How to Best Prepare for a Chiropractic Appointment

How to Best Prepare for a Chiropractic Appointment

This article will share some useful information on how to best prepare for a chiropractic appointment.

The article will cover the following sections:

  • Clothing and attire – What clothes to wear to a chiropractic appointment
  • Beneficial preparatory activities – Things to do before going to the chiropractor
  • Food and drink​ – What to eat and drink before a chiropractic appointment
  • Sleep and rest – Giving the body and mind time to recharge before a chiropractic appointment
  • Emotions and stress – Emotional self-care before visiting the chiropractor
  • Planning and timing – Being prepared for your chiropractic appointment
  • Articulating your pain – Be ready to articulate your pain and note your own observations

 

You can use this information to prepare well for your chiropractic appointment so that you can have a great experience and take care of your mind and body in a healthy and powerful way.

If you are in pain or discomfort, reaching out to a chiropractor can be a very effective form of self-care and we are eager and ready to assist you with this care.

So for your convenience we have included some information below on how to make an appointment.

How to make a chiropractic appointment

Before we get started with sharing some useful information on what you can do before a chiropractic adjustment we would like to make it clear that the team at De Ruggesteun are here to help you at any time.

We have helped many people to overcome pain, discomfort, and other problems with their bodies, and we are ready to do the same for you.

Click this link, if you’d like to book an appointment online or if you’d like to call our friendly and helpful front of house staff to schedule an appointment.

Now let’s have a look at what you can do to prepare for a great chiropractic experience and to achieve the best therapeutic outcomes.

 

Clothing and attire – What clothes to wear to a chiropractic appointment

When visiting the chiropractor one should wear comfortable clothing that allows for the full-range of motion of all the different parts of the body.

Whether it is your first appointment or your tenth, it is always important that you dress correctly for a visit to the chiropractor. This will ensure that you have a comfortable experience and your chiropractor can achieve the best therapeutic results.

This is because the chiropractor will need to move your body in order to conduct adjustments and manipulations of the neck, back, hips, and other body parts.

We recommend the following clothes when visiting the chiropractor:

Upper-body: T-shirt and something comfortable to keep warm before and after the appointment if necessary

Lower-body: Loose pants such as sweatpants/tracksuit pants or shorts if the weather is suitable.

Shoes: Comfortable shoes

The following clothing and attire are not recommended:

  • High heels
  • Dresses
  • Tight-fitting jeans or other pants that restrict full-range of motion
  • Bras with an underwire (these can cause complications with the x-ray/scanning machines)
  • Ties and suspenders

 

Beneficial preparatory activities – Things to do before going to the chiropractor

Let’s look at some things you can do in the days and hours before your chiropractic appointment to get your body and mind in a good place to receive the assistance that it needs.

Take a warm shower or bath:

A warm shower improves blood circulation which will help the muscles in your body to relax. Showering can also help reduce pain and lift your mood if you are feeling unwell.

These benefits will help to comfort you and calm the mind. Being in a relaxed state make it easier for your chiropractor to do the manipulations and adjustments that will help you feel better.

Therefore, taking a hot shower or bath before a chiropractic adjustment can be very beneficial.

 

Do some stretching exercises:

Stretching helps to reduce stiffness in the body, which will enable the body to move more freely and reduce pain.

Stretching will also send signals to the different body parts via the nervous system which will keep them stimulated and healthy.

These are strong reasons to do stretching exercises before visiting a chiropractor.

While you are stretching your body, remember to be gentle and to relax your mind. Stretching should not be harsh and forceful. Any sharp or deep pain that you experience in your body while stretching telling you that you are forcing the stretch too far and going past your natural limit.

Here are some basic stretches that you can do before a chiropractic appointment (if you are unfamiliar with any of these stretches, unsure on how to perform them correctly, or wish to learn more stretches, then we recommend doing some further research or consulting with our chiropractic team):

 

  • Neck – side to side stretch

 

  • Shoulders – Overhead arm bends 

 

  • Latissimus dorsi​ muscle, armpits, and arms – Side bends

 

  • Upper, middle, and lower back – Gentle forward fold

Notes for this stretch:

  • Keep the back straight
  • The buttocks can move backwards if need be
  • Bend forward as much as needed without being forceful (pain should be avoided)
  • Roll back upwards into an upright position, stretching the lower, middle, and upper back

 

  • Hips – Hip rotations (the hula hoop stretch)

Notes for this stretch:

Rotate your hips in big circles, in both directions, this is a similar movement to that used to keep a hula hoop spinning.

 

  • Groin and legs – Squats 

Notes for this stretch:

One can open the legs and knees more to target the groin area.

 

 

Maintaining a good posture:

A good posture is the best way to prevent bodily aches and pains. If this is not corrected, it is highly likely that a person will suffer from recurring pain and injuries.

Posture applies to the way one holds the body while sitting, walking, and exercising.

A good posture looks like this:

As one can see, the woman on the left has her chest out, shoulders back, stomach in, and the bodily is generally in a balanced alignment.

It is sometimes useful to imagine that there are coins balancing on the top of the head and if one maintains good posture, the coins will remain there.

The couple below are standing nice and upright, and one can see that they are experiencing the strength of their own bodies:

When bending down, it is often better to bend the knees and allow the legs to do the work, rather than the back.

When sitting (for example, while working or relaxing) it is also important to be mindful of one’s posture. The body will communicate with you if your posture is not correct; your back, neck, or shoulders might become sore in a particular area and this is a message to you to correct the position in which you are sitting.

Poor posture can also make one feel lethargic or lazy because your lungs are unable to open fully and the nervous system is not activated in a healthy manner.

Having healthy core muscles will make it much easier to maintain a good posture. This is attained through good posture habits and can also be developed through certain physical exercises.

 

Light exercise for warming up and loosening the body

Light exercises such as walking or yoga can assist with balancing the body and promoting blood circulation.

By activating the cardiovascular system, the entire body will receive increased blood flow and oxygenation. This movement will also help to release bodily tension which can build up over time, especially when sitting or lying down for prolonged periods of time.

 

Therefore we recommend some light and uplifting exercise before visiting the chiropractor.

 

Breathing exercises to regulate the nervous system

Being mindful of one’s breath from time to time can be very beneficial. If one is breathing shallowly, it can be a sign of stress, illness, or poor posture.

It can be very beneficial to make some time to let go of any work or other life commitments, and take some deep and relaxed breaths, in and out through the nose.

Breathing through the nose is the best because there are mucous membranes in the nose which fulfil to job of cooling and moistening the air.

Since we are always breathing, keeping this good habit will reduce carbon dioxide levels in the body and promote oxygen absorption in the body. This will benefit heart and lung health as well as general wellness and vitality in the body.

Practicing your deep breathing will also enable you to breath well during your chiropractic appointment which can assist the process tremendously.

 

Food and drink​ – What to eat and drink before a chiropractic appointment

Eating the right foods at the right time, and making sure to stay well hydrated will benefit your holistic health before, during, and after an appointment with a chiropractor.

 

Hydration and drinking water

We recommend that you bring a water bottle with a generous helping of water to your appointment, so that you can stay hydrated before, during, and after your chiropractic appointment.

There will be water available from our premises however; you should also be drinking water before you arrive and after you depart our space.

Good hydration levels support the spinal cord and vertebrae as well as the health of nerve cells throughout the entire body.

Being well hydrated is also one of the easiest and most impactful ways to maintain good brain health which will assist your mood and help you to relax.

The general rule for people who are in a healthy routine of water drinking will simply drink water when they are thirsty. This is straight forward but does require the individual to be mindful of the sensations in their body so that they can receive the message when the body needs more water.

The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is: About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men. About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women. – Mayo Clinic

However, it is important to remember that this is a general guideline for the amount of water to consume. Each individual has unique needs, and it is important to maintain a healthy balance of electrolyte levels in the body. If you do not know about this, we recommend doing research into electrolytes.

Keeping a water bottle with good quality water nearby at all times makes it easy to satiate one’s thirst when it arises. This will help to develop and maintain good hydration habits.

So remember to bring your water bottle along to your chiropractic appointment.

 

Food, diet, and nutrition – “What to eat before a chiropractic appointment?”

Here is a general guideline for what and when to eat before a chiropractic appointment. Feel free to ask our chiropractic team any further questions you may have, or consult a nutrition coach.

4 hours prior to appointment:

We suggest having a decent sized meal approximately 4 hours before your appointment is due to start.

Here is an example of a meal which includes rice, chickpeas, avocado, lemon, and some lightly spiced curry:

We recommend a meal with a decent helping of protein which will facilitate muscle recovery after your treatment.

Furthermore, you would do well to incorporate anti-inflammatory foods and spices, such as turmeric and ginger which will support the body’s recovery.

Having some complex carbohydrates will give you the sustained energy to get to your appointment and keep you satiated until you can have another decent meal.

1-2 hours prior:

A light snack will help to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. This will make sure that your energy levels do not plummet.

You could look at having some nuts, seeds, a smoothie with some protein and superfood powders, or anything else that is easily digestible and light.

30 minutes before:

You can have a small snack such as dates, a banana, or some fruit 30 minutes before your appointment.

 

Sleep and rest – Giving the body and mind time to recharge before a chiropractic appointment

 

Good sleeping habits

Having a good night’s sleep the night before a chiropractic appointment is important; but even better is if one has a very healthy sleep habit in place all the time.

How much sleep is needed before seeing the chiropractor?

Sleep experts agree that 8 hours of good quality sleep is about the ideal amount of sleep a human should have in order for their body and mind to recover and complete the necessary functions that occur during this rest period.

Furthermore, research has shown that consistent sleep deficiency can have severe and long lasting health implications. One really shouldn’t be getting anything less than 6 hours of sleep per night, and once this value reaches 5 hours or below, individuals will begin to suffer from neurological and other side-effects over time.

There are a few things that one can do in order to improve the chances of having a good night’s sleep:

  • Have a good quality mattress or sleeping surface
  • Lie in a comfortable position that supports the body and spine back, front, side
  • Turn off electronics 1-2 hours before bed, or at least, try keep it to an absolute minimum
  • Reduce ambient light and flashing lights in the room (pineal gland is very sensitive)
  • Reduce disturbing noises
  • Get the right temperature
  • Don’t eat a large meal too soon before you sleep

 

Resting up

It’s important not to engage in strenuous activities before visiting the chiropractor (you need to prioritise resting up).

This includes all activities that could be considered physically, mentally, or emotionally demanding.

If one engages in physical exertion before a chiropractic appointment one then risks draining the vital energy of the body at a time when energy reserves are required.

It is recommended to avoid intensive activities such as weight-lifting, long distance jogging, or intense sport on the day of a treatment, and perhaps, if one feels it necessary, on the days before and after as well.

Light exercise, such as walking, yoga, and gardening, are fine before and after a chiropractic adjustment, so long as one is mindful and careful.

In order to receive the maximum benefits of a chiropractic treatment one needs to feel well rested and stable during the appointment and also have some energy afterwards to get home and recover.

It is possible that people can experience some temporary side effects after a chiropractic adjustment as fatigue and light muscle tenderness (and in some instances a mild headache). This is more as a result of unblocked nerve channels and the body being realigned rather than any harm that is experienced by the patient.

Being well-rested beforehand will reduce the chances of experiencing the side-effects of a chiropractic adjustment, and if they do occur, a well-rested individual will be better capacitated to deal with these symptoms swiftly and effectively.

It is also important to note, that when one is resting up after a treatment, that one tries to avoid slouching, bad posture, or intense activities until the body has had an opportunity to stabilise itself again and settle into the adjustment.

It is no good to go back home, sit on the couch, and watch television for several hours in an awkward position. This can undo the benefits of an adjustment if one is not careful.

There is nothing wrong with sitting down, just make sure to maintain a decent posture, and use some sort of ergonomic back support.

It is also advisable to keep mobile periodically, doing some stretching and walking for example, to keep the body limber, promote blood circulation, and to avoid excessive muscle stiffness.

Spending some time in the sun can also help post-treatment. Studies have shown that as little as 15 minutes of direct sunlight can help with the body’s vitamin D levels and has other benefits.

 

Emotions and stress – Emotional self-care before visiting the chiropractor

While a chiropractic treatment can offer significant relief to the entire system and lift one’s mood considerably, it is still a good idea to try and engage in self-care leading up to the appointment.

If one is able to minimise stress levels, one will find that the body and mind are less tense, which can make the manipulations more affective.

This is not to say, that if you are stressed that you should avoid seeing the chiropractor. In fact, sometimes the chiropractor will be one of the only ways for you to relieve a headache or neck pain that has been causing you tremendous stress and even emotional discomfort.

Nevertheless, it is recommended that you try your best to get into a relaxed state a couple of hours before your adjustment so that your body can be supple and more accepting of the manipulations that the chiropractor will do on your body.

Try to maintain a positive inner voice, reminding yourself that you are strong, and compliment yourself for prioritising your health by seeing a chiropractic specialist who can help support your health and well-being.

If there are any particular feelings or emotions or any other sensations that you are experiencing or have experienced for a period of time, it is advised that you share this with your chiropractor.

It can be valuable information that can assist with diagnosis and treatment. Anything that you discuss with your chiropractor will be bound by a confidentiality clause in the intake documents, so you can feel free to open up and speak freely.

 

Planning and timing – Being prepared for your chiropractic appointment

It is best to arrive at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time of your chiropractic appointment.

If it is your first appointment, you may want to arrive about 30 minutes before your treatment so that you can complete the intake process in good time and settle comfortably into the space.

If you are delayed and you anticipate that you will be late for your appointment, rather call the receptionist at the chiropractor and let them know, this will hopefully afford them some time to adjust the appointment time or make another plan.

Make sure that you have secured everything that you will need for your appointment ahead of time. Try not to leave it until the last minute as this will cause unnecessary stress and increase the likelihood of you forgetting something.

It is best to confirm with the front-of-house staff (reception) beforehand in terms of what exactly is needed for your appointment with the chiropractor, but the following items will give you some idea:

  • Clothes (with an extra layer in case it gets cold)
  • Relevant medical records and history
  • Form of payment
  • Insurance documents and proof of identification (ID)

 

Do your research and be well-informed – Learning what you can expect at a visit to the chiropractor

It can be empowering to understand the process that you will be taken through when you visit a chiropractor practice before you get there.

It is not essential, but it can be fruitful to do some reading up beforehand if you have the time and wish to do it.

Please feel free to reach out to us directly via or website, or call us directly, if you have any questions or queries. We are always available and willing to assist.

If you’re interested in learning more you can navigate to the following knowledge sources:

What is chiropractic?

De Ruggesteun Chiropractic Blog

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and De Ruggesteun Knowledge Section

You will find plenty of information and resources that can help you to be well-informed.

Or if you’d like some videos to understand the basics of chiropractic care, then you can watch below:

The process at a chiropractic appointment

You may also derive some peace of mind by knowing what sort of process to expect when you visit a chiropractor.

A typical chiropractor process can be summed up in 5 steps, and this is what you can expect at your first chiropractor visit:

 

  1. Intake and reception

This will involve the admin related tasks and paper-work as well as your initial meeting with your appointed chiropractor

 

  1. Physical exam (scanning & assessment)

This phase in the process enables the chiropractor to ascertain the unique needs of the client, so that treatments and adjustments can be tailored for their specific needs.

Chiropractors are comprehensively trained to diagnose various physical injuries and other ailments. This is achieved through various examination methods and through observation.

 

De Ruggesteun is also equipped with a compliment of scanning methods and technologies (such as the iDXA Bodyscan) to gain valuable insight into the human body and the health of a patient’s joints and spine.

  1. Chiropractic adjustments and manipulations

Chiropractors spend many years training in order to reach the point where they can consistently perform techniques and maneuvers that can attend to areas of the body that are displaced, out of alignment, or have other structural problems.

Through safe and deliberate manual manipulations chiropractors can play a role in solving many problems related to the human body.

 

  1. Debrief and discussion on progress

This is an opportunity for the client to give feedback on how they are feeling and for the chiropractor to inform the client on what they believe is the best way to proceed in the future.

 

  1. Follow-up appointments and how often to go to chiropractor

Sometimes it requires consistent visits to the chiropractor in order to fully resolve a problem.

The nature of neck, back, shoulder, hip, and other problems is that they often recur until the root cause of the problem is resolved (and in many cases this can take some time).

Therefore, it is often necessary to have follow-up appointments until the client is happy that their problems have been resolved and they are no longer suffering or in discomfort.

You may be wondering how many visits you will need to the chiropractor before you feel better.

Well, your personal chiropractor can advise you on how often to go to chiropractor for maintenance, but you can also feel through your own body and intuition when and how often you need to go to the chiropractor.

 

Articulating your pain – Be ready to articulate your pain and note your own observations

It would be wise to take some time ahead of your appointment to quietly observe your body and the feelings and sensations that flow through it.

Feeling and knowing where the problems are is the first and most important step in resolving the issues you are experiencing.

A good practice would be to take note and write down the following as you do this:

  • Areas of your body which are painful or numb
  • Areas of your body that feel weak or lack proper functioning
  • Areas of your body which feel strong and have proper functioning
  • Anything that you are uncertain about

Perhaps start by mindfully feeling the different parts of your body right from your feet, all the way up to the top of your head.

We recommend you do this type of body scan even if you have a more specific complaint that you want help with. This is because other related symptoms or problems may be masked by the bigger problem, but may nevertheless be related and important for the chiropractor to be aware of.

While a chiropractor can observe your posture closely and make inferences and deductions, you are still best placed to conduct some introspection and feel what is going on inside your body and feel where pain is residing.

Having this all written down will ensure that you don’t forget anything and hence the chiropractor will have the maximum amount of information at his disposal to formulate your treatment.

As previously mentioned, don’t feel shy or ashamed to mention anything. Our chiropractors are all fully certified professionals and there is a confidentiality clause in the intake forms which ensures that your personal information is respected and kept completely confidential.

 

A reminder on how to make a chiropractic appointment

Click this link, if you’d like to book an appointment online or if you’d like to call our friendly and helpful front of house staff to schedule an appointment.