What Happens When I Visit a Chiropractor?
Your initial visit the chiropractor will be aimed at gaining an insight into your current situation by gathering information from you about your symptoms, general health history, home life, work life and any physical activities you participate in such as sports and exercise.
This will be followed by a comprehensive neuromusculoskeletal examination that includes postural analysis, diagnostic tests, chiropractic assessment (static & motion palpation, range of motion), and x-rays (if necessary) to enable the doctor to gain a clear understanding of the cause of your problem.
After the examination, your chiropractor will identify what the source of your problem and will clearly explain this to you, as well as outlining the treatment that is required to assist with your problem. Chiropractors are trained to determine if a problem is likely to respond to chiropractic treatment, and if not, will refer you to another more appropriate health care practitioner for treatment.
A thorough examination of your spine is conducted on every visit to evaluate effectiveness of the previous treatment and what will be the treatment to be continued. This includes patient history, motion and static palpation, range of motion and orthopaedic/neurological tests. The chiropractor will highlight problems areas in the spine, recommended scheduling, active patient management such as exercises and explaining chiropractic philosophy. The consult is approximately 15 minutes duration.
How Often Do I Have To Visit?
One of the most common reasons people seek chiropractic care is that it often provides fast relief and quick results. However, cases are varied and depend on the individual condition. The acute phase of care is important to bring about change and repeated visits over a short period may be required initially to reduce underlying dysfunction. The rehabilitative and preventative phase of care involves lengthened periodic check ups to help maintain your spinal function, mobility and somatic health.
Many patients prefer to avoid relapse and chose to detect small imbalances before they become serious, as subluxation can be present without symptoms. Just like you see your dentist for periodic checkups, we encourage everyone to have their spine checked.
Today, there are people of all ages and walks of life seeking chiropractic care. Whether you are suffering from the natural “wear and tear” of ageing, or if you are an office worker or a professional sports player, chiropractic care can be beneficial to you.
The founder Clarence Gonstead developed the technique that is observed by a small fraternity within the chiropractic profession. Dr Gonstead was a servant to his patients and of service to his profession. He believed in living the sermon, rather than delivering it and he always did both. The first Gonstead clinic was opened in 1939 in Mt Horeb, Wisconsin. The clinic was designed to be about 19,000 square feet; 11 adjusting rooms, xray facility, a waiting room seating 104 patients and this enormous clinic would be located in the small township of Mt Horeb with a population of 1,800. This is a testament to his commitment to chiropractic and the results he obtained as people from all walks would come to see him and the four medical doctors in the town nearly became extinct. Dr Gonstead would finish work at 10pm at night and travel with his wife to remote areas to adjust patients. He would sometimes finish from home calls as late as 4am. This is primarily due to the amount of commitment required to understand the system and apply it to the pateint. Our doctors at Somatic Healthcare Clinic attend regular seminars and have trained extensively outside of university to be able to apply the Gonstead principles. The Gonstead approach is extremely comprehensive and entails four procedures of spinal examination prior to treatment.
Instrumentation – the nervouscope has two thermocouples that are on the end of the two probes that are used to run along the paraspinal muscles on either side of the spine. The nervouscope has the ability to detect small significant heat changes at a distinct spinal level. This reading is reflective of underlying spinal subluxation as the resultant fixated facet joint will ultimately inflame the capsule of the joint and overlying tissues. The inflamed tissues are just beneath skin level and the increased heat emitted by inflamed tissue can be detected at the overlying skin level by the nervouscope.
Observation – the patient is always gowned and the skin must always be exposed to allow for a visual examination of the spine. Many problems can be observed prior to feeling the spine.
Static Palpation – Palpating the individual vertebrae and adjacent spinal tissues is very useful as the doctor is able to gain an understanding if there have been changes in the texture of the skin. Changes such as increased muscle tension or bogginess in the tissues due to underlying inflammation are all cardinal signs of subluxation.
Motion Palpation – Is definitely the most difficult technique to master but also invaluable as the doctor begins from the pelvis right up to the first cervical vertebrae assessing the motion of each individual spinal vertebrae. The tactile precision and ability to feel the lack of movement at a spinal level is the defining factor in what sets a Gonstead chiropractor apart from the rest. This is most importantly performed in a seated position as the spine is a weightbearing structure.
The Gonstead Adjustment
The Gonstead adjustment can be described as follows: a specific contact on a specific vertabra following a specific and accurate count to determine the exact location of the vertebrae to be adjusted. The segment involved is never locked up or rotated to induce unnatural tension within the joint complex, while being pre-stressed only to a position that falls within but not beyond the joint’s normal range of motion. The segment is adjusted when placed in a position slightly out of neutral position of that segment so that, when thrust upon it will move in a predetermined biomechanically correct direction focusing primarily on the P-A direction of drive on segmental levels C2 to the last lumbar. The thrust is specific in direction and force using a high velocity, low amplitude sustained thrust with no recoil.
To explain this in simple terms the adjustment is performed with a high speed in a very specific direction and with a very short depth of thrust.