If you've been struggling with persistent aches and pains or simply want to get your body back into balance, you may be considering chiropractic care. This noninvasive, hands-on approach to patient care emphasizes holistic diagnosis and treatment, meaning your chiropractor will use a whole-body approach to well-being even if you're only looking to address a singular concern. Ideally, the result is greater mobility, faster healing, and an overall increase in functionality for the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.
From the conditions that can be treated to how you can prepare for your introduction to the world of integrative medicine, here's what to know before your first chiropractic visit.
Why See a Chiropractor?
Chiropractors treat almost any condition caused by, related to, or that may affect the musculoskeletal system, including the spine.
Conditions We Treat
At Northeast Spine and Sports Medicine, we have an entire team of specialists, including doctors, physician’s assistants, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and physical therapists, who work in tandem to help patients find relief and get back to their day-to-day routines. Our treatment plans address everything from nonsurgical pain management to anxiety. Whether you're facing chronic pain or discomfort after an acute injury, we'll do our best to help.
Your chiropractor will likely perform manual manipulations, activator-led manipulations, or a combination of both, but these approaches are often accompanied by other treatments and services, such as physical therapy, spinal traction, stretching, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS), ultrasound, and lifestyle counseling that could include nutritional suggestions.
At Northeast Spine and Sports Medicine, we also offer:
- Spinal decompression
- MicroVas therapy
- PRP injection therapy
- Orthopedic therapy
- Joint injections for knee pain
- Electrodiagnostic medicine
- Orthopedic surgery
- Cold laser therapy
- Therapeutic injections
- MLS laser therapy
The best way to know if your condition could benefit from chiropractic care is to make an appointment for assessment and discuss your issues face to face with an experienced, compassionate doctor.
Even before you set foot in your new chiropractor's office, there's work to be done. Start by gathering any information you have regarding current medications and supplements, past therapies or surgeries, and anything else that may be relevant. Remember, every detail plays a role in tailoring your treatment plan.
Next, fill out your doctor's patient forms. Though this step often feels tedious, a thorough medical history is an essential part of understanding your general physical health as well as various factors that could be contributing to your current concerns.
Filling these forms out ahead of your visit also saves time. Rather than sitting in a waiting room trying to recall key details about your history, you can fill out forms at home, where you have access to documentation and plenty of time to consider your answers without feeling rushed.
You may also want to call your insurance company. Their representatives can help you navigate your policy, detailing copays, deductibles, number of covered visits, and other important details. Your chiropractor's front-desk team can help check insurance coverage as well, but clearing your visit ahead of time may help speed things along.
If you're not insured, that's okay too. Northeast Spine and Sports Medicine accepts uninsured patients with a number of flexible payment options, including cash pay, credit cards, debit cards, checks, and money orders.
If you still don't feel prepared for your visit, check out these frequently asked questions about chiropractic. The more you know, the more comfortable you may feel.
What to Expect at Your First Chiropractic Visit
Think of your first chiropractic session as a sort of meet-and-greet, albeit a bit more formal. We'll start with a thorough physical exam that may include range-of-motion and muscle assessments, posture analysis, and other functional tests alongside X-rays and lab work. We'll ask you a series of questions about your medical history, medications, supplements and concerns, such as:
- What specific issues would you like us to address?
- Are you currently in pain? If so, where is the pain located and when did it start?
- What does the pain feel like? Is it dull or sharp? Is it localized, or does it radiate? Do you feel it all the time, or does it come and go?
- Is the pain the result of an injury, such as a slip and fall or a car accident?
- What makes the pain better? What makes it worse?
This is a great time to ask your own questions, and no question or concern is too small or silly. After all, this is your appointment — it's just as important for you to feel comfortable and heard as it is for your chiropractic team to get the information they need.
Finally, your chiropractor will go over their findings and lay out recommendations regarding treatment modalities, number of visits, and how you can support your therapy at home. Every patient is different, so don't be surprised if it takes some time to put your treatment plan on paper. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to chiropractic care, and you deserve a toolkit designed just for your body's unique needs.
What Does a Chiropractor Do on the First Visit?
In addition to the assessment and information gathering mentioned above, you may get adjusted on your very first visit. How you prepare could influence the efficacy of that day's treatment.
- Come ready for your chiropractic adjustment in loose, flexible clothes. Choose breathable fabrics over more restrictive options — for instance, go with stretchy yoga pants and a t-shirt instead of a turtleneck and jeans.
- Relax. Chiropractic adjustments are all about skeletal and muscle manipulation, and it's hard to complete the recommended movements if you're tensing against the manipulation or anxious about what's going to happen.
- Ask for clarification. If you find yourself stressing about what comes next, just ask. Your chiropractor will be happy to guide you through each step. More than likely, they'll give you periodic instructions, such as when to take a deep breath and let it out and how to best position yourself for each adjustment.
- Speak up. If something doesn't feel right or you experience any discomfort, say so right away. While some achiness or soreness is normal when you're being realigned, sharp or lingering pains are not.
- Sit up slowly. Be gentle with your body as you rise into a sitting or standing position. Take your time, and ask for assistance if you need it.
- Follow your doctor's directions for aftercare. This could be as simple as taking it easy and drinking lots of water, or you may be given a stretching routine along with suggestions for using ice and heat to ease muscle soreness. Whatever your chiropractor recommends, it's important; listening and acting on those suggestions could mean the difference between making limited progress and achieving optimal results.
How Much is a First Visit to a Chiropractor?
How much your chiropractic visit costs depends on a number of factors, including:
- Insurance coverage
- Whether your doctor charges extra for the initial assessment
- The availability of discounted package rates
- Which modalities are being used
Some chiropractors charge a flat fee that includes multiple therapies in one visit, while others take an a la carte approach. You may only owe a straight copay, or you could pay one rate until your deductible is met, at which point your fees drop significantly. You could also pay out of pocket and be offered rates based on your self-pay status.
To schedule your first chiropractic visit at Northeast Spine and Sports Medicine, call us today at (732) 653-1000. We have eight locations conveniently spread around northeastern New Jersey, including offices in Aberdeen, Jackson, Manchester, Point Pleasant, Barnegat, Freehold, Lakewood and Neptune. We look forward to helping you feel your best!