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.