Dr. Alyssa Shepherd DC, Guelph Chiropractor
Fear – we all have at least one, more often, many – spiders, snakes, heights, chiropractors… Wait – WHAT?! Yes, you read that right, for many people, chiropractic and chiropractic adjustments are a scary thing to think about. I’ve found this to be particularly true if you fall into the category of having had a negative experience with a chiropractor or adjustment, you’ve never seen a chiropractor and don’t know how this system of care helps your body to heal, or no one has ever taken the time to share with you how chiropractors can help get you, or your baby or child, back to being healthy and truly thriving.
The interesting thing about fear is that sometimes it can be very useful – for example, when you’re in a plane, 50 000 feet in the air and don’t have a parachute – fear is a major factor keeping you inside that plane instead of careening towards the asphalt below. But other times fear holds us back, keeping us stuck in ruts and preventing us from getting to where we want to be. In this instance, most often fear is simply False Evidence Appearing Real – as bestselling author Jen Oliver writes in her book, The Love FitMama Way. One thing I’ve realized we do is let F.E.A.R. actually stop us from moving forward with something, new or different that we want in our lives.
One way to move out of that zone of fear is to look at the REAL evidence. So let’s dispel some of this fear by walking you through scenarios that often act as barriers to people accessing chiropractic care, and why visits with Dr. Alyssa are different.
Scenario #1 – You’ve never been to a chiropractor. You have NO idea what to expect.
Okay, let’s walk through a typical first visit. Whether you are 2 months, 2 years or 82 years, the first visit with Dr. Alyssa always involves a thorough history (where we talk about what is going on and I get to know you, your health goals and health challenges), physical exam (the hands-on portion where assessing alignment of your joints, tonicity of soft tissues such as muscles and your mobility), report of findings (where we talk about what I’ve found and what I suggest moving forward), and treatment (the part where we get you feeling better!).
Each of these different components is tailored to fit each client – for a baby, the physical exam portion would entail assessment of tone, primitive reflexes, muscle tension and joint alignment – most often of the spine, but also the cranium, jaw, and extremities when indicated. For an adult, the physical portion can include assessments of posture, range of motion, neurologic adaptability, tension in soft tissues and alignment of joints.
Because the first visit is so thorough, and you also receive a treatment, your first visit will often take a full hour to complete.
After the first visit, treatment visits book for either 15 or 30 minutes – something both you and Dr. Alyssa discuss in the first visit. Treatments are individualized, taking into account your needs, goals and desires. Typically frequency is 1-2 times per week for the first 1-2 weeks, with reducing frequency as progress is made, working towards a goal of visits once monthly for supportive care tune-ups.
Scenario #2– You know or suspect that you or your baby / child has an issue with their neck and are afraid of ‘that neck twisting motion’.
By and large, this is the biggest barrier to people accessing chiropractic, which always makes me sad to hear because there are many ways to help improve issues in the neck, oneof which is a standard rotary adjustment (or in non-chiropractic language, a twisting neck adjustment). No one method is superior to any other method. They ALL work. You don’t need to hear a pop or crack, and it does not have to hurt. The trick is finding the right method for you, not for your neighbour or your sister. Dr. Alyssa is trained in numerous styles of adjusting including the manual adjustment previously mentioned (Diversified), mechanized adjusting (Activator or the “clicky device”), table-assisted methods (Thompson technique), and low-force non-thrust techniques (mobilizations, Matrix Repatterning, Neuro Emotional Technique). She also has training and expertise with adjusting pregnant women (Webster technique), babies and children. At each and every visit Dr. Alyssa is re-assessing your response to care and whether a different technique should be used to get you better results.
Scenario #3– You’ve had a bad experience with a chiropractic adjustment.
This could be that you were coerced into an adjustment that you were afraid of or didn’t want, or that an adjustment hurt. The first instance – coercion – should never be an issue. With proper education and dialogue, a method of adjusting that is palatable to both doctor and patient can be found.
Adjustments do sometimes hurt. But this should be the rarity and not the rule, and it should feel good after. For this reason, Dr. Alyssa starts with lower levels of force and only adds more if it is needed. The adjustment is modulated for each individual.
An adjustment for a baby entails the level of force you would press on your eyeball with. An adjustment for a pregnant woman entails much less force than that of a middle-aged man.
Getting out of fear
Fear often causes us to stagnate, holding us back and stuck in our own personal mud. A great way to dispel fear is to ask questions and get educated, which gets you empowered. Dr. Alyssa is happy to address any unanswered questions or concerns, as well as share about her unique approach and treatment style in a free meet & greet appointment.