If you visit a chiropractor for the first time, you might be curious as to what will happen at your first appointment. If you know what information you will need and what will happen during your first visit with a chiropractor, you will feel better prepared. Most chiropractors will want a detailed description of the symptoms that brought you into their office as well as a complete medical and family history.
Some chiropractors and other healthcare providers now have beginning paperwork now available online for you to fill out before your first appointment. This cuts down on the time you need to be in the chiropractor’s office and the time you have to wait before seeing the chiropractor. If your chiropractor has a website, read everything you can on the website before your first visit.
Many chiropractors practice in Denton, Texas or any other geographic area. Chiropractors can vary widely in the way they practice and help patients with different symptoms. The more you know about the chiropractor and what information they look for before your first appointment, the better prepared you can be. Here are some things chiropractors do during your first visit.
Chiropractors do not just handle back or neck pain. They can help you maintain overall health as well. Most chiropractors will want a full medical history, including any illnesses you have been diagnosed with and hospitalizations you have had. If you have any kind of chronic illness, such as fibromyalgia or lupus, your chiropractor needs to know. Prior injuries will be covered as well.
In addition to a complete medical history from you, most chiropractors will want a family medical history. If any of your first degree blood relatives have been diagnosed with illness or health problems, this is beneficial information. If you have any parents, siblings, or children who have passed away, you will be asked what they died of, particularly if they died at a young age.
Most people will see a chiropractor because of back or neck pain. Whatever symptoms brought you to the chiropractor’s office, you will need to describe it in detail. Expect the following questions:
- Where is the pain located?
- Is the pain in one place or does it radiate into your shoulders, back, hips, or legs?
- What do you think caused it?
- What does the pain feel like? Is it dull, sharp, or throbbing?
- Does the pain come and go or is it constant?
- Does the pain interfere with your daily activities? If so, how?
- Did the pain start after a specific injury or fall?
- How might you rate your pain on a scale of 1-10?
- What helps your pain?
- What makes your pain worse?
Your first chiropractic exam starts much like an appointment with a medical doctor. Your chiropractor will start by taking your blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and reflexes.
After the general medical information, the chiropractor will examine the affected part of your body. The chiropractor will assess:
- Range of motion if the affected part
- Muscle strength
- Muscle tone
- Neurological function
Depending on where you have pain, the chiropractor may also ask you to move in a specific way, or bend over in order to examine your posture and structure of your back.
Depending on your symptoms and type of pain you may have, the chiropractor may order any of the following tests:
- MRI scans
- Blood and laboratory tests
X-rays can be performed in a chiropractor’s office, but you could be sent to a diagnostic testing center. MRI scans and blood tests are almost always done in other facilities and you may need to make an appointment.
Not all causes of pain will show up on an X-ray or MRI. These tests should only be run if the chiropractor believes you have a condition, such a herniated disk, that can be detected with these tests.
Chiropractic treatment plan
Once your chiropractor has determined the cause of your symptoms, he or she will propose a treatment plan. You may receive your first chiropractic adjustment at the end of your appointment. Or, this may be scheduled for a different time. Adjustments should not be painful. You should make sure you know these things:
- How often you will need to see the chiropractor. For instance, you might see the chiropractor once a week for six weeks. After six weeks, you might cut down to appointments every other week or once a month depending on if your symptoms are resolved.
- What type of treatment is recommended during each appointment. Your treatment might include regular adjustments, traction, electrical stimulation, and more.
- How long it will be before you begin to see relief from your pain or symptoms.
- If you have health insurance, verify if your chiropractor takes your insurance policy. How much will your insurance company pay and how much are your co-pays?
- The total cost of your treatment and how this should be paid. Some chiropractors will allow a discount if you pay for a specific number of future appointments at once. If your chiropractor orders diagnostic tests, these will add to the cost.
- What can you do at home to help relieve your symptoms? Your chiropractor might be able to show you some exercises to relieve pain and correct posture.
- What to do if you have an urgent matter or are in pain. Sometimes your first chiropractic adjustments and treatments can make you sore a day or two after. Or, you may have a bad day and are in severe pain. In these cases, you will need to be able to contact your chiropractor. Chiropractors can often work you in and schedule your next appointment earlier if you are having problems.