Many people have some general knowledge about chiropractors, but not many know what to expect during their first appointment. While the process is not complicated, a lack of familiarity can create unnecessary stress and anxiety on patients before they even arrive in the office.
Here we have compiled some information to let you know what to expect for your first visit and hopefully ease any anxiety associated with your first visit.
While chiropractic offices pride themselves on being available to take care of your needs, it’s always a good idea to schedule an appointment in advance whenever possible. While emergencies do happen, scheduling visits in advance will allow for the more efficient service that you desire as well as the meticulous care that you expect.
When you call to schedule your first appointment, it's generally a good idea to ask some initial questions or even interview your potential chiropractor. Just remember, while it is a good idea to ask any questions that you have, here are some that you should be sure to ask as the answers can vary greatly.
Is the chiropractor licensed?
What is their education and experience background?
What is your chiropractor’s philosophy of care?
It may also be a good idea to call a few different offices to find the best fit for you. Your back pain can be a complicated process, and you want to know that you have a chiropractor who matches your specific needs.
Before a chiropractor ever does an actual physical exam, you will fill out a medical questionnaire. You should be prepared to answer questions about your family history as well as your own background. If you have an extensive medical history, you should also consider bringing in supporting documentation so that your chiropractor can review them and better understand all of your needs.
You should also be prepared to answer questions about the specific nature of your appointment that day. These questions can include:
How did the pain begin?
When did the pain start?
Describe the pain (sharp or dull, pressure or stabbing, does it radiate, does it change intensity)?
Did the pain begin following an injury or a movement?
Is there anything that you do that makes the pain better? Worse?
The answers to these questions can help your chiropractor identify some of the immediate treatment options that might be right for you. You should feel free to discuss the benefits and any potential drawbacks of those options.
Once you are through the background information, your chiropractor will conduct a physical exam. The exam will include general medical information such as blood pressure, pulse, and respiration. In addition, your chiropractor will also want to test your reflexes and complete orthopedic tests to explore your range of motion, muscle tone, strength, and neurologic integrity.
These tests will help to assess the seriousness of your injury in order to further refine which treatment options will be right for you.
Even once your chiropractor has reviewed your history and completed a physical exam, they still may not be able to rule out all the possible causes of your pain and so they may want to further explore the extent of the damage. In these cases, you may be asked to complete some additional testing which may include X-rays, Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI, or other laboratory tests. These tests can help to ensure that you receive the proper care and treatment that is individualized to you.
After your chiropractor has gathered enough information to present you with an accurate diagnosis and treatment options, they will work with you to find which option will work best as well as discuss the length of these treatments. If you have questions, you can request written information that you can review at your own pace. Choosing the right option for you will lead to faster and longer-lasting results.