Your First Consultation

Chiropractors are sometimes the first health care professional to be contacted by a patient and therefore it is the chiropractors duty to provide a full and through assessment. A chiropractor will take a full case history, perform a brief review of other body systems (abdominal, heart etc.), perform an adequate physical examination, make an adequate diagnosis, and finally refer the patient if necessary. Your first consultation with a chiropractor may take between 45 minutes to an hour.

Case History

During the case history your chiropractor will ask you a number of important questions that may help with your diagnosis. Question such as how long has the pain been present, what type of pain are you feeling, is there anything that may relieve your pain or make the pain worse? The case history would also include questions about past accidents or injuries, surgeries, medication that you may be on at the time of treatment, and any past or current treatment that you may be already receiving for the pain.

Physical Examination

The chiropractor will begin looking at your joints, muscles and nerves. The chiropractor will perform a number of specialized tests call orthopedic tests. These tests will help the chiropractor in making an accurate diagnosis. The chiropractor will also test individual muscles and nerves making sure that they are functioning correcting. After the assessment the chiropractor may even ask for a series of x-rays or blood tests. Once the assessment is complete the chiropractor will then explain in detail what they have found and what your treatment plan will involve.

Chiropractic Treatment

The chiropractor will start by trying to relax the muscles in the area of pain. Relaxation of muscles may be achieved my massage, dry-needling or stretching. Thereafter, a chiropractic manipulation/adjustment may be applied to specific joints; your chiropractor will treat your entire spine as a whole rather than only working on the problem area.

Home Therapy

After your treatment is over the chiropractor will then spend about 5-10 minutes showing specific exercises that you will then do at home. The exercises will be provided to you as a print out copy with pictures which you will then take home with you. Your chiropractor may also ask you to apply heat or ice as part of an after treatment care depending on your problem.

Follow-up Visits

Your first consultation is over; the chiropractor will now recommend a date for your follow-up treatment. Depending on the severity of your condition and how you react to your first treatment you may need a number of follow-up visits. These visits will last about 30 minutes. Your chiropractor will keep reviewing your progress and will take the necessary steps to refer you to appropriate health professional if your condition does not improve. 

The video from the West Hartford Group explains quite nicely a typical experience on your first consultation with a chiropractor.