What to Expect At Your First Chiropractic Visit
As we so often receive calls from new patients setting up their first chiropractic appointment, we thought a breakdown of what you can expect during your initial consultation and treatment would be helpful.
History and Symptoms
In preparation for the chiropractic consultation, an individual will be asked to fill out forms that provide background information about their symptoms and condition. Once your forms are completed, the chiropractor will go through them with you, asking specific questions in order to gain a thorough understanding of your background and the specifics of your complaints.
The types of questions your chiropractor is likely to ask you include:
1. When and how did the pain start?
2. Where is it located?
3. Is it a result of an injury?
4. What provides relief?
5. What aggravates the discomfort?
6. Description of the discomfort
7. Have you experiences other sensations- numbness, tingling, or weakness?
8. General activity levels
9. Sleeping position
Patients are also asked to provide information on family medical history, any pre-existing medical conditions or prior injuries, and previous and current health providers and treatments.
The Chiropractic Exam
A complete chiropractic exam will then be performed. In this examination, you will undergo a postural evaluation, global and specific range of motion tests, segmental joint evaluation, orthopaedic tests specific to the area in question, and a complete neurological examination.
The goal of these tests is to establish:
● Range of motion of the affected part
● Muscle tone
● Muscle strength
● Neurological integrity
Diagnostic Studies to Supplement the Chiropractic Exam
Based upon the results of the history and chiropractic exam, diagnostic studies may be helpful in revealing pathologies and identifying structural abnormalities that can be used by the chiropractor to more accurately diagnose a condition. Diagnostic studies are not always necessary during the chiropractic exam, and the practitioner will discuss if they are clinically warranted prior to administering.
The most common diagnostic studies during chiropractic exams include:
SEMG (surface electromyography)- a muscle scan
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan
Other laboratory tests
Our clinic performs muscle scans, but x-Rays, MRI scans, and more extensive imaging studies will be referred to an outside centre.
Patient Diagnosis after the Chiropractic Exam
History, physical examination, and any diagnostic studies lead to a specific diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is established, the chiropractor will determine if the condition will respond to chiropractic care.
Our Chiropractors will explain a patient’s:
✔️ Diagnosed condition
✔️ Individualized chiropractic treatment plan (or other treatments)
✔️ Anticipated length of chiropractic care
For more on chiropractic treatment plans following diagnosis, see the next section of this article.
Chiropractic Treatment Plan
Most often, our Chiropractors begin treatment during the patient’s first visit.
● Chiropractic treatment recommendations may include some, or all, of the following:
● Adjustments to key joint dysfunctions
● Modalities to improve soft tissue healing and pain control, such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and traction
● Exercises to improve muscles balance, strength, and coordination
● Patient education to improve posture and motor control
● Other treatments such as ART, massage, heat/cold application, and nutraceutical recommendations.
Goals of the Chiropractic Treatment Plan
The chiropractor will establish specific goals for a patient’s individual plan for treatment:
Short-term goals include reducing pain and restoring normal joint function and muscle balance.
Long-term goals include restoring functional independence and tolerance to normal activities of daily living.
To reach these goals, a specific number of chiropractic visits, such as 1 to 3 chiropractic visits/week for 2 to 4 weeks, may be prescribed and followed by a re-examination by the Chiropractor.
We look forward to meeting you,
Dr. Crysta Serné
Vancouver Chiropractor and owner of Vitality Clinic