What Happens at Your First Chiropractic Consultation
Experienced Chiropractors endeavor to help alleviate their patient’s symptoms as quickly as possible—with as few treatments as necessary—and also give advice on how to eschew recurring Back Pain or Sciatica attacks.
Because this profession has an unusually large variety of practice philosophies and Chiropractic techniques, patients should feel comfortable asking all of the compulsory questions to comprehend the Chiropractic examination, diagnosis, and treatment regimen.
Here’s what patients can expect during the first Chiropractic consultation. This preliminary consultation involves the Chiropractor completing a detailed Chiropractic exam lasting 45 minutes or longer.
Your First Chiropractic Treatment Session
Some patients choose to conduct a preliminary interview with the Chiropractor either over the phone or in person that is focused on discussion (e.g., regarding the Chiropractor’s philosophy, expertise and general approach, and the patient’s preferences) and does not include a clinical exam.
The following explains the preliminary in office clinical exam, which typically focuses on 3 areas:
Patient History and Symptoms
Prior to the Chiropractic exam, the patient will be asked to complete forms that provide background information about his or her symptoms and condition. Questions typically include:
- When and how did the pain start?
- Where is it located?
- Describe the pain—is it sharp, dull, searing/burning, or throbbing? Does it come and go, or is it incessant?
- Did the pain start as a result of an injury?
- What activities/circumstances makes it better or worse?
Patients are typically asked to present information about family medical history, any pre-existing medical conditions or prior injuries, and previous and current health providers and treatments.
An in-depth Chiropractic exam consists of general tests, like blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and reflexes, in addition to specific orthopedic and neurological tests to measure:
- Range of motion.
- Muscle tone.
- Muscle strength.
- Neurological integrity.
Additional Chiropractic tests might be needed to evaluate the affected area, such as having the patient move in a specific manner, Posture Analysis, or Chiropractic Manipulation.
Chiropractic Diagnostic Studies
After carefully reviewing results of the patient’s medical history and Chiropractic exam, diagnostic studies might be advantageous in uncovering pathologies and detecting structural abnormalities to more accurately diagnose a condition.
Diagnostic studies are not necessarily required during the Chiropractic exam, and should only be conducted if the Chiropractor has a good reason to believe that the X-ray or other test will provide necessary information to direct the patient’s treatment regimen.
The most common diagnostic studies during Chiropractic exams are:
- X-ray exam.
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan.
- Other laboratory tests.
Most Chiropractic clinics can administer basic X-rays, but an MRI scan and more extensive imaging studies are usually referred to an outside center.
Patient Diagnosis Following the Chiropractic Exam
Results from the combination of the patient’s medical history, physical examination and any required diagnostic studies point to a specific diagnosis. Once the diagnosis has been determined, the Chiropractor will decide if the condition will respond to Chiropractic Care.
At the end of the patient’s preliminary visit, the Chiropractor will explain the patient’s:
- Diagnosed condition.
- Customized Chiropractic Treatment Plan (or other treatments).
- Projected duration of Chiropractic Care.
Some Chiropractors will also provide the diagnosis in the form of a written Chiropractic Treatment Plan, so the patient can bring it home and do their own research.
NYC Chiropractic Treatment Plan
Many Chiropractors start treatment during the patient’s first visit, although some may wait until the next appointment.
Chiropractic treatment goals and recommendations might consist of some or all of the following:
- Adjustments to key joint dysfunctions.
- Modalities to improve soft tissue healing and pain control, such as Ultrasound, Cold Laser Therapy, and Spinal Decompression Therapy.
- Strengthening and/or stretching exercises to develop muscle balance, strength, and coordination.
- Patient education to develop posture and motor control, in addition to possibly reduce anxiety.
- Other treatments like massage, heat/cold application, and education on ergonomics and nutrition.
Chiropractic Care Goals
The Chiropractor will set specific goals for a patient’s individual plan for treatment:
- Short-term goals generally include reducing pain and restoring normal joint function and muscle balance.
- Long-term goals include restoring functional independence and tolerance to daily living activities.
To attain these goals, a specific number of Chiropractic treatment sessions will be suggested.
For most types of Lower Back Pain, a treatment regimen of 1 to 3 Chiropractic treatment sessions per week for 2 to 4 weeks will be prescribed, followed by a re-assessment by the Chiropractor.
Chiropractic Treatment Evaluation
At the re-assessment, the Chiropractor will measure the response to treatment and decide whether to:
- Continue Chiropractic treatment, if appropriate.
- Release the patient from Chiropractic Care, provided treatment goals have been met.
- Refer the patient to another Doctor if treatment goals have not been achieved.
Chiropractic Adjustment (also called Spinal Manipulation) is an accepted, prevalent pain relief treatment for many types of Lower Back Pain, Sciatica, and Neck Pain. Knowing what to expect from the first Chiropractic visit can help a patient get the maximum benefit from Chiropractic treatment.
Since this profession has a vast range of practice philosophies and Chiropractic techniques, patients should feel comfortable asking all the questions required to understand the Chiropractic examination, diagnosis, and treatment regimen.