If you’ve not been to a chiropractor previously and are experiencing neck pain, low back pain, headaches, sciatica or other pain, you might have questions about what to expect and maybe even some concerns. Please relax. This article will give you information and an introduction about your first visit.
Your Health History
Just as with any of your other health practitioners you will be asked to fill out some written information that gives your name, address and so on. You will also answer questions including:
- Where is your pain or complaint?
- When did it start?
- What caused it to begin?
Next you will meet with your chiropractor so that he can talk further with you about your health condition. He will want to know if your complaint is keeping you from being able to sleep normally, do your usual job and work duties, perform chores at home or in the yard and enjoy hobbies, sports or social activities. It will also be helpful to know if you’ve been to other doctors as many people who come to chiropractors have already seen other health care practitioners with little or no success. Chiropractors pride themselves in being able to help people who have not had help elsewhere.
Checking You Physically
Your chiropractor is thoroughly trained in anatomy and physiology for the conditions he treats just as are all your other doctors. Therefore, he will check things such as:
- Your posture
- Your movements and range of motion of your neck, lower back and possibly your extremities
- Gently feeling the painful area to determine if you have muscle spasm, tenderness and swelling
- If you have muscle weakness
- If you have loss of feeling or numbness
- Determine if you have a pinched nerve, irritated nerves or misaligned spinal bones called vertebrae
- Methods to tell if you have a disc problem
If you’ve had x-rays, MRI, CT scans, or other diagnostic studies, your chiropractor will want to know. He may take x-rays in his office if he feels it will help him to know more about your condition and to rule out the possibilities of fracture, cancer, infection, or other non-chiropractic factors. Chiropractors have extensive training in the taking and reading of x-rays.
After your chiropractor has reviewed your written history, talked with you, checked you physically, and studied your x-rays and other information, he will put it all together and correlate the various data. Then he will be able to determine if you have a condition he can help. If so, he will answer all your questions including:
- What is wrong
- What treatment will bring relief of pain and help correct the problem
- How long it will take for you to improve
- What it will cost and how insurance may pay
Of course, if he sees that you have a problem that is not a chiropractic condition and needs to be treated medically or by another type of healthcare practitioner, he will tell you that, too.
At that point, you can determine if you would like to begin treatment. Many times you can be treated on your initial visit. You will never be pressured or obligated to have treatment should you desire not to.
How Long Will You be at the Doctor’s Office on the First Visit
Usually you should give yourself an hour. If your condition is complicated or is more involved it may take longer. It’s important that the process isn’t rushed, but neither should it take all day.
Remember, your chiropractor has had undergraduate and Chiropractic School education, passed a national test as well as your state’s examination and takes ongoing continuing education just like your other doctors. By following through on your chiropractor’s advice you’ll usually find considerable relief of symptoms and restoration of health.