What to Expect at your First Visit to a Chiropractor – Part 1

One of the things we hear often from people who have never visited a chiropractic office is “I’m scared.”

People don’t like to step outside of their comfort zone. And if you have never been to a chiropracter, like so many of our Ashburn and Loudoun County patients, it can feel like this is WAY outside of your comfort zone! And yet, one of the best ways to combat your fears is to fully educate you about what to expect.

“Will it hurt?”…“Is this going to help me at all?”

I don’t doubt these are just a few of the many questions that are going through your mind as you consider whether chiropractic care might be right for you. So let me walk you through a few things that you can expect on your first visit to a chiropractor. There will be some slight variations as each doctor has their own style. But for the most part, you can be well-informed before you ever step foot into the office as to what will take place on your first visit.

Step 1: Complete a Health History Form

Before you sit down with the chiropractor for your initial consultation, you will fill out a comprehensive patient health history form. Doctors of Chiropractic want to get to know you, your pain issues, and what might be contributing to them. The more information and details you can provide, the more it will help your doctor develop the most effective treatment plan for your health. This initial consultation will help you get to know your chiropractor, too.

You will need to have access to answers to questions such as:

  • When was the first time you began to experience the pain?
  • Did you do/experience anything that could have caused the pain to begin (i.e., accident, injury)?
  • Do you notice anything that causes the pain to become better or worse?

Again, I can’t stress enough that if you can provide extremely detailed answers to these questions, it aids your chiropractic doctor greatly in knowing the best course of action to take to treat your pain. You may also be asked to provide any additional previous medical records that you can access. Whatever information you can bring to this consultation will be helpful.

Step 2: The Physical Examination

Prior to any actual chiropractic treatment, you will have a thorough physical examination by your chiropractor. Your doctor will be testing basic things such as respiration, pulse, reflexes and other neurological indicators. The doctor will also be looking closely at the strength of your muscle and range of motion – particularly in the area(s) that are affected by pain. You might be asked to perform simple exercises to give the doctor a better picture of how your body is reacting to the areas that are experiencing the pain.

Just as I do, most doctors will perform an extensive set of x-rays. While this can add time (and possibly a bit of expense as well) to the process, it is absolutely necessary to give the doctor a comprehensive picture of exactly what is taking place in your body. Just as you would never take your car to a mechanic and expect them to diagnose the problem without looking under the hood, we won’t know the severity of what’s going on in your body without a “look under the hood.”  In the end, this step can save you time, money and most important, pain!

There are a few additional steps that I think would be helpful for you to be aware of before you step foot in the door of your local chiropractor, and I will address those in the next post. Stay tuned – you’ll find valuable information, and be totally at ease before that first visit to a chiropracter, just like our Ashburn and Loudoun County patients!

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