Doctors of chiropractic are educated and trained in the detection and care of problems of the spinal column and in maintaining the delicate balance of the neck and spine. Your first visit to the chiropractor will include a complete chiropractic examination. X-rays may be ordered to screen for possible underlying pathologies and to reveal extreme distortions in your spine.
Chiropractic doctors locate areas of the spine that aren’t moving properly. They notice spinal curves. They look at your posture and your ability to turn and bend. The chiropractor is also trained to recognize the signs of rare problems that may require immediate medical attention.
If you’re a good chiropractic candidate, you’re care will consist of a schedule of chiropractic adjustments. These help normalize spinal function, help restore essential spinal curves, improve circulation and reduce nerve irritation.
Chiropractors will seek to differentiate local problems from spinal referred pain. Since the median nerve originates in the neck, the doctor of chiropractic will examine the neck area.
In addition, some musculoskeletal problems affect the nerves and blood vessels in the arm and may mimic carpal tunnel. The doctor of chiropractic may perform some orthopedic tests in an effort to detect interference with blood flow through the arm or changes in sensation if distant problems cannot be found. He or she will examine the local wrist area for deformities, swelling, fixation or movement dysfunction of the carpal bones in the wrist.
X-ray images of the wrist and possibly some laboratory tests may be ordered to examine for one of several different varieties of arthritis. You will be asked to flex the wrist and extend the fingers. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome wrist flexing will cause numbness, tingling, and pain in the fingers.
If a movement dysfunction is detected in the wrist, your chiropractor may adjust the carpal bones to relieve pressure on the median nerve. If the problem is found to originate in the neck (cervical), shoulder area or a combination of both, the doctor of chiropractic may adjust the neck and shoulder areas as well.
If your chiropractor feels that chiropractic care is appropriate in your case, you may be given your first adjustment at that time. This manual procedure will help reduce the misalignments and ease the pressure on the spinal nerve roots. In addition, your chiropractor may advise you on therapeutic exercises, job safety, work-related posture, dietary information and a complete program of chiropractic care.
If your condition should require examination by another health care specialist however, your chiropractor will refer you.