New Patients: What to Expect
Finding what causes a patient’s pain or symptoms can sometimes be a difficult process. At Duncan Chiropractic, our work is put into identifying the cause, and finding the best course of treatment versus simply masking the symptoms with pain relievers. Our goal is to assist you to decrease your pain, regain your function, and improve your quality of life while minimizing the need for pain medication or surgery whenever humanly possible. You are directly involved in your treatment by taking an active role in exercise rehabilitation with easy to learn take home exercises provided by your doctor.
To accomplish this, initially each new patient will undergo a thorough case history and consultation.
Case History and Consultation
A complete health history is reviewed where all your health concerns are discussed. This part of the exam is to gain a full appreciation of the patient, how their symptoms have affected them in their life, see if they are an appropriate candidate for chiropractic care AND IS FREE. We will be asking you to describe, in your own words, functionally what your chief concerns are and what your goals are following treatment. If what the patient describes sounds like something that chiropractic care can help with, then we proceed with a physical examination.
A very thorough physical exam helps us determine the cause of your symptoms. The exam is generally non-invasive (not painful) and includes the following:
Palpation of the patient. This is where the doctor will press on areas that have pain or areas that could be causing the symptoms we identified in the history. At Duncan Chiropractic, we believe that in order to get to the true cause of the problem, we need to be as specific as possible to help you. Palpation will help us identify what muscles and other tissues are involved in your condition.
Standardized Orthopedic tests. These tests are used to evaluate bones and joints to find which joints are involved in your condition or symptoms.
Standardized Nerve tests. These tests help isolate the individual nerves coming from the spine that may be involved in your case. This is extremely important in some conditions such as sciatica or carpal tunnel as these nerves originate in the back and neck and can come from different “spinal levels”.
Chiropractic Exam. A thorough motion palpation of the spinal joints is performed to find which ones are either “misaligned”, “subluxated”, or “fixated”. This, along with your range of motion will help us determine your spinal functional capacity.
After the physical exam, x-rays may be taken if medically indicated to depict a clear view of the joints and bones. X-rays help confirm what we find in the physical exam and let us know how to effectively and safely treat your condition. We use a digital x-ray unit which helps get the most detail in an x-ray with the least amount of exposure to radiation.
Report of Findings
This is when we go over all of the findings from the physical exam and x-rays, review the goals we defined in your case history and consultation, and determine a course of care that will best help you, your condition, and meet the goals you defined in the consultation. This occurs on the second appointment, generally within 24-48 hours after the first appointment, because each patient’s treatment plan is as unique and individualized as the patient themselves and takes time to establish and create. Each treatment plan may likely include recommended frequency of chiropractic treatments, an exercise rehabilitation plan specific for your condition, passive therapy to reduce pain, spasm, and swelling, at home and work guidelines and recommendations, and nutritional guidance to reach your goals and get you healthier as quickly as possible!
Treatment begins. Right after we discuss your plan of care, we begin treatment and will be on our way to getting you well!
Plan of Care. Everyone’s treatment plan is individualized, but typically involves 3 phases.
Phase 1-Acute Phase. This is where treatment is focused on getting you out of pain. Typically frequency of treatments is higher in this phase because we want to get you out of pain as quickly as possible!
Phase 2-Strengthening Phase. Once you are out of the acute phase, we will recommend specific exercises to isolate the problem areas in order to strengthen your body so there is less risk of relapse and you benefit more from treatments. Exercises will progress to become more challenging and eventually transition to ones that you can carry out at home to help you with your healing process.
Phase 3-Maintenance Phase. This is one of the most important phases of care. This is when we determine what is going to best help you maintain the benefits of treatment with the least likelihood of relapse so you stay healthy longer. Everyone is different in what they need for maintenance so we will work together to help determine what works best with you.
Re-exams will be performed routinely to make sure you are on the right path to better health, that we are meeting your goals, and to keep your progress on track so you can get the most from your chiropractic care at Duncan Chiropractic!