Chiropractic care has certainly gained traction in the country, with chiropractors treating about 35 million Americans every year.
After weeks of convincing from your friends and family, you decide to finally visit a chiropractor to find out what all the fuss is about. Going to a chiropractor for the first time can be a tad daunting, but there’s really nothing to worry about.
It’s normal to be a bit apprehensive about your first chiropractor visit. That’s why we recommend doing some research before booking an appointment with your local chiropractor. A little research will go a long way towards calming your nerves and making for a smooth chiropractic experience.
In today’s post, we’ll be highlighting a couple of things you should expect on your first visit to the chiropractor.
Chiropractor clinics work like regular medical facilities, so all first-time visits start with an intake. The intake is supposed to formalize your visit and register you as a “patient.” The most significant part of the intake process is assessing your medical history.
Your first choice chiropractor might ask you a couple of questions, including:
- What is the reason for your visit?
- Do you have any past injuries?
- Do you feel any pain, and where do you feel the pain?
- Is the pain related to your injury?
- What activities reduce or exacerbate the pain?
Aside from these questions, you’ll also have to give information about any medical conditions, medication, and drug/alcohol use. Some clinics let you download an online form that allows you to fill in all the necessary information at your convenience. That way, you can head straight to the physical exam during your first visit.
The Physical Exam
The physical exam is routine and is just like any other physical exam. The chiropractor will conduct this exam, mostly focusing on your spine area. However, the physical exam may include a few other general tests like blood and pressure tests.
They’re meant to draw specific prognoses like:
- Your health in general
- The severity of your injury, if applicable
- The range of motion of affected body parts
- The strength of your muscles
- Your neurological integrity
Most physical exams take no more than 20 minutes. However, some people may require additional tests like posture analysis and even an EEG test. This could prolong the physical examination.
The chiropractor will check the results of your physical examination and conduct extensive diagnostic studies. These studies will help determine any structural abnormalities or pathologies. Diagnostic studies most often involve a simple X-ray, but can also entail other imaging studies.
It’s worth noting that X-rays and other diagnostic studies aren’t routine with all chiropractic visits. The chiropractor will only conduct these imaging tests if they have good reason to believe the tests will provide crucial information to guide your treatment plan.
Remember, excessive exposure to x-rays and other forms of radiation is dangerous. Health first chiropractors will try to limit the use of X-rays to only when completely necessary.
The Actual Diagnosis
After the physical exam and diagnostic studies, the chiropractor will furnish you with a diagnosis. The diagnosis helps establish the cause of your pain or limited range of motion. It’ll also help determine whether chiropractic care can help address the issue.
Note that chiropractic treatments cannot cure things like tumors or infections. If that’s the case, you’ll have to find another medical professional for your treatment. That said, the diagnosis report will give details about:
- The patient’s condition
- The kind of chiropractic care needed for the condition
- How long the chiropractic care will last
Reputable clinics will give patients a written form of the diagnosis. That way, they can go home and do further research on their condition.
The Chiropractic Treatment Plan
After the diagnosis, the chiropractor will come up with a treatment plan to address your condition. In most cases, treatment will start during the first visit. For severe conditions, you might have to book an appointment at a later date.
At the core of every treatment plan are goals that the chiropractic exercise should accomplish. Some of these goals include:
- Restoring muscle balance and reducing pain
- Restoring functional dependence and normal muscle activity
Sometimes, you’ll need more than one chiropractic visit to address your issues effectively. Also, some conditions may warrant a visit to another medical professional other than a chiropractor. Your chiropractor will advise you on the same.
How Long Will the Treatment Take?
Another important factor to consider is how long the chiropractic treatment will take. The length of the treatment depends on your condition or the severity of your injury.
Minor injuries will take around one to three visits to treat completely. However, serious injuries and conditions may require treatments that run into weeks or months. Of course, chiropractors will space out these treatments so that they don’t interfere with your usual schedule.
The treatment plan will clearly indicate the length of your treatment and the types of treatments you should expect.
What Treatment Options Should You Expect
Chiropractic clinics can employ numerous treatment methods to address your condition. If it’s choosing between a massage or chiropractor first, always go with the chiropractor. Some of the common chiropractic treatment options include:
Spinal mobilization: This is a gentle treatment form that involves slow movement of the joints to improve their mobility. The main aim is to increase the joint’s range of motion.
Spinal manipulation: These are hand treatments that the chiropractor conducts on the affected area. The treatments involve high velocity, low amplitude movements of the joints or muscles.
Cervical traction: This is a special type of treatment that reduces pressure on the spinal discs by lifting the patient’s head. It’s great for neck and shoulder pain.
Schedule Your First Chiropractor Visit Today
If you think about it, your first chiropractor visit isn’t that scary after all. Just make sure you pick the right chiropractor. Consider clinics that have built a solid name for themselves in the business.
Arrange your chiropractor visit today and free your body from the bonds of pain and stiffness. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out the other posts for more informative content.