If you’re suffering from any neck pain, back pain, or joint mobility issues and discomfort, you might need to consult a chiropractor. A good chiropractor will take time to get a full picture of your health and make recommendations and a treatment plan based on their findings. However, a chiropractic consultation can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time. This is why it’s important to know what to expect.
To help you, here are six things to expect during your first chiropractic visit:
A Medical History Review
You will have to fill out a questionnaire that asks you questions about your everyday health. This is called medical history—a vital part of the consultation process. Your chiropractor will use this information to create a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.
Your chiropractor will also want to know if you have any preexisting conditions or injuries that could affect their treatment plan for you. This is because these conditions play a vital role in your treatment progress. For instance, a chiropractor won’t be performing the same adjustments on an elderly patient with osteoporosis as they do on a middle-aged athlete.
If you have sports injuries, you will also require a specialized approach. With this, a sports injury treatment plan may be given to you to fit your needs that will help yield better and faster results. Thus, a medical history review ensures you receive the proper treatment plan.
A Thorough Chiropractic Physical Exam
A physical exam, also known as a chiropractic examination, is the process of evaluating your spine and soft tissues. The practitioner will assess the range of motion in your neck and back; check for any tenderness at certain points along your spine; evaluate how well you can stand up straight or walk without pain; and test nerve function in your arms, legs (including reflexes), hands and feet.
Chiropractic consultations have an initial assessment that includes a full spinal examination to look for misalignments of the vertebrae (spinal bones) or other joints within the body that may be contributing to symptoms like headaches or back pain.
This part of the consultation involves checking posture by looking at how you stand or sit, moving joints through their range of motion, and feeling all over with gloved hands to locate areas where there might be tightness due to muscle spasms or inflammation from an injury. It also involves palpating muscles for tender spots around joints like knees & ankles where movement could cause discomfort and gently pushing on bones within arm sockets (elbows/shoulder sockets).
When you go to your chiropractic consultation, one of the first things your chiropractor will do is take x-rays. An x-ray shows the bones of your spine and how they fit together with other parts of your body.
If you have lower back pain, an x-ray can help determine whether there are any problems with the alignment of your vertebrae or discs in this area. If a vertebra is rotated out of place or if there’s too much pressure on nerves near that vertebra, it may cause symptoms like pain or numbness in nearby areas.
Your First Treatment
The first time you visit a chiropractor, they will likely begin with an intense adjustment. The chiropractor uses their hands to adjust your spine differently while asking you to hold certain positions for several minutes. They may also ask you to breathe deeply, relax, and turn your head and neck in different directions. After each adjustment, it’s normal for some people to feel soreness or stiffness in the adjusted area, but this feeling should subside after an hour or so.
Setting Up Your Health Goals
Health goals are the endpoints you’re trying to achieve, whether that be a sense of well-being or a specific condition that is bothering you. They can be long-term (e.g., ‘I would like to be able to play tennis with my grandchildren in 20 years’) or short-term (e.g., ‘I want to feel less pain today’).
When setting health goals, your chiropractor can help you keep your objectives specific and measurable so that they’re easily attainable and quantifiable by both yourself and your chiropractor. This will help ensure that your expectations are realistic rather than just wishful thinking. It also ensures that if success is achieved, there will be no confusion over whether it was due solely to treatment or if other factors played a role.
A Treatment Plan
At the end of your consultation, you’ll receive a treatment plan detailing how many times you need to come in and how long it will take to feel better. During each session, your chiropractor will evaluate whether or not they can adjust some of the vertebrae in your spine. If they detect that one or more bones are misaligned, they’ll use gentle pressure and movement to realign them.
While getting adjustments may be uncomfortable at first, especially if it’s your first time, most patients find that they get used to it after their first few appointments. In fact, many people report feeling better shortly after their appointment ends because their body has already begun healing itself!
After receiving an adjustment from your chiropractor during your first visit, it’s recommended to take this time off before returning for another adjustment. This way, your body has adequate time for repair and recovery between visits.
Chiropractic consultation is a great way to get started on the road to good health with the various benefits it offers. It’s important to know what to expect from your first appointment. This way, you can feel confident in your care plan and that you’ll be taken care of.