Ask The Doctor: Dr. Jesse West
Are there any side effects after getting an adjustment?
These are common concerns many people who have never been adjusted have. From my experience, most people love getting adjusted and look forward to their next appointment. The most common side effect that a small number of people may experience is some slight local discomfort, either at the time of the adjustment or for a short period afterward. I typically relate it to a workout session. If you have not exercised for a long time and work out you may notice that you experience quite a bit more soreness than you would have if you regularly exercise. The other most common side effects, though rare, are headaches or mild dizziness which are only temporary.
What’s the average length of an appointment?
Depending on whether it is your first visit or a follow up visit the length of an appointment can vary. For first time patients, you can expect to be in the office for about an hour. After completing the necessary paperwork your chiropractor will perform a thorough history and examination including taking any necessary X-rays. You will likely also receive some therapy at this time to begin helping the healing process. On your second visit, the chiropractor will perform a report of findings and this appointment may take up to half an hour. The chiropractor will go over your X-rays in front of you and explain exactly what he believes is causing your pain/symptoms and how he is going to fix them and how long he expects it to take. Any follow up visits should take about 15-20 minutes. At each and every one of these appointments you will receive hands-on care from your chiropractor involving adjustments, stretching and/or therapeutic exercise. Depending on your treatment plan you may also receive additional therapies including; ice/heat, ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation, diapulse, intersegmental traction and/or massage.
What would you tell a first-time patient who is anxious about getting their first adjustment?
As a chiropractor, it is a very unique and rewarding opportunity to watch people’s reaction to their first adjustment. While it often takes multiple adjustments to resolve most issues the effects of a single adjustment can be quite profound. People often experience a drastic reduction in pain levels, an increase in range of motion and some headaches can be significantly relieved by a single adjustment.
A first adjustment can be nerve-wracking, especially if you have heard of negative response towards chiropractic adjusting. The first thing I do is explain to the patient how I am going to perform the adjustment, what the set up looks like and how much force I will be using. I assure them that it is a gentle, controlled movement and that the cavitation noise (popping) that they may hear is not anything in their spine actually cracking or breaking, but the release of a gas bubble inside the joint capsule similar to what you hear when you crack your knuckles. Once a patient has been adjusted they typically love it. For those who dislike the popping noise or for any other reason did not like their adjustment, there are alternative, less noisy, methods that we can use to adjust the spine.