What To Expect At Your First Chiropractic Care Appointment

by Dr. Sherry McAllister, Executive Vice President, Foundation for Chiropractic Progress

Every year, about 27 million Americans visit a doctor of chiropractic, and that number increases all the time. If you’ve just made your first appointment, you may be feeling nervous or apprehensive. This is perfectly normal, but there’s nothing to worry about! Chiropractic care is an integrative, holistic branch of medicine with a proven track record of more than 100 years. No two doctors of chiropractic conduct treatment the exact same way, but most initial consultations follow a similar process.

On the day of your appointment, try to arrive at your doctor of chiropractic’s office 10 to 15 minutes early so you have time to fill out any necessary paperwork. Usually, this includes a new patient intake form and a sheet of paper that shows a diagram (front and back) of the human anatomy. On this sheet of paper, you will mark areas of your body that cause you pain or discomfort. Your doctor of chiropractic might even ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 1-10.

Next, you’re taken to an exam room. Before conducting a physical exam, your doctor of chiropractic will review your health history, asks you questions about the symptoms you’re experiencing and quiz you about your lifestyle. During this part of the exam, let your doctor of chiropractic know about any prescription medications, vitamins or nutritional supplements you’re taking. You’ll also discuss your sleep habits, exercise routine, and diet.

After gathering this information, your doctor of chiropractic will conduct several neurological and physical tests. This includes gathering your vital signs (heart and respiratory rate), testing your reflexes and asking you to participate in some range-of-motion exercises. If necessary, they might also take X-rays or order another type of diagnostic imaging.

Lastly, your doctor of chiropractic will develop a custom care plan based on your needs. If you suffer from chronic pain or a sports injury, your doctor of chiropractic might recommend a combination of treatments such as yoga therapy, spinal adjustments, and lifestyle changes such as changing your diet. If you’re relatively healthy and want to stay that way, they might recommend regular preventive checkups once a month.

Your initial consultation will take up to an hour. By the time you leave the office, you’ll have a foundation to work off. One designed to improve all aspects of your life. Feel free to ask questions or take notes. Your doctor of chiropractic is your partner on the road to a healthier lifestyle.

Congrats on taking the first step. You’re going to love the results!

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