What Can I Expect On My First Visit?
Welcome to our office. Upon arrival of your first visit, you will be greeted by our friendly staff and given some initial paperwork to fill out about yourself, your current complaint, and your past medical history.
Next you will then be seen by Dr. Colaprete. He will discuss with you the history of your complaint to understand your symptoms and how they affecting your life. The doctor will perform the necessary orthopedic, neurologic and functional examinations to better specify the cause of your condition.
Therapies that may be used include: deep tissue/trigger point therapy, myofascial release, Graston Technique, Active Release Technique (ART), McKenzie exercises, physio-therapies, joint manipulation, specific stretching and stabilization exercises.
Dr. Colaprete will discuss your health goals with you and start a plan for your condition on how to get the quickest and longest lasting results.
Throughout treatment you will be given information about your condition and specific instructions to perform at home such as proper bio mechanics, ice/heat therapy, exercises, posture correction, ergonomic changes, etc. The more you understand your problem, the more empowered you are to better take care of yourself.
What is an adjustment?
An adjustment (joint manipulation) is a therapy in which your doctor will apply his/her hands to the area of your body to be treated in such a way as to mobilize your joints. Dr. Colaprete is skilled at both very soft techniques and deeper work and will work with your preference. Commonly, a short impulse is applied to the joint. This may cause an audible “click” or “pop”, similar to when someone “cracks” their knuckles and you may sense movement in the joint.
The goal of the adjustment includes the following:
- Increase the joint mobility / range of motion
- Relieve pain
- Reduce muscle spasm
- Restore optimal joint function
- A gentle, specific “thrust” delivered by hand or instrument. The purpose of the adjustment is to correct your spinal restrictions and fixations to allow your injury to heal.
Are there any risks?
In general, chiropractic treatments carry an extremely low risk of complication. A small percentage of patients will experience short-term (24 hours) local soreness following the initial adjustment. This may represent short term muscle tension or low-grade inflammation from the treatment. The risk of a serious complication is extremely rare. It is important that you discuss any specific concerns with your treating doctor prior to receiving treatment. Statistics show that chiropractic care is one of the safest types of health care in the world.
What is that popping sound?
Your spinal joints contain “grease” known as synovial fluid. This grease contains dissolved gases. When your spine is adjusted, the spinal joints are gapped or opened, creating a vacuum within the joint. This vacuum pulls the gases out of the grease, turning the grease to foam. This release of gas is what creates the audible “pop”. If there is no “popping” sound, it does not mean the adjustment was not successful, it simply means that there was no sound from the escaping gas.
That sound is not your spine “cracking” or “popping” like most people think. That sound is created by gas (in this case, nitrogen) rushing in to fill the partial vacuum created when the joints are slightly separated. Another example of this phenomenon would be the “pop” sound you hear when the cork is taken out of a champagne bottle. Not all chiropractic adjusting techniques produce this noise. In fact, some adjusting techniques use little force and thus produce no noise at all.
Is it bad to “crack” your back or neck a lot?
This question is frequently asked because people associate the “cracking” or “popping” of one’s back or neck with a chiropractic adjustment. The two are not the same thing. If a person has a desire to “crack” his/her neck or back it is often because one area of their spine is fixated or jammed causing another area to move too much and “pop”, sometimes by itself. It’s the fixated or jammed area that needs to be properly adjusted by a chiropractor so that the other parts of the spine will not be hyper mobile and noisy. When you “crack” your back you may be relieving the tension for a little while. Do you notice how it keeps coming back? That is because you are not giving yourself a specific chiropractic adjustment. The cause of the spinal tension, the fixated or jammed vertebrae, has not been corrected. Any person who makes a habit out of “cracking” or “popping” their back or neck needs to go to a Doctor of Chiropractic to have their spine checked. Even a chiropractor cannot adjust him/herself.
How long until my pain is gone?
Pain is generally the last thing to show up and first thing to go away concerning spinal conditions. Some patients notice significant improvement during their first few treatments, for others it takes longer. This depends on several factors such as age, the length of time you’ve had the condition, the amount of secondary or compensatory injury, postural and degenerative changes in your spine, your overall health, how committed you are at following the doctor’s recommendations and your activities between treatments. You are in charge of your health and recovery and play a vital role through your activities and decisions.
It is important for you to realize that after the pain is gone, the condition causing that pain usually persists. Pain is not the problem; pain is a symptom of the underlying condition.
To put it another way, remember the last time you scraped your elbow or knee? It hurt for about a day, a scab formed over your abrasion and the discomfort ceased. You were pain free, but was your injury healed? No. For that tissue to fully heal and repair the damage from the injury it takes from 2 to 4 weeks. The same happens inside, even when the pain goes away from your condition, it means that you are just beginning to heal those damaged and injured tissues. For those patients who judge their recovery by pain alone, it is very common to resume normal activity too early and “rip the scab off” and, unfortunately, have to start the healing process all over again.
Should I use Ice or Heat?
Ice should be used on a new injury or re-injury. The body’s natural response to injury is muscle spasm and swelling. This occurs to protect the injured area and prevent further injury. Ice helps to reduce swelling and prevents further swelling, which interferes with proper healing and repair of damaged tissues. Ice should be used for no more than 15-20 minute at a time per hour, but can be used every hour. Never place ice directly on the skin. Instead, place a moist paper towel between the ice and your skin.
Heat is best for very minor aches and pains. Heat brings blood to an area, which brings more nutrients, which helps tissues heal. Too much heat could cause swelling and start you off at square one again. But if in doubt of which to use, always use ice. Consult your doctor before using heat.
Should I tell my medical doctor that I am receiving Chiropractic treatment?
We encourage you to inform your Medical Doctor that you are receiving Chiropractic treatment. In fact, our practice enjoys working together with patient-centered medical providers. We will gladly forward a copy of our findings to your primary care physician as a courtesy to you and your caregivers. Many of our patients request that we contact their primary care provider in order to introduce ourselves, or to provide them with information about our practice. The key to comprehensive care is communication.
Do I have to keep going forever?
No. The length of time you benefit from Chiropractic care is always up to you. It is our duty at this office to recommend the treatment that is needed for your condition – no more, no less. We can just treat your symptoms, but as a responsible healthcare provider we must always recommend the best care possible. Once the initial inflammation and muscle spasm have been reduced and we alleviate your discomfort, treatment is focused on supporting the recovering tissue to allow for proper healing and restore pre-injury function. Once the tissues are healed, we then focus on strengthening the area to maintain the results you worked so hard for. At that point your treatment plan is complete, yet many patients often return periodically to continue maintaining their health and prevent any future return of symptoms, just like visiting your dentist.
Once you see a chiropractor, do you have to go for the rest of your life?
The extent to which you choose to benefit from your chiropractic care is ultimately up to you. Each of us is solely responsible for the quality of our health and well-being. However, we do recommend to our patients to consider regular chiropractic care. This is where the long-term, lasting benefits of care are enjoyed. Regular exercise and healthy eating habits are a lifestyle decision and so is lifetime, wellness chiropractic care.
Should I continue chiropractic care if I don’t have any symptoms and I feel better?
Yes. Just because symptoms disappear, does not mean your injury is healed. Many of the patients in our office have spinal degeneration (decay) which has taken years to develop. Slips, falls, accidents and countless other stresses over the course of your lifetime adversely affect the health of your spine. The longer you wait to have your spine checked by a chiropractor, the longer it will take to heal your injury and release spinal restrictions. It has been our experience that those who stop care when they are “feeling fine” return with the same problems and injuries which brought them to our office in the first place – only it is then usually worse. On the other hand, patients who commit to regular chiropractic treatment find their health problems rarely return and they enjoy a higher quality of life and health.
After a thorough consultation with the doctor, you will have a complete chiropractic examination. This will include testing your reflexes, your ability to turn and bend as well as other standard orthopedic, neurological, postural, and physical examinations. The doctor will gain valuable information regarding your condition so that a better understanding of how chiropractic care can help you. If necessary, the doctor may take X-rays or refer you for additional testing procedures.
Dr. Colaprete tries to minimize the use of x-ray and MRI’s. X-ray is sometimes required to get a full evaluation of a patient.
Most of our patients begin to see results from the very first treatment. Our special gentle yet effective alignment of the body is interactive with the patient, gentle enough for kids (they love us!), yet able to restore function and movement for the athlete and senior.
Will my insurance cover the visit?
We accept Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Cigna, and Aetna.