate degree in a science field before entering chiropractic school.

Attending traditional medical school and chiropractic school is also very similar, with the primary difference being that medical students will complete residency programs while chiropractors enter internship programs.

After completing undergrad, chiropractic school entails two additional years of classroom study followed by a third year consisting of both classroom study and clinical experience. The fourth and final year is all clinical.

Once students graduate from chiropractic school, they must pass four sets of national board exams which are heavily weighted on diagnostic and practical skills, as well as state board exams in the states where they wish to practice.

While it is true that a chiropractor doesn’t prescribe medication or perform surgery, it certainly doesn’t disqualify them as a “real” doctor. Chiropractors are officially known as Doctors of Chiropractic, and are without question experts in their field.

When it comes to neurology, alignment, and musculoskeletal disorders, Doctors of Chiropractic are more thoroughly trained than any of those other “real doctors.” Chiropractors spend years extensively learning about one thing and one thing only—musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction—making them the ideal portal-of-entry provider for musculoskeletal disorders.

Myth 2: Chiropractors “Crack” Backs

Many people fear chiropractic because they imagine horrible cracking movements that occur from a sudden and unexpected blow. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The word crack itself implies breakage. A chiropractor isn’t cracking anything.  Chiropractors are adjusting, aligning and manipulating, and a good chiropractor will communicate each step with you before the adjustment and as the adjustment occurs.

About 60 percent of the time, patients will hear a cavitation, a popping or clicking sound, which is simply a release of gas from the joint spaces. The cavitation is not the adjustment itself, but rather a byproduct of the alignment.

There are a variety of techniques utilized for adjustments, varying from gentle touch to hand manipulation to the use of retracting tables. Not every type is right for every patient, which is why a skilled chiropractor will take the time to listen to your concerns, understand the root of your problem, and develop an individualized course of treatment that is best suited for you.

Myth 3: Chiropractors Only Help with Back Pain

Your spine is without doubt one of the most important parts of your body, but chiropractic care extends further than the spine alone.

The doctor may employ a variety of specific techniques to adjust and manipulate other joints such as the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, and knees. Some conditions that affect the extremities that can be treated with chiropractic include plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, impingement syndromes, and TMJ.

It is also important to remember that the nerves originate in the brain and innervate through the spine. This means that if there is pressure on the spine, and consequently, the nerves, the symptoms can present elsewhere in the body.

For example, if you suffer from headaches, chiropractors will take care to examine the top cervical vertebra (called the atlas) to make sure it is positioned properly. If this particular vertebra is not aligned properly, it could create or increase the likelihood of these chronic headaches.

This is why chiropractors do all the necessary tests, exams, and imaging to first determine where the pain is actually originating from and then design treatment plans to address them.

Myth 4: Chiropractic Adjustments Are Dangerous

A common myth of chiropractic adjustment is that it can cause a stroke. According to one study, the odds of a hemorrhagic of stroke in the normal population, chiropractic patient or not, is 1 in 5.85 million people.[1]

The truth is, neck adjustments cause no more stress to the arteries in the neck than any normal range of motion exercise. When performed by licensed and experienced Doctors of Chiropractic, spinal manipulation and adjustments are safe practices that help to restore your body to its natural flexibility and mobility while relieving pain, soreness, and stiffness in the joints and muscles. In addition, because adjustments and manipulations are a natural, alternative approach to a problem, chiropractic is much safer than surgery or the use of opioids. Surgery is rarely effective for musculoskeletal problems, while painkillers only mask the pain as opposed to solving the root of the problem.

Myth 5: Once you start chiropractic care, you’ll have to continue to go for the rest of your life

Chiropractors do hope you continue to return, but it’s not for their benefit. Better health is a holistic lifestyle, and chiropractic is a part of that.

When you wait to visit a chiropractor when you are in severe pain, there is already a problem. The chiropractor will then work to treat not just the symptom, but to discover the underlying cause. The number of visits per month needed will depend on your unique case—it could be once a week, whereas others might need as frequent as twice a week. Once the underlying problem is fixed and you start to feel better, this is not where chiropractic visits should end.

Future visits are in place to continue to strengthen and support your body, so you are able to maintain that “feel good” phase without slipping back into the same habits and routines that landed you in pain in the first place.

Just as you would jog a few times a week to maintain cardiovascular health or schedule routine dental visits to protect your teeth, chiropractic care is one more piece of the puzzle for maintaining a healthy body and healthy lifestyle.

Dispelling Chiropractic Care Doubts

Millions of Americans have experienced meaningful pain relief and wellness benefits from chiropractic care.

If you think you could potentially benefit from chiropractic care, it is important to take the time and effort to choose the right chiropractor, just as you would for any healthcare professional. To learn more about our unique and holistic approach to chiropractic treatment at Advanced Spine and Sports Care, as well as what to expect during your first visit, click here. We’re here to help.

 

Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Chiropractic Care

[1]E.W. Church et al., “Systematic review and meta-analysis of chiropractic care and cervical artery dissection: no evidence for causation,” Cureus 8, no. 2 (February 16, 2016): https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.498.

 

These Exercises Will Work Wonders For Your Spinal Health

We all know that exercise is good for us. Some of us go for a run a few days a week. Others are sold on the benefits of weight training. Some people without the physical resources to perform more strenuous workouts opt for daily walks. There’s no doubt that any or all of these forms of exercise can be beneficial to your health. But at Advanced Spine & Sports Care we’d like to see everyone add yoga and pilates to their weekly fitness routines because both yoga and pilates are fabulous ways to maintain or improve your spinal health. Here are our five reasons why you should take up yoga or pilates (or both!) no matter what else you currently do to stay fit:

 

  • Yoga and Pilates Strengthen Core Muscles

 

An important aspect of spinal health is improving or maintaining the strength of your core muscles. Your spine on its own can only support about 30 – 40 pounds of body weight so it needs your core muscles to do a lot of the heavy lifting to help keep you upright. When your core is weak, your spine does extra work that wears it down and will ultimately lead to pain and injury. It’s also important that the strength of your core muscles is balanced: weak abdominals and strong back muscles can cause lower back pain. But doing sit-ups isn’t going to rectify this situation. Your posture is mainly supported by muscles deep inside of your body – muscles that are not worked by doing sit-ups. But the postures and movements involved in yoga and pilates are able to reach those deep core muscles, as well as the core muscles closer to the surface.

 

  • Yoga and Pilates Improve Flexibility

 

Another key component of spinal health is flexibility. When flexibility is reduced, we run the risk of pushing our body too far and causing injury. The best way to maintain or improve your flexibility is with gentle stretching on a regular basis. Both yoga and pilates deliver this kind of stretching to your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. When muscles, tendons, and ligaments are not regularly and properly stretched, they shorten and toughen, which reduces flexibility. This is especially important for those of us who spend hours on end sitting at a desk every day. Our bodies did not evolve to endure that much sitting and, as a result, without other forms of stretching, our muscles, tendons, and ligaments suffer. But don’t worry – even if you’re already experiencing lack of flexibility, it’s never to late to start. Yoga and pilates can help improve your flexibility by gently stretching the areas that need it.

 

  • Yoga and Pilates Promote Postural Awareness & Alignment

 

Good posture is really important for spinal health. The spine has a natural curve in it. While the spine is meant to move and be flexible, if it is constantly in an unnatural position, damage to discs and vertebrae and even nerves can occur, which will result in back pain and can even affect other areas of your body. Both yoga and pilates encourage practitioners to focus on correct posture and alignment during different poses and moves. This focus generally translates to a greater awareness of posture and alignment outside of yoga and pilates classes as well. Also, because yoga and pilates are strengthening your core muscles, it will be easier to maintain proper posture and alignment.

 

  • Yoga and Pilates are Preventative and Curative

 

If you are free of back pain – great! Now is the time to start yoga and pilates. Even if you follow another fitness regimen, adding yoga and pilates will almost definitely improve your fitness level, endurance, and performance because of its ability to improve core strength, balance, and flexibility. Keeping your core muscles balanced and strong and keeping the moving parts of your spine flexible will also help you stave off the degenerative process that happens as we age and will protect you from back and spine injuries.

If, on the other hand, you’ve begun to notice a lack of flexibility, balance, or core strength, yoga and pilates can help you repair the imbalances in your body. In fact, even if you are already experiencing back pain or if you are recovering from a spine or back injury, your doctor may actually prescribe yoga or pilates as part of your recovery. This is in part because your doctor will want you to start new habits that will support your spine health, even after your official treatment is over.

 

  • Almost Everyone Can Do Yoga and Pilates.*

 

No matter what your age, fitness level, gender, or weight is, it’s highly likely that you’re able to take part in a yoga or pilates class. Make sure you pick the level that’s right for you and, if you’re brand new to the practice, let the leader know ahead of time. While advanced yoga and pilates can be incredibly difficult, the basics are pretty easy and will still give you substantial spinal health benefits.

We think these are five pretty good reasons for you to give yoga or pilates (or both!) a shot. Since we are passionate about spinal health at Advanced Spine & Sports Care, we’d love to see everyone taking up yoga or pilates. If you’d like to know more about ways to maintain your spinal health, or if you are experiencing back pain or pain caused by a spinal issue, we encourage you to contact us online or by phone (773.868.0347) today.

*Always consult with a medical professional before beginning any new exercise routine.