8627727_MAccording to the latest Gallup-Palmer College of Chiropractic Annual Study of Americans, eight out of 10 Americans believe chiropractors can ease back and neck pain.

Yet 50 percent say they don’t know exactly what chiropractors do and 47 percent of non-chiropractic users say that is enough to keep them from seeking chiropractic care.

So, what would you like to know? Let’s start with what to expect when you go to your first appointment.

Some chiropractors begin by answering your questions, particularly if you’re new to chiropractic care. Don’t be shy; this is the perfect time to also learn more about the chiropractor’s philosophy, the general time frame for treatments and any financial concerns. By the way, reports say up to 87 percent of all insured American workers are covered for chiropractic treatments under their health care plans.

Then you can get down to the clinical part of your visit:

• Come prepared to give your medical history, including when and where the pain started, if it was caused by an accident and if certain activities make it worse. The chiropractor will also want to know about pre-existing medical conditions, your family medical history, and any treatments, including medications, you’ve already undergone.

• After checking your vitals – blood pressure, pulse, and so on – the chiropractor will test your range of motion, reflexes, and muscle strength and see if there are any neurological abnormalities. Wear loose-fitting clothes that allow for easy movement, in the region where you are feeling pain and along the spine and neck. If necessary, the chiropractor may order an x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, or other diagnostic lab test to further pinpoint what’s causing your pain. Also considered is your age and general health, and what you hope to get out of chiropractic care. Again, feel free to ask questions and be open in your discussions with the chiropractor. With today’s chiropractors receiving extensive training in everything from pediatrics to geriatrics as well as nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices, they have many more options in treating you!

• From there, the chiropractor will make a diagnosis and determine whether chiropractic care is the best treatment. If so, you will discuss a plan specific to your problem and come up with a projected schedule of treatment (while many people realize some relief after a single treatment, additional visits are often required for a fuller recovery). You may receive a therapeutic manipulation during the first visit, usually along the spine but also given to certain joints to improve function. Don’t let that signature “pop” scare you; it’s simply gases being released from the joint, the same thing that happens when you crack your knuckles.

In short, it’s not all that different from visiting another healthcare provider. But when it comes to picking up that grandbaby again without pain, it’s an option showing great promise. Don’t let fear hold you back from the care that could put you back on track!