While many people have known some general information about a chiropractor, not everybody knows what to expect when you schedule your first appointment. While the process is not complicated, the lack of understanding can create undue stress on patients before they even arrive in the office.
Chiropractic appointments are something that many patients look forward to. We have compiled some information to let you know what to expect for your first visit.
While chiropractic offices pride themselves on being able to take care of your needs, it’s always a good idea to schedule an appointment in advance. We all know that emergencies can happen, but by scheduling in advance you are in a better position to get the prompt service that you’d like, and the meticulous care that you expect.
When you call to schedule your first appointment, it may also be a good idea to ask some initial questions or interview your potential chiropractor. While it is a good idea to ask any questions that you have, there are some that you should make sure to understand because the answers can vary widely.
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 your chiropractor matches your 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 and your own background. If you have an extensive medical experience, you should also consider bringing in supporting documentation so that your chiropractor can understand all of your detailed needs.
In addition to these questions, you should 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 those options and their benefits or potential drawbacks.
Once you are through the background, your chiropractor will conduct a physical exam. The exam will include general medical information like blood pressure, pulse, 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 refine further which treatment options will be right for you and to assess the seriousness of your injury.
If 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, or they may want to explore the extent of the damage further. In these cases, you may be asked to complete some additional testing. These tests 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 what option will work best. They should also discuss the length of these treatments with you. 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.