Chiropractors just click joints and soothe back ache, right?
If you have been to a chiropractor you may know otherwise. An initial consultation with a chiropractor should involve a thorough general health check, with pulse, blood-pressure and neurological exam being typical, and urine tests, respiratory tests and others being carried out when indicated.
These tests are a great way to assess your general health, but they are also important in helping us screen for specific conditions and also to determine whether your reason for presenting is mechanical.
For example, by taking your pulse we are not only getting an idea of how fit you are, but can also pick up signs of heart conditions that might need management such as atrial fibrillation or arrhythmia.
In these circumstances we will usually write a quick note to your GP advising of the findings so that your access to appropriate care is as rapid as possible.
Most often, abnormalities picked up on assessment are trivial and not related to the reason for consultation, in which case treatment can progress as normal, alongside any other care being received by a patient.
There are, however, some circumstances when screening does highlight something that does prevent treatment.
A person presenting with sciatic-type pain but demonstrating decreased pulse strength or absent pulse in that leg may be suffering from a vascular abnormality, in which case chiropractic treatment would be inappropriate.
As uncommon as they are, examples such as this underline the importance of seeking properly qualified healthcare advice when in pain.