What to Expect on Your First Visit
Your chiropractor or intern may be treating your muscle or joint pain, but he or she needs to understand how your body functions as a whole. In particular he or she will focus on your spine, joints, muscles, and nervous system. Your intern needs a complete picture of your health history and overall current health in order to provide the best possible treatment for you.
Set aside at least 60 minutes for your first visit to the chiropractic clinic. Future visits typically last 30 minutes or less, and this may vary from time to time and is affected by the type of treatment you require. Here’s what you might expect.
The First Visit
Your intern may ask about the following:
- personal and family medical history
- major illnesses
- surgeries or operations
- prescription or over the counter medications
- a description of your present condition
- steps you have taken to manage your condition
- diet and exercise routine
- herbal remedies and other supplements
- your sleeping habits, daily activities, work routine, stress level, and home life
TIP: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
Your intern may ask you to change into a gown to:
- check your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing
- test your reflexes, strength, and sensations
- assess your posture
- analyze your overall movement – through observing how you walk, turn, bend or lift things
- evaluation of how well your spine moves, identifying restrictions and areas of improper motion
- x-ray your spine
TIP: Bring a copy of any x-rays or radiology reports you have
These assessments give your intern a better picture of your health. He or she will make a diagnosis, prescribe a course of treatment, and once the matter of informed consent has been discussed, treatment begins. Treatment may commence during the first or in the next follow-up visit. If your intern diagnoses a condition more appropriately treated by another health care professional, he or she will make a referral. Your treatment from the intern, regardless of the stage of care, will often include exercise, diet, and other healthy living suggestions.
What is an adjustment and how do I benefit from this procedure?
An adjustment (also known as manipulation) is a precise procedure, usually applied by hand, to the joints of the body. Your intern has received extensive training to perform this procedure. Adjustments work to improve mobility, restore range of motion, and increase movement of the adjoining muscles to relieve pressure and tension. Patients typically notice a reduction of pain, soreness and stiffness, and improved mobility.
Since your neck is an important part of the spine, a neck adjustment may be prescribed. Your chiropractor is trained to determine if this procedure is right for you. He or she may decide to use massage, ultrasound, or other therapies to treat your condition.
Stages of Care
- Relief care is provided for relief of immediate pain, restricted mobility, and discomfort. Depending on the diagnosis, your age, physical condition, how long you have had the current complaint, and previous injuries, a few or several visits over a relatively short period of time, may be necessary.
- Corrective care treats conditions that are more severe, recurring or have existed with or without pain for some time. These may require a longer, more complex period of care. Once the severity of your condition has decreased through relief care, corrective care helps to restore normal function to your spine, muscles, supporting tissues, and the nerves affected by them.
- Supportive care helps you maintain and preserve the benefits you’ve achieved from relief and corrective care. Chiropractors are also trained to detect conditions in their early stages, often before you feel pain or reduced mobility. Continuing to work with your intern and having periodic spinal check-ups and treatments, if needed, will keep your spine as healthy as possible. Your intern will work with you to find a maintenance schedule that suits your condition, health care goals, and lifestyle.
How often do I need to see a chiropractor?
Your intern will discuss a schedule of care, which will depend on your specific circumstances. For some people chiropractic treatment is like a regular tune-up, to help deal with the regular wear and tear of life. For others, it’s simply an effective treatment when pain or discomfort strikes.
Take the time to discuss with your intern the treatment plan that’s best for you.