During your first visit, your chiropractic physician will complete a thorough examination that includes:
- Patient history
- Physical Examination
- Chiropractic Treatment
Prior to your initial consultation, you will be asked to fill out forms that providing background information about your symptoms and condition.
Questions may include:
- When did your pain/condition start?
- Where is the pain located?
- Does anything improve or worsen the pain?
- Do you have any current health condition for which you are receiving care from another health care provider?
You may also be asked to provide family medical history, any pre-existing medical conditions or prior injuries, and previous and current health providers and treatments. It may be helpful to, bring with you any copies of previous tests (i.e. MRI or X-ray reports), lab results, and a list of any medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications, nutritional supplements, vitamins, herbs, teas, and homeopathic and/or naturopathic substances.
A physical examination will be performed to evaluate your condition and develop a diagnosis. In addition to general physical examination procedures such as blood pressure, pulse, and temperature check, the examination will include specific orthopedic and neurological tests to assess:
- Range of motion of the affected area
- Muscle tone
- Muscle strength
- Neurological integrity
The combination of your history and the examination, will allow your chiropractic physician to reach a specific diagnosis. The doctor will take time and explain:
- The diagnosed condition
- The recommended treatment plan
- The anticipated length of care
If your chiropractic physician determines that your condition would be more appropriately treated by another health care professional, he or she will make the proper referral. Your treatment plan may also involve collaborative care with other health care providers, such as your primary care physician, a physical therapist, or a neurologist. In many cases, such as those involving lower back pains, chiropractic care may be the primary treatment method. When other medical conditions exist, chiropractic care may complement or support other treatment by relieving the musculoskeletal problems associated with the condition.
During your first appointment, you will likely experience your first treatment. The chiropractic physician will use his or her hands or an instrument to manipulate the joints of the body, particularly the spine, to reduce pain and restore or enhance joint function. Your doctor will adapt the treatment plan to meet your specific needs. Other treatments such as including therapeutic ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation, ice and heat, traction, soft-tissue massage, and rehabilitative exercises, may also be used. The extent and duration of the patient's condition coupled with the nature of the chiropractic treatment may require numerous visits. Your doctor of chiropractic should tell you how long you can expect the treatment to last. You may also receive instructions on activities or exercises to conduct at home. This may include ice or heat application, avoidance of certain activities or positions, as well as home stretches.