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Your chiropractor will begin by asking about you, your history, and appropriate questions specific to your presenting condition(s). To be as clear as possible, necessary information of not only your present complaints, but also past health issues, accidents, surgeries, medications, dietary lifestyle and your previous treatment for the condition may be required. This detailed assessment helps your chiropractor determine the best place to start when detailing your condition.
This portion of the exam involves the chiropractor palpating each segment and through either active or passive participation on the patient's part, the spinal vertebrae are put through all three axes (directions) of normal motion to determine if there is a dysfunction in any or all of the movements. If there is, the joint is "fixated".
You will be tested for balance, strength, eye movement, vision, hearing etc. and such routine things as your arm and leg reflexes. Since the chiropractor works with the nervous system via the spinal column, these baseline assessments should be made.
The spine is one neurological and musculoskeletal kinetic chain. That means it all works together. Stress to your spine, which comes in many different forms, can produce your symptom(s) or prevent your primary area of pain from responding or resolving no matter where it is located.
Typically, where you hurt, a subluxation (misalignment) will be present. Strange as it may seem, conditions such as sciatica (pain down one's leg that usually is caused from a lower back condition) may be related to spinal misalignment in your neck and migraine headaches could be caused by a subluxation in your lower back!
At SPiNEWORKS, our chiropractors assess the "whole picture" not just the part that hurts. When necessary, you will be referred X-ray imaging or MRI, depending on your examination results and prior history. In cases of scoliosis detection, full spine films are required as they involve the standing (weight bearing) position. Since the body operates on two legs, stress to the spinal joints is best evaluated upright. Spinal curvatures, which need to be evaluated thoroughly will appear differently when standing than laying down. The pelvis also presents differently when weight bearing than laying down. This is especially important when evaluating potential Scoliosis patients.
When needed, full spine X-ray films are typically taken from the side and front views while standing. The frontal view is the ONLY way to determine exactly how many vertebrae you have. That's right, some people do not have the standard amount of spinal bones. The typical number are: cervical (neck) 7; thoracic (mid back with ribs) 12, some patients have 11 others 13; lumbar (low back) 5, some patients have 4 others 6. Since our chiropractors always want to be as specific as possible in analysis and treatment, this information is vital in order to avoid adjusting the wrong segment when counting by palpation to the exact vertebral subluxation or level of abnormal movement. Another reason for taking one frontal view is to assist in determining whether the upper neck is balanced over the center of the pelvis, the essential of good posture.
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