If you’re planning your first chiropractic visit, there’s usually a good chance you’re in some kind of pain. Non-invasive and low-risk treatments employed by chiropractors can provide patients with a reduction in pain without the use of prescriptions or surgery, so chronic conditions affecting the joints and spine, accidents and injuries can all spur a visit to the chiropractor. What should you expect from the first appointment?
In many ways, your first trip to a chiropractor will have much in common with your first visits to other healthcare providers. Treatment procedures are likely to be a bit different from the treatment you’ve encountered in your primary care provider’s office, but there’s nothing to fear.
Typically, your first visit will include the initial intake consultation, a thorough physical exam, treatment and a plan for future treatment. This is where your care provider will get to know you and your specific pain complaints by collecting medical history and asking about the discomfort you experience.
After the intake consultation, your first chiropractic visit will usually move along to the physical examination. In addition to examining the areas where you feel the most discomfort, your chiropractor will usually conduct tests to determine your range of motion, reflexes and muscle strength. Depending on the nature of your pain, your practitioner may also conduct orthopaedic or neurological testing. There may also be imaging or lab tests, all designed to help your chiropractor reach an accurate diagnosis.
After carefully assessing your condition, your chiropractor will begin to develop a full treatment plan that is tailored to your unique needs. The cause of your pain, your overall health, the condition of your spine and your own hopes and goals for treatment are all taken into account. As part of this conversation, you’ll work with your chiropractor to develop a care plan with which you both feel comfortable.
Adjustment and joint manipulation are the foundation of most appointments, and your first chiropractic visit is likely to be no exception. Depending on your specific needs, the adjustments begin at your first visit and are spread out over the course of days or weeks to address a specific complaint. The type of chiropractic therapy employed by your care provider will depend on your pain level, its location and the diagnosis of your chiropractor.
Not all patients who see a chiropractor do so for specific pain complaints. For some patients, general wellness is the focus of their chiropractic visits, and they prefer to have an open-ended treatment plan featuring regularly scheduled adjustments. Working with your chiropractor to develop a plan together for your treatment means you’re able to take an active role in your treatment.
No two patients are identical, and neither are any two chiropractors. Your first chiropractic visit will be an experience unique to you, but it can be one that changes the course of your health and wellness journey forever.