What to expect at your first chiropractic visit

What to expect at your first chiropractic visit


Trying something new like skiing or snowboarding can be exciting. But trying an unfamiliar form of health care can cause some anxiety, even more so if you are feeling pain. The purpose of this guide is to provide you with information that can help lead you through a typical first chiropractic visit.


Making your appointment:

When you call to make your appointment, a receptionist will obtain and verify your health insurance for you so that you are fully aware of your benefits.  It is best to arrive 15 minutes early before your scheduled appointment for paper work.  Language interpreter is available for Spanish-speaking patients.  Other languages would be over the phone through a Interpreter Services.  Patients are also welcome to bring their friends or family.  The receptionist will also need to make copies of your health insurance and identification card for billing purposes.  After your paper work, a chiropractor will then review your information before doing your history and physical exam.  New patient examination takes about one hour to two hours depending on your case.


History exam:

After filling out the required paper work, a chiropractic assistant (CA) will assist you to one of the available rooms and take your vital signs.  After a few minute wait, the chiropractor will be ready to see you.  During the history exam, the doctor will have follow-up questions to ask you (you have provided most of the information for the chiropractor when you filled out the paper work so that the history exam won’t take that long).  Be ready to talk about specific problems you are having, how and when an injury happened, the nature of your pain, any past medical treatments and health problems and any current conditions you are being treated for.


Physical exam:

Next the chiropractor will do a series of exam such as ranges of motion, orthopedic tests, neurological test and checking your muscle and joint movements to help make a diagnosis.  You may be asked to move your body in certain ways, testing for skin numbness and checking your reflexes, balance and strength.  Be aware that some of the test may cause more pain but it will help the chiropractor to make a diagnosis.  Only appropriate test will be performed and you can feel free to not do certain test that you know will make you have more pain (our goal is to make your have less pain after your visit).  Your chiropractor may need more information to make a proper diagnosis. In these cases your doctor may refer you to get further tests. These tests can include X-rays and MRI.


Report of findings:

After your chiropractic doctor examines you, he or she will make a diagnosis. Then he or she will put together a treatment plan best suited for your condition and diagnosis. You may be treated during this first visit.  Or if your doctor needs further information, like test results, you may be given an appointment to come back for treatment.  Ask your chiropractor if there are any tests, referrals, or treatments that might be helpful to use along with your current treatment plan.



Chiropractic doctors get a lot of the same training as medical doctors. But where a medical doctor is trained to treat using a variety of methods including medicines and surgery, a chiropractor learns to treat with adjustments and healing modalities such as massage, muscle stimulation and ultrasound.  The chiropractor may also prescribed supplements and home exercise program to aid in your recovery.  So what is a chiropractic adjustment or manipulation? It is a highly controlled procedure designed to restore proper movement and function of your spine and other joints. Some patients report hearing a popping sound during their adjustments. This sound is caused by tiny pockets of gas releasing from your joints and is completely normal.


Follow-up care:

After your treatment, the receptionist will help to schedule you for follow-up care depending on your treatment plan that you and your chiropractor have discussed.  Normally, your treatment plan comes from a course of treatment over a period of time for best outcome. If your condition doesn’t respond as well as the doctor expects, he or she may ask for further tests or refer you to another health care provider.