Going to the chiropractor for the first time can be a daunting experience. If you’ve been suffering from chronic aches and pains, a chiropractor may be able to help you in ways other medical professionals could not. Knowing what to expect at your first chiropractic visit will better prepare you for the exam and help you understand what your options are.
Upon first arriving, you will be asked to fill out forms that cover background information regarding your symptoms, family history and any injuries you have experienced. The forms will ask where your pain is located, how long it has been occurring, what activities seem to make it worse and what activities, if any, seem to make it feel better. They will ask if you have any preexisting conditions or if you know of any diseases or conditions family members may have. The paperwork you fill out upon first arriving will better help your chiropractor assess your condition during your consultation.
After filling out all of the proper forms, you will have a routine exam with the chiropractor. The exam will include standard procedures that test your blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and reflexes, as well as specific orthopedic and neurological tests to assess your range of motion, muscle tone, muscle strength and neurological integrity.
Further Diagnostic Studies
While not always necessary, your chiropractor may recommend further diagnostic studies based on the results of your exam. Further tests may be helpful in revealing pathologies and identifying structural abnormalities that can be used to more accurately diagnose a condition. These include X-ray exams, MRI scans, and further laboratory tests, such as blood tests.
After your exam and any further diagnostic studies, your chiropractor will make a diagnosis of your condition. Your chiropractor will explain the diagnosis to you, go over an individualized treatment plan and tell you what the anticipated length of treatment is for your condition. Your chiropractor may start treatment during your first visit depending on the diagnosis given to you.
Initial treatments may include:
• Modalities to improve soft tissue healing and pain control, such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and traction
• Adjustments to key joint dysfunctions
• Exercises to improve muscles balance, strength, and coordination
• Patient education to improve posture and motor control
• Other treatments such as massage, heat/cold application, and education on nutrition.
Additionally, your chiropractor will address specific goals with you. These will include long- and short-term goals to alleviate pain and symptoms and restore health to the affected part.