FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AFTER YOUR FIRST ADJUSTMENT
What a process! You’ve been through our Bio-Structural Examination, reviewed all the results (yes I know, there was a lot to cover…), received a crash course in spinal and neurological function, and have been accepted into our corrective care program.
Still, there may be some looming questions we didn’t answer and we want to make absolutely sure you understand everything possible in order to get the best results.
That’s why we’ve amassed this mega-list of the most common (and not so common) questions about Chiropractic we field every day… we know if one person is asking, there’s likely ten others wishing they knew the answer too!
WHAT EXACTLY IS A CHIROPRACTIC “ADJUSTMENT”?
At your first check up, you probably noticed a few key things – it was fast, gentle, and probably very different than what you were expecting…
As a Bio-Structural Chiropractic Practice, we analyze and correct structural shifts in the spine and pelvis. These deviations in normal alignment and motion of the vertebrae place stress on the nerves and disrupt the way your brain and body communicates. The technical terminology for this condition is vertebral subluxation.
This is different from a chiropractic adjustment or manipulation in two ways:
- A correction is always delivered specifically to an individual segment of the spine that is shifted from its normal healthy position and in turn, causes nerve irritation. This is a notable distinction from simply an area that hurts. Vertebral subluxations are most often painless as only a small percentage of the nervous system receives and reports pain… about 10 percent. You may have a subluxation impairing your body’s function and yet have no pain.
- A correction is not accomplished by simply popping, cracking, or manipulating the spine. Although some audible sounds may accompany some corrections, the sound is not related in any way to the success of a correction. And with our Computer-Assisted Chiropractic corrections, you won’t have to worry about those cracking sounds.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN AN ADJUSTMENT ‘WORKED’?
The first thing we need to do is define what is meant by ‘work.’
In the context of a chiropractic correction, ‘working’ means that there has been a measurable reduction in stress on the nervous system as a result of correcting the underlying distortion in the spine.
Primary indicators the Doctor may use during your visit-to-visit analysis include pre-correction and post-correction Sigma Computer Assisted Chiropractic on-screen analysis of the frequency and resistance of the spine and its vertebrae. There’s never been a more precise way to know with confidence that the correction has been made! Other indicators include palpable improvements in motion of the spine and pelvis, and changes in muscle tension surrounding the affected vertebrae.
In short, the analysis used by your Doctor during your check up will determine if a correction worked or did not work. This is exactly why you will notice your Doctor re-checking your spine following every correction.
Longer-term indicators include things like improvements in your posture (being able to stand up taller or straighter), neurological tests, orthopaedic tests, static spine palpation, blood pressure, and grip strength improvements identified on your progress examination results.
Other common findings people notice include more energy, better digestion, improved immunity (getting sick less often), sleeping better, and having better circulation. These are all changes in bodily function, which could occur as a result of correction of your core problem.
WHY DON’T I FEEL ANY DIFFERENT SOMETIMES AFTER A CORRECTION?
That’s a really good question. After all, you originally came in because you wanted help with a problem, right?
Do you remember when your Doctor told you that what you thought was your problem likely wasn’t your problem at all, but instead it was collateral damage?
The objective of the correction is to reduce as much stress as possible from your nervous system. This doesn’t always equate to feeling immediately better, but it DOES help your body to function better EVERY time.
You may not immediately be aware of the change that has occurred as it takes time for your body to adapt to the correction and many of the functions that could improve cannot be ‘felt’.
Structural shifts are very often accompanied by chronic inflammation and soft tissue damage, both of which will take time to heal. As scar tissue starts to break down, inflammation clears and the structure of your spine changes…rest assured that each correction moves you slowly and steadily toward a healthier version of YOU!
IS IT OK TO HAVE ADJUSTMENTS ON BACK-TO–BACK DAYS?
Short answer? Yes. In fact, in the first phase of care, we often recommend you have back-to-back check-ups so that we can monitor how quickly your body falls back into the old patterns of distortion.
Initially, this may occur within hours of your check-up, however as your body begins to adapt to the adjustments, we typically see less and less required adjustments on the following day, and in some cases you may not require any adjustments at all!
When we see this, it’s a clear indication that you are ready to progress to the next stage in your care and we can decrease the frequency of your visits.
I’M STARTING TO NOTICE THAT I HAVE MORE ENERGY AND AM SLEEPING BETTER… IS THIS NORMAL?
Yes, this is entirely normal. In fact, we expect these kinds of changes once we begin to see structural correction in your spine. The reduction in stress on the nerve system has a direct effect on improving sleep quality and quantity.
As your spinal alignment and motion improves, your body becomes more efficient at utilizing energy. This means there are more resources available for your body to use for all of your other functions instead of allocating so much to stabilizing your structural distortion.
SOMETIMES THERE ARE VERY FEW CORRECTIONS WHILE OTHER TIMES THERE ARE SEVERAL… WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?
Every time you come in to the office, your spine is different than the last time you came in. This is why every single time you come in, we check and analyze your spine to determine if a correction is even necessary. Some days there will be more shifts, therefore more corrections needed, and other times, you’ll need less.
When that happens, it’s a clear sign that your body is recovering and adapting better – in other words, you are getting healthier! When it happens consistently and your test results support it, your check up schedule will change to match your goals.
In fact, it may surprise you that our ultimate goal is to check your spine and nerve system and find that no corrections are required. It is to check as little as required to maximize your results!
WHAT CAN I DO TO SPEED UP MY RECOVERY?
I think it’s fair to say we all want the same thing…the best results in the shortest amount of time. So it’s totally normal for you to ask what else could you be doing to speed up your Bio-Structural Restoration?
In our experience, there’s a very specific process you will need to go through and it’s often slightly different for each person. You will definitely be prescribed specific corrective mobility exercises along with strengthening and stabilizing exercises. We may also recommend getting the help of a registered massage therapist and/or physical therapist.
One blanket recommendation that we can make for everyone is to make sure you are getting lots of regular, low-level movement in your day.
As humans, we are designed to move…a lot. Aim to walk at least 45 minutes every day above and beyond your normal activities. Split this up however you want, but an easy strategy would be to take a 15-minute walk in the morning before work, at lunch, and after dinner. If you have kids, get them involved too – this is excellent habit to instill in them at a young age.
Another excellent habit to establish is the sit-busting habit. For every 20 minutes that you sit, get up and move for 2 minutes. In that 2 minutes you could go for a quick walk, do some jumping jacks, air squats or climb up/down some stairs. It may seem distracting from your work but research clearly shows that regular movement breaks actually increases productivity.
SHOULD I EXERCISE BEFORE OR AFTER MY CHECK UPS?
The most important thing is that you find time to fit both exercise and your check-ups into your busy week. In our experience, your personal schedule will dictate this more than anything else.
However, if you find yourself with the freedom to choose, then you are always better off to exercise following your check-up and here’s why…
Since the purpose of your check-up is to maximize your brain-body connection by correcting any distortions in your spine, your body will work more efficiently and effectively following any required corrections.
With a subluxation-free spine, you will be (re-) programming more optimal movement with your training, as well as getting the most out of your session and reducing any risk of injury.
Should I also be seeing a Registered Massage Therapist?
Due to the fact we focus on a very unique aspect of health known as Bio-Structural Correction, the combination of our approach and massage can provide great results. We work very closely with several excellent therapists in our neighbourhood and never hesitate to refer you to the most appropriate one for you.
Properly applied massage therapy focuses on rebuilding and maintaining healthy muscles. So if you have a specific muscle problem and are looking to restore normal muscle tissue, then a good Massage Therapist is your best bet. Some things to consider when choosing a good therapist is whether or not they do a thorough assessment and provide you with specific recommendations for follow-up. Ask us for a recommendation at your next visit – we know some great therapists.
Why does my insurance only cover a portion of my required corrective care?
Picture this – your insurance company sends you a letter to say “we care about your health, that’s why we’re now going to pay for your organic vegetables, and we’ll also cover your personal training, yoga classes and an extra week of holidays this year!”
If you’re fortunate enough to have private health insurance – only 52% of Canadians do – you’re probably thinking “what insurance does this guy have??” Followed quickly by “that plan must cost a fortune!”
Of course, there’s no such plan… and that comes down to the primary purpose of insurance of any kind: it’s to help you in the case of emergencies – in this case, health emergencies.
And while it’s true that your insurance will cover a few visits – typically enough to start seeing changes in those secondary problems you mentioned – it is not designed to address the primary, root problem.
Since our focus is on tackling the primary problem, it’s no surprise our recommendations often don’t line up with what your insurance provides: the goals are different.
If you’re fortunate enough to have private health insurance, think about it like a ‘health’ coupon… one that can be used to reduce the cost of your corrective care and get you started on the path towards a healthier life.
What I can say is that typically once people get through the initial set of recommendations (i.e. finished the rebuilding phase of your care), they are so happy with the results that they are willing to pay their own way to maintain the positive changes and continue their care – just as they continue to pay for their own fresh fruits and veggies, gym membership, and family holidays.
For those who do not have access to this ‘coupon’, it shouldn’t stop you from taking the necessary actions to solve your problem and create as much health for yourself as possible!