What to Expect At Your First Chiropractic Visit?
Approximately 4.7 million Canadians visit a chiropractor each year. With exercise injuries, an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, and routine work that requires repetitive motions, we see patients with varying concerns. Chiropractic care doesn’t just help relieve muscle and joint pain, it can also help restore body motion and ensure the body is healthy and in alignment.
Chiropractors are well-trained to provide a thorough diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment care plan. Even if you don’t have any concerns, seeing a chiropractor regularly can ensure your body stays healthy and mobile, so you can live life to the fullest.
If you’ve never seen a chiropractor before, chiropractors apply a controlled force to your spine and other joints of the body (hips, knees, shoulders, etc) to improve joint motion. It releases tension held in your muscles and relieves the stress and pressure on your spine and joints. This helps relax the body and increase blood flow to the region.
Your first chiropractic visit should be a comfortable situation in which you are provided with information on your condition. At True Life Wellness and Physiotherapy, our chiropractor, Dr. Altaf Virani will take a detailed history concerning your chief complaint/injury and perform a physical exam to ensure a diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment care plan. Here’s what you can expect during your first visit.
Understanding Your Medical History
Your first chiropractic visit is usually 1 hour in duration. During the first visit, your chiropractor will always start with a detailed record of your medical history. Some things the chiropractor will ask includes the following:
- All your medical conditions (including ones that run in the family)
- Past injuries
- Your lifestyle, habits, and routine
- Any drug or alcohol use
- Details about your present injury such as type of pain, intensity of pain between 0-10, frequency of pain, etc.
- What are your treatment goals?
Chiropractors use this information to better understand you as a patient and more importantly as a person. You will be required to fill out a patient intake form that will document this information. Once your chiropractor has a good idea of what your chief complaint is, it allows them to focus on how they can better help you. It also helps your chiropractor gain an understanding of what types of treatment interventions will help you.
If you have any specific concerns, now is also the time to bring them up. The more information you provide, the more accurate the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment plan will be.
Conducting a Physical Examination
The next part of your first chiropractic visit typically includes a physical examination consisting of a palpation examination, neurological testing, active range of motion examination, and orthopedic testing to determine the diagnosis. An x-ray may be recommended to further understand the impact on a particular joint or joints.
During the physical examination, the chiropractor will often ask questions like “Does it hurt if I press down right here?” or “Does the left side hurt more than the right side?” These questions further help your chiropractor pinpoint the source of your problem as well as its severity.
You might be asked to do a series of simple moves, such as touching your toes, looking upwards, or walking back and forth. These exercises test your range of motion and also help the chiropractor pinpoint the problem area. If at any time something hurts or feels uncomfortable, let your chiropractor know.
Once the physical examination is complete, your chiropractor will discuss with you your Report of Findings which includes your diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment plan that best suits your condition. Your treatment plan might include a series of chiropractic treatments, nutritional counseling, a home exercise program, massage therapy, etc. to ensure the best outcome possible for your condition.
Before any treatment can be provided your chiropractor will ask you to read a document called the Informed Consent to Chiropractic Care. This is a document that outlines the benefits and risks involved with chiropractic care. This is a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have about your proposed treatment plan. Once in agreement, you and your chiropractor will sign the document together.
A chiropractic adjustment should not be painful. You should only feel the tension alleviating from the muscles and joints in the specific region of treatment. You might hear a popping sound, which is simply gas being released from the joints.
In addition to the chiropractic adjustment, other treatment interventions such as massage therapy or acupuncture may also be included to help you recover.
Building a Therapeutic Relationship with Your Chiropractor
Building trust with your chiropractor is important. Throughout your initial visit, and anytime during your subsequent visits, ask as many questions as you want. If you feel pain at any time during your treatment session, communicate this to your chiropractor so the treatment can be stopped and, or alternative options can be discussed.
If you’re ready for your first chiropractic visit, give us a call so we can help you achieve the greatest health possible. Contact us today at (416) 744-7417 or [email protected].